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Saturday, 11 July 2015

Cluedo and Crime Fiction

Hi readers

As promised, today's post will compare Cluedo to crime fiction.  When I was young, I have a memory of Cluedo as a TV program.  The same characters appeared each week like Colonel Mustard, Mrs Peacock, Professor Plum and Miss Scarlett.  There were also a a range of weapons and a range of rooms in a manor house and someone was murdered and you had to guess who it was and with what weapon.  The board game is pretty similar, you choose cards and guess which room the murder is in, who committed the murder and what weapon they used.  The show and game always stick in mind because I suppose it was the first introduction to whodunit crime.

So, I got thinking, why did I like it so much?  Well this is obvious for me, I loved guessing.  I liked the concept of the game, thinking about the clues and piecing everything together.  Even though it was the same character each week, I didn't tire, because each week had a different victim and a different motive.  I was certainly hooked!

When I think about writing a piece of crime, I always think about Cluedo so I thought we could have a  bit of fun here by suggesting a Cluedo style writing exercise to get your creative juices flowing.

I did suggest when writing my tips yesterday that you try to think of about five murder suspects for your story so by completing these exercises you can create these.

First, write down five suspect names.  Give them a title, Master, Miss, Mrs, Mr, Dr - anything you like.  Cut them out into card shapes, shuffle, and place face down.

Then write down five choices of weapons.  Cut them out into card shapes, shuffle, and place face down.

Then write down five places that the murder could take place.  Cut them out into card shapes, shuffle, and place face down.

So now you need to choose your killer, your weapon and your place at random.

You need to build a profile on your character so imagine that you are the detective, and need to interview your suspect:
First of all write down personal details; name, address, age, date of birth.  
Describe your suspect - what do they look like (hair colour, eye colour, size, any distinct features)?
What do they like? What do they dislike?  
Do they have any family and if so who - maybe they have a mother, or are married, or have children?
Are they employed? What job do they do? What have they studied?

Once you have done this start asking yourself;

How did the killer commit the murder?
When did they commit the murder?
Why did they commit the murder?
Who did they kill?
Describe where (the place) the victim was killed?
Describe what they murderer did next?  

Then consider what drove your killer to commit this murder - what happened?  Coming up with a motive is important to establish a believable killer.  

You can also do this for your suspects too, but instead of asking the final questions (how, when, what, where, why, who) think about why you think they are the murderer? What would their motive be?  When you have a series of suspects, they also need to be believable and in order for them to fit into the category of 'suspect' the detective must have a reason to suspect them in the first place.

You can also ask the profile questions about your detective character too in order to build a sound profile that is believable.

Having believable characters will help you to focus in on any research you might have to complete in order to complete your story.

Building up a profile and answering these questions can really help you begin your story, so just for fun, give it a go!

It was Professor Plum, in the
Ballroom, with the Hammer
Can you think of any other questions or activities that can be done to help you create a  believable character for your story?  Please comment if you think there are any I have missed out or if you have your own methods!

Thanks for reading,

Laters, Janet


  1. I love this idea - what a great way to really get inside your character's heads :)

    1. Thanks, I'm really glad you found this helpful, Debbie.

      Thanks for reading,