When writing stories—be mysterious! Withhold information. You don’t want to explain too much too soon. You want to make people wonder. Building suspense and interest in the outcome of a story is a delicate balance of sharing enough information to grab readers’ attention, while refraining from losing reader interest by giving too much away.

The “Plot Hint: Withhold Information. Let’s Write! Mystery Stories” slideshow explains how withholding information as you write a story can be an effective strategy that keeps readers engaged. Two story excerpts demonstrate how not sharing every detail can make a reader wonder—and keep reading! An effective way for students to learn how to plot a story is to involve them in writing a mystery. The “Let’s Write! Mystery Story” section of the slideshow shares detailed information on writing mysteries and includes a story writing exercise for students that is both demanding and fun.

Teacher Tip! Please preview the slideshow and educator guide before sharing with your students so you can determine which activities and exercises will best meet the needs of your class.


RESOURCES: Educator Guide | Handouts | Bibliography

To view the slideshow in its biggest size, first click the icon in the bottom-right corner to open the slideshow in a new window. Then click Start Slide Show and use the arrow keys on your keyboard to advance the show. For detailed instructions on starting and viewing the slideshows, click here.

Note: The time required to initially load the slideshow will vary depending upon the speed of your computer. Older computers may require you to wait a few seconds for each slideshow to load.