Is it okay to write a mystery in reverse chronological order?
I am taking a creative writing course and I chose mystery as my genre for my final project. I am wondering if it would be okay to write in reverse chronology for this or would it go against the classic form? I want to start with the discovery of the body and work backwards from there with different POVs in order to come together and find out what happened to the victim.
- Anonymous11 months ago
Well you said it’s for a creative writing course. Sounds pretty creative to me.
- Chaz100Lv 412 months ago
You are the author and thus may write in any style you wish. You first, in this instance, though, figure out how you will build suspense already knowing what happened after every event in your book
- AthenaLv 712 months ago
First, there is a reason the "form" is called "classic."
Second, so you start with who did it and we have to work our way back to who the victim actually was? Why would I waste my day on that?
THAT is the question you need to answer. WHY am I devoting my time to YOUR story the ending of which I already know?
Answer THAT and it could work.
- Elaine MLv 712 months ago
I've read at least two short stories that used that technique.
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- MarliLv 712 months ago
The autopsy and the detectives' crime scene investigation skills should determine what happened to the victim and how, when and where.
The questions to answer before "the end" are "Who killed her?" and "Why was she murdered?"
So a good investigator would investigate her past to find out.
Good going, and good writing to you.
- 12 months ago
The classic form requires you to play fair with the reader. The reader gets all the clues that the detective does, so that when they get to the page before the detective reveals the killer, they can reach the same conclusion as the detective. (Some comic books of the 1930s and 1940s actually had a challenge to the reader at the bottom of a page, with words to the effect that "You've seen all the evidence - can you name the killer before you turn the page?")
I don't believe there's anything in the "rules" of the classic form that says the reader has to get the clues in the same *order* as the detective. So if you think it's more interesting to work in reverse order, go ahead.
Many murder mysteries kind of work in reverse order anyway. You start with the discovery of the body, then you find out how he was killed, or how he arrived in the place where he was killed, then work out where he was or what he was doing before that, and so on.
- AndrewLv 712 months ago
The only rules for writing a good mystery are to make it exciting and to keep the reader guessing right up until the end. Aside from that, you can do whatever you want. As long as everything makes sense in the end and it all fits together, you ought to be fine to tell the story any way you like.