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Blog by Tess Research and Preparation

Teresa (Tess) Riddle

Today, I would like to talk about the research and preparation I had to do before writing the first page of my book.

I already knew that I wanted to write a mystery book that was fictional.  I already had an idea of how the story would go.

Back in the day, in the neighborhood that I grew up in, there was a certain house that always looked creepy to my friends and I. Rumors were always going around that if you visited the family who lived there, don’t let them take you down into the basement. We were always careful when we went to that house on Halloween night. One time, when the people weren’t home, a couple of the neighborhood boys went inside and had a look around. Back then, people didn’t lock their doors.

That’s where I got the idea about writing a mystery about an old house from.

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Next, I had to come up with a fictional name for the town in which the mystery would take place. That was hard. It seemed like every name I thought of, and checked out on the internet, existed somewhere in the world.

I had a hard time coming up with a name, but finally decided on one that already existed. Since the book would be fictional, I decided I wouldn’t mention a state that the town was located in. That seemed to work out well for me.  

Once I came up with a town name, I had other questions that needed answered. What kind of business places would the town have that I wanted to include in a story? Would the town have a recreational area/park where people could go camping, fishing, swimming, go boating, canoeing, etc.?

I had to draw out a map with street names, and decide which business or place would go on each street.  I also had to decide where the elementary school, junior high school, and high school would be located.

Would the town have a police department or sheriff’s department? How many people would work there? What would be the pecking order be? I also had to come up with names of officers and what their position in the department would be.

I had to decide how the layout of the police station/sheriff department would be inside. Where would the jail and courthouse be located?

Once I got all of that decided, I had to do more research on coming up with names for my characters. I decided that two families would be the main characters in my book. The first family consisting of a dad, a mother, twin sons, and a daughter. The second family would consist of a dad, a mother, a son, and a daughter.

In choosing first and last names for the characters in my book, I had to be careful that I didn’t use the names of actual people that I knew, or had known. I didn’t want them or a family member coming to me and asking why I had used their or a family member’s name in the book.  

 Because I was writing a fiction book, I could make up names of people. 

I also came up with names for the people who had owned the old house that my story would be about. There would also be three troublemakers who were in town.  I had to come up with names for them

I also had to give names to the people who own different businesses around town.

I’d make up a name for other characters, as they were added to my story.

Once I had the names of my characters I needed, I started writing out an outline of how the story would go in each chapter.

 Once I got a basic outline of each chapter written out, I had to set up the format for my document (margins, font, writing style, etc.) before I could start writing the book on the computer.

There are many other decisions to make when writing a book, but I covered most of the basic research you need to do when writing a fiction mystery book. 


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Company information:

T&R Independent Bookstore is a division of T&R Independent Books founded in 2014 by R. Frederick and Tess Riddle. TR Ministry, aka Ministry Services, is both a charge and an exciting outreach to the Christian Community.