How to write a detective novel

With Writer’s Cards, you will write a detective novel. Find out how to plan a crime book.


In a detective novel, when planning the world, pay attention to the protagonist card. The main character of a detective novel can be an amateur detective, a private investigator or a police officer conducting an investigation. The protagonist is usually an eccentric, lives alone. He or she usually has a companion by his or her side, whose role comes down to passive help. Against the background of a helper character, much less brilliant and intelligent, the detective appears to be a genius.

The enemy card is obviously very important. In the case of a detective novel, the enemy is a criminal. He or she must be an expressive character and his or her actions should be carefully planned. The crime should be realistic, as should the methods for discovering the truth.

One of the most important tasks you have to fulfill in a detective novel is to constantly work on the item card. In a detective novel, items hide many secrets behind them. It is worth to place the clues in such a way that the reader discovers them together with the detective. The reader should not get obvious evidences of a crime – finding the fingerprints of a criminal at a crime scene is too trivial.

The world card is very important. The world presented in a detective novel is subject to full recognition. It is ordered as a result of an investigation that restores its order.


The basis of an attractive detective novel is a well constructed puzzle. Apart from the puzzle element, a detective novel must have a valuable plot. The investigation must be an adventure worth reading.

The aim is to solve the puzzle (purpose card), but in the storyline the emphasis is on the investigation, which you will develop using the preparation card. The crime itself most often starts the novel (start of the action card), but it is described only briefly.

Tips, evidences and clues must be given in a moderate way. You cannot immediately discover all the cards. The reader should be able to deduce alone who the killer is. At various stages of the plot, it is worth mentioning an event, an item, a person who, along with the development of the plot, will become more important for solving the puzzle.


Editing cards are essential to create an engaging and logical novel. You can easily organize all events prepared with Value Cards and Plot Cards. The story will be ordered and you will decide what emotions the reader will experience.

Using the settings card, introduce the reader to the presented world. Use the incident card to determine the goal and increase the pace of the action, and with the cards: story, increase of the action and breathing space, manipulate the emotions of the recipient. Use the climax card to find the moment to introduce the peak of the tension, while describing the card the evolution of conflicts control tensions and disputes.

All Writer’s Cards sets contain 14 Editing Cards.

Check out how to write a fantasy novel and a thriller or horror using Writer’s Cards.