30 Scene Ideas for Mystery Subplots

Mystery Writing Prompts

A mystery is an easy way to add interest to an otherwise simple story. These mystery writing prompts will make you curious to know more. And your readers too!

What Creates Mystery?

A few elements are vital to keeping a mystery story moving forward:

  1. Questions – A single question can be enough to sow doubt in a reader’s mind, and create a mystery where previously there was none.
  2. Answers – The dance between questions and answers is what keeps readers engaged in a mystery. Every answer creates a new question until the final dénouement resolves the last loose ends… Or does it? Here’s a worksheet to help you solve a mystery (your own or another writer’s).
  3. Suspense – Between the questions and the answers there’s… suspense.

The mystery genre often solidifies these elements around physical objects – a dead body, a murder weapon, a clue, a suspect, etc. – whereas a psychological thriller will focus on the internal, non-material aspects – a doubt about another character, the suspense created by a ringing telephone, the silence on the other end, etc.

Mystery Plots & Subplots

You can use these scene ideas in your mystery story, suspense story, adventure story, or thriller, and they can also come in handy for mystery subplots in any genre.

You could generate a whole plot from these mystery writing prompts alone, but if you need mystery story ideas, you might like to adapt one from this list of story ideas, or from this list of romance story ideas. Or you can consult a mystery plot generator!

Mystery Writing Prompts

Sometimes we can overcomplicate a story problem, or overestimate the amount of effort required to fix a plot. It doesn’t need to be that hard!

Randomly choose a few of these mystery writing prompts and draft a quick scene summary for each…

01A note is discovered.Who was the intended recipient?
02A character who was thought lost or who departed reappears.Why did they stay away until now?
03A new (contradictory) clue is discovered.Is it a red herring?
04An old clue is reevaluated.How has the evaluator’s perception changed?
05Suspicion shifts to another person.Why were they not previously suspected?
06The investigator examines the scene of the mystery.What seems out of place?
07A previously innocent or unrelated person is connected to the mystery.Why wasn’t their connection noticed earlier?
08The investigator explains their own interest in the mystery.Are they qualified to try and solve this?
09A character puts two and two together.What leads them to the connection?
10A character finds they’ve misread someone’s motivation.How were they misled?
11A character trails another character.Are they detected?
12A character is found dead.Who could have foreseen this?
13A character is abducted, or discovered to have been abducted.How does this help to deepen the mystery?
14A character defends another character.Do they know who’s guilty?
15A character plants a false clue.Who discovers the false clue?
16A character tries to obstruct the investigator.Who are they trying to protect?
17Someone sets a trap to catch the perpetrator.Do they have the right person?
18Someone solves the mystery.What do they do with this new information?
19A character is discovered to have a secret identity.Who are they really?
20A secret passage is discovered.Where does it lead?
21Someone is acting strangely.What would they normally do?
22A character is caught red-handed.How do they react?
23A character’s alibi falls through.Who let slip the truth?
24The investigator talks the mystery over with someone.Are they trustworthy?
25Someone confesses.Why were they lying?
26A character tries to destroy a clue.Can they be stopped in time?
27A character tries to escape.Do they succeed?
28The investigator interviews a suspect.What’s their first question?
29Two or more people meet secretly.Are they observed?
30The investigator explains the solution to the mystery.Did they leave something out?
RELATED:  A Novel Idea (Journal Worksheet Wednesday)

 

P.S. If you’re enrolled in The One Page Novel course, don’t forget to refer to the mystery cheatsheet in the Genre Cheatsheet pack!


Don’t miss these writing prompts…

Worldbuilding ideasWriting ideas - 30 scenes for plot developmentCharacter Development100 Opening Scene Ideas

Roses, book & quill
Write now...
Roses, book & quill
Pick up an Ebook...
Roses, book & quill
My New Novel!

ALEMMIA:
a law of attraction novel

Roses, book & quill
Lady Writer

I write about literature, language, love, and living off your pen. Also, fortifying fiction, personal amelioration, and tea.

Roses, book & quill
Learn from a master
Roses, book & quill
Thank you for Sharing!
Share on pinterest
Share on reddit
Share on email
Share on whatsapp
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on facebook
Share on tumblr
The Alemmian Advertiser
Please be advised that the following ONLINE WRITING COURSES are currently on offer at
01. Plot
The One Page Novel

Learn how to structure and outline your story,  and finally finish your manuscript.

02. Character
How to Be the Heroine of Your Own Story

Learn how to create strong, memorable, lifelike characters.

03. World
How to Lose Yourself in a World of Your Own Invention

Learn how to build a story world that transports both you, and your reader.

Study creative writing at The Lady Writers League, enjoy exclusive membership benefits, and GROW into the writer you have always longed to be.
Courses are open to ladies & gentlemen of all levels of writing ability. Please provide your own paper.
Roses, book & quill
Thank You For Reading
01

New articles, worksheets, stories & other free writing resources are published every week. 

Please subscribe so you don’t miss any!

02

You can also keep in touch with me on the following social media platforms…

03
Don't forget to pick up your
free novel outline + training!
7-page plot outline you can use to practice writing right now.

NEIL GAIMAN'S WRITING MASTERCLASS. LEARN MORE. MARGARET ATWOOD MASTERCLASS.

This page contains affiliate links which help support the site.

Angie Makes Feminine WordPress Themes
Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 6,227 other subscribers.

Don't Miss this Free Workshop!