Mystery Story Starters

"It was a dark and stormy night . . " Here's a great way to get kids started on their who-done-its—a whole packet of story starters awaits young mystery writers.

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Instructional Ideas
  • Have writers completely visualize their characters by crafting a color sketch, including clothing, facial expression, etc.
  • Once writers have chosen their plot idea, have them design three conflicts or obstacles their characters must face
  • For attention grabbers/hooks, high school-aged writers might enjoy checking out the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction contest
  • For other mystery story starters check out Chris Van Allsburg's The Mysteries of Harris Burdick


Classroom Considerations
  • This resource is only available on an unencrypted HTTP website. It should be fine for general use, but don’t use it to share any personally identifiable information
  • The packet includes character and plot ideas, as well as a list of attention-grabbing hooks
  • Writers can mix and match suggestions from each category
  • Although designed for fifth graders, the ideas would work well with any grade level
  • None