[found on blog.karenwoodward.org; by Karen Woodward]
“1. Know who your murderer is and why they did it.
– What was their goal?
– What are the stakes?
– What motivates the killer?
By the end of the story make sure you’ve answered these questions in your manuscript.
2. Leave clues
The clues “do not have to be obvious or even fully explained. You’ll want to leave some “mystery in your mystery.”
3. After you finish the first draft add in clues where needed
Price’s tip: Red herrings are much easier to add in after the book is written as long as you don’t write yourself into a corner with your characters, such as explaining everything they do and why.
4. Don’t fully explain everything
Price writes: “Let your characters retain some mystery.”
People aren’t fully explained any more than they are wholly good or bad, your characters should reflect this.
5. Your protagonist doesn’t have to know everything, at least not right away
Like you and me, it’s okay if your sleuth doesn’t have all the answers and is unsure about what happened … as long as she gets there in the end.”