Quote Originally Posted by TheListener View Post
Start with the ending and work backwards. Maybe that will help on narrowing things down.
I was about to suggest this. With a mystery, I like to do backward planning (if the murder happened at 0800 on Tuesday, then the victim had to be lured here by 0745, which means the killer had to send the message that lured them by 7pm the night before, which means the murder weapon had to be procured by X and the murderer had to have time to clean up the scene (so he/she was there from at least 0800-0807, which is an opportunity for the person blackmailing the murderer to see them before their untimely death three chapters from the end of the book just before they were to talk to the detective), and so forth. Having a rough timeline helps you keep things reasonable (no, you can't get from Flushing to Downtown Manhattan in five minutes . . . I don't care who's driving). Also, backward planning helps ensure you leave the clues and the red herrings by ensuring the murderer did X and Y but not Z (that was the butler accidentally spilling red wine on the rug . . . not blood), etc. etc. etc.