How To Research Properly For Your Mystery Novel [Mystery Month]

For me, the writing process is pretty straightforward and fairly simple. I outline, then I write. Then I edit and rewrite and so on and so forth.

During the outlining part of the process, that’s when I do the bulk of my research. When it comes to writing about mystery, there’s a lot of research to do.

How To Research Properly For Your Mystery Novel | Mystery Month | Creative Writing | RachelPoli.com

Who is who

One thing I always look up is ranks of the people in law enforcement, what their job entails, what tools they use, and what day to day life is like for them while working.

For example, I’ll research a coroner and figure out where they typically work, what tools they use to examine bodies, the paperwork they draw up, what they do day in and day out, and more.

The same goes for a detective, police chief, forensic scientists, and more.

How to kill

Yes, we all have to research this. Whenever I Google how to kill someone I always add “in a mystery novel” in case my IP address gets flagged or something… if that’s a thing. It freaks me out either way.

Still, there are many kinds of guns and various bullets. What kind did your killer use? Was it at point-blank range? Where are the best spots on the body to shoot someone? What about the ballistic markings? It’s a lot to think about and a lot to learn.

Plus, there are so many ways to kill someone. How long does it take for someone to drown? What kinds of poisons can someone ingest and how long will it take it to work?

How to investigate

Investigating a crime scene is a process. Gloves need to be worn, evidence needs to go into bags, the scene needs to be taped off, and things need to be out of place.

What’s the process like? Who goes to the crime scene? Who responds to the calls?

And so much more

There’s a lot more to look into, to think about, and to research. Of course, fiction is still fiction and while there should be a little bit of truth in there, you can take things with a grain of salt.

How do you research for your mystery novels? What sort of things do you look up? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

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