The traditional mystery takes time to write. And it’s not that easy to show the right clues and not reveal whodunit.
The reader wants to solve the mystery, but it shouldn’t be easy. Nobody likes to solve something that’s easy.
It’s like when I ask you this:
What is 2 + 2?
It’s easy for you to answer “4”.
There’s no challenge in that.
But if I tell you that I bought a chocolate bar and a piece of candy for $1.10 in total, and the chocolate bar cost $1 more than the candy, then you’ll have to think to figure out how much I paid for each of them.
Now it’s fun, because there’s a challenge involved.
The interesting thing is that you can obtain that effect by writing ultra short “Mini-Mysteries” that the reader can solve by picking the route herself.
Shawn Hansen has created a 60-page guide that includes everything you need to know to get your Mini-Mystery written this weekend.
Check it out, it’s awesome! http://malka.im/minimystery