In the Novel Factory, we use a Universal Storyline template based on the Hero's Journey, and we've created a few more targeted structure templates for common genres, such as Romance and Mystery.
However, we've been asked a few times if we can develop these further and tailor them more closely to those genres.
So, we've researched and read and scoured the web and are proud to present the Mystery Plot Template!
Obviously, a template is only ever intended to be a starting point and a guide, and should not be taken as hard and fast laws. Take it, shake it up and deviate from it.
It's a tool, not a rule.
And here is the same as text, for your convenience.
Present the crime
Introduce the sleuth
Offer plausible suspects
Introduce crime complications
Introduce private life subplot
Initial investigations and interrogations reveal clues
Disappearance of one suspect
Raise the stakes
Development of sub plot
Reveal hidden motives of stakeholders
Unsatisfying solution reached
Return to overlooked clue from act one
Resolution of subplot
Confrontation with perpetrator