Lois Lowry recently wrote an opinion piece on how the society in The Giver came to be the way it was. She also answers the question as to whether she will ever write a prequel to The Giver. You can read her piece here.
Keep it simple! The mystery you create does not need to be as elaborate as The Westing Game. Think of something simple. Set your story in a location which is familiar to you, such as school or the neighborhood. Work on developing your detective as a character and demonstrating his or her detective skills.
Here are the elements you need to consider as you are creating your mystery:
Solution: You need to work backwards when creating your mystery. As the author, you need to know what happened and then fill in the story around that solution. Keep this simple. If your solution is too complicated it will make the task of writing the mystery very difficult.
Suspects: Agatha Christie sometimes had 10 or more suspects in her classic mystery novels. Keep your number of characters much smaller! Also, it's okay if the criminal is very obvious. Often a mystery about how a crime was committed is just as interesting as a whodunit.
Motive: Every criminal needs a motive. Why did they commit the crime? Discovering the motive can often help the detective figure out who committed the crime and how they did it.
Deduction: Sherlock Holmes is the master of deduction. He can see what others can't and then base logical deductions or inferences from the observations he makes. In the stories, Holmes often makes deductions that have nothing to do with the actual mystery; he just likes to show off! Having your detective make deductions is a way to demonstrate his or her skill as a detective to your audience.
Client: The client is the character who brings the mystery to the detective. They often explain the mystery to the detective and then offer a reward. Having a client seek the services of a detective is a great way to set your mystery in motion.
Investigation: This is the middle of a mystery story. The detective looks for clues and gathers evidence. This often entails interviewing the suspects.
Develop these ideas this week while you're planning your mystery. The more effort you put into planning, the easier it will be to write the actual mystery. Good luck!
No matter what type of Science Fiction story you decide to tell, I want you to concentrate on the world-building possibilities writing SF can offer. You are literally creating a brand new world in your story. Be creative. Things will and should be different. Use neologisms--these are words for things which haven't been invented yet in our world. Describe the environment in the world you create. Describe the society in which the people live. Describe your characters so the reader really gets to know them.
Don't worry about creating the perfect plot in your story. Focus on creating a rich and textured world for your characters to inhabit. That said, here are some basic sub-genres in Science Fiction. If you're not sure what type of SF story to write, consider these sub-genres within the genre of Science Fiction.
Techno-Thriller: These stories are set in the near-future; technology is similar to what we have today but just a little more advanced. The protagonists of these stories often learn that a sinister corporation is using technology in nefarious ways. It is then up to the protagonist to thwart the plans of the corporation.
Dystopian: The protagonist in a dystopian SF story is usually a commoner whose people are being oppressed by an authoritarian government. The protagonist must lead a rebellion of some sort against the authoritarian government. The reason for society existing in a dystopia is often left unexplained.
Post-Apocalyptic: These are usually survival stories. Some great catastrophe has turned Earth into a wasteland. The protagonist must scavenge to eke out a living. There is often competition for resources and it is often discovered that the villain has been hoarding them. The protagonist must thus acquire resources and deliver them to his or her tribe.
Space Travel: Many SF stories are set aboard ships. These ships are often scouting for hospitable planets or friendly signs of life. There is often a lot of suspense about whether the ship will reach its destination. There is often conflict with the beings aboard other ships.
Other Worlds: Many SF stories take place on distant planets and feature other races and societies. These planets are often in conflict with each other, often over resources. These stories often feature humanoids, as well as androids.
Remember that the Science Fiction story that you create must represent your best writing. You may not make your story silly or nonsensical. It must feel like a serious work of science fiction.
Timberland Regional Library. You can check out e-books and digital audiobooks and even stream movies. If you don't have a library card, you can get one here.
Support a local independent bookstore! We are lucky to have two great bookstores in Olympia, Browsers Bookshop and Orca Books. You can order books directly from their websites and they will mail them to you. It is important that we support our independent bookstores during the pandemic. If they are forced to close, they might never be able to re-open. Please support our local bookstores if you can!
Download books legally for free: Project Gutenberg has over 60,000 books available to download. These are all books which are old enough to be in the public domain, which means their copyrights have expired. Here are just some of the offerings available:
Today Elizabeth Warren's Massachusetts state director tweeted a photo of the Letter Wall at the national campaign headquarters in Cambridge, Massachusetts. You can see several NOVA letters in the photo. They are on the left side of the photo and feature the NOVA logo. You can see Zellaby's drawing of Elizabeth on the far left. You can also see Genevieve's rainbow-colored envelope. Good thing Mr. Gacek made everyone hand-write their letters and hand-draw the NOVA logos!