Posted by: Matt Q. McGovern | October 4, 2011

Where does your mystery come from?

Since this is Mystery Month for our blog, I thought I’d mention a favorite writing exercise of mine.  Often, my best inspiration for writing comes from watching movies or TV shows.  My favorite TV show is Criminal Minds, and I’ve long been a fan of forensic investigation, psychological profiling, and racing against the clock to solve the mystery before there’s another victim.

Since I like to write young adult, dark fantasy with a heavy dose of paranormal, I thought it would be interesting to see how I could combine Criminal Minds with a paranormal element and bring the main story to younger characters.

So, after watching one of the episodes repeatedly (an enjoyable activity for me), I began taking copious notes until I had a rough outline of the show.  Next step was to make the villain scary in some paranormal way.  After that, I modified the scenes with younger characters helping out the characters from Criminal Minds.  Over time, a different storyline took over.

I’ve done this exercise multiple time with other TV shows, as well as parts from some movies.  The effect that it has had on my writing was beneficial in several ways.  One was that I could see an outline and the resulting book size.  Another was adding an element of suspense that I previously didn’t have in my writing.  Lastly, it was pure fun for me.

My main writing subjects have always been about paranormal, horror, and things that go bump in the night.  Considering that my biggest influences contain a mystery element, I look forward to this month as our blog celebrates Mystery Month.


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