Recently, at a Sisters in Crime meeting, we had a young, brand new author. Though I didn't remember him, he opened his talk by saying that I'd come to a California Writers meeting ten years ago when he was 16. My presentation was on How to Write a Mystery. Already interested in writing, my talk gave him the impetus to write mysteries.
His name is Daniel Stallings and his first book is out now, Sunny Side Up.
He talked about his book, how it came to be, other things he did, but he said a few things about writing mysteries that impressed as good reminders.
Have an unusual means of murder.
A really good reason for the murder. Why would someone have such strong feelings about a person to kill him or her? Money? Revenge? Love gone bad?
A good puzzle with honest clues--puzzle pieces.
Having a main character who actually grows and changes in a series. One who is someone the reader actually wants to root for.
Using new locations.
A definite end to the story even if the series will continue.