Mystery is one of the most popular genres in fiction. For many kids, mysteries are their first introduction to the short story format. They read classics such as Nancy Drew, The Boxcar Children, Encyclopedia Brown, and adaptations of Sherlock Holmes. As a writer, I often build a mystery into my ghost stories to help capture the reader’s attention. Once the audience is emotionally vested in solving the mystery, they will continue reading so that they can figure out what happens to the characters.
However, mystery writing is about more than just entertainment. A course in mystery writing can help improve your child’s critical thinking skills. Children benefit from taking a mystery writing course in four major ways. A mystery writing course helps kids:
• Develop evaluation skills
• Build problem solving skills
• Improve written communication skills
• Boost creativity
One of the important skills that children will develop during a mystery writing course is how to evaluate their information. To craft a good mystery story, a writer must be able to figure out what details the reader needs to know to solve the mystery. Some details are interesting and add to the overall flavor of the story. Additional information might be included to confuse the reader and make figuring out the story more challenging. While a writer should strike a balance between the three types of information in order to create an entertaining story, they must also include the important details so that the story’s conclusion makes sense to the reader.
Problem Solving Skills
Mystery writing also helps build problem solving skills. Every mystery poses a question that the reader ultimately solves as they move through the story. The writer has to know the answer to that question before they complete the story. This requires careful planning and organization. An important part of the writer’s job is laying down the right clues so that the reader can figure out the answer to the mystery by the story’s end.
Think of a mystery like a puzzle. The writer has to carefully paint the picture. Once the picture is complete, the writer cuts up the picture into pieces so that the reader can reconstruct it to get to the answer. The writer has done all the work of creating a mystery and giving the reader the clues that they need to solve it. Again, in order for the mystery to be a success, it has to make sense. This is where the next skill comes in.
Written Communication Skills
We’ve all heard the familiar saying, “Practice makes perfect.” Kids will naturally improve their writing skills during a mystery writing course. Aside from improving their overall grammar, sentence structure, and diction, they will learn how to get their message across through their writing. Once your child is engaged in writing, they will be more likely to turn into lifelong readers. This will increase their participation in class and encourage them to take a deeper interest in their studies. Even if your child doesn’t want to be a professional writer, having strong writing skills can help them excel in school and give them more opportunities to advance throughout college and their future career.
Mystery is a diverse genre that is known for branching into other genres and sub-genres. There are cozy mysteries, crime novels, thrillers, detective stories, and historical fiction mysteries, just to name a few. Since a mystery can be applied to almost any other type of story, your child’s creativity has unlimited potential. If they’re interested in aliens, they can write mysteries that include science-fiction elements. If they like paranormal characters like ghosts and vampires, they can incorporate these into their mysteries as well. Mystery writing can become a productive hobby for your child that helps keep them from getting involved in the type of troublesome situations that can arise out of boredom.
Being creative also helps reduce anxiety. Aside from helping them do better in school and the workforce, creative writing is also a great way to release stress. A mystery writing course will give kids the chance to express themselves through their writing by channeling their emotions in positive ways. When a person is less stressed, they naturally perform better in social situations, they take better care of themselves by sleeping and eating right, and they have a happier outlook of their life.
Mystery writing is a beneficial pastime for kids that helps them improve across several areas in their lives. It teaches them how to evaluate information, so that they can decide what is important to include in a story and what are just unnecessary details. They will build problem solving skills because they need to be able to figure out the answer to the mystery before they write it. Their writing skills will naturally improve from all the hours that they put into crafting and then later, revising a mystery story. Strong writing skills will not only help them do better in school and college, but will also make them contenders in the job market.
Finally, mystery writing is a productive pastime that they can do for fun and that gives them ample opportunities to pursue their interests while relieving stress. Investing in a mystery course is a good way to help build your child’s skillset and in the long run, can lead to them living creative, productive, happier lives.
Tara Theresa Hill has been fascinated by ghosts since her first paranormal encounter as a child. She writes stories about humans and spirits helping and interacting with one another. Tara’s blog, The Ghost Post, is about real ghost stories and hauntings. She also writes a fictional ghost story magazine via Patreon called The Spirit Hour. You can follow Tara Theresa Hill on Facebook and also on Twitter @TaraTheresaHill.