• Michelle Raab

Building a Mystery


In my dystopian series, I have a mystery subplot. The subplot is obvious. Tessa, the main character, is presented with a puzzle that she has to solve. In doing so, the reader also has to solve the puzzle, which I think is kind of fun as a reader.

One of the things I love doing as a reader is piecing together the puzzle pieces of a fictional world. I remember how much I loved taking apart and hypothesizing the backstory of the Troubles for the SciFi channel’s series Haven. I’d study the title sequence and piece together clues that dropped in each episode. Eventually I had my pet theory about what happened. To my delight, I was pretty spot on.

The process of putting together those tantalizing details to stitch together a tapestry of a world was one of the things that I loved about watching the series.

So while I have a mystery subplot that readers can try to solve, I am also leaving breadcrumbs for anyone who wants to follow into the deeper backstory of the world I created. I’m hoping that the stories will work on a few levels, as a quick, entertaining read for those who like the misery of a dystopia, as a story with some fun world building to piece together, and as a commentary. I want these levels to all work separately, but also in concert. I hope that if a reader just reads it once, they enjoyed it. If they read it twice, they find something new. But if they decide to take it apart, they find a deeper meaning, like I do with my favorite reads and watches (film and tv).

I don’t know if I’ll pull any of it off. But this is what I’m aiming for.

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