• Published 26th Jan 2014
  • 4,493 Views, 513 Comments

The Heart of an Author - Oroboro

Mystery. Love. Magic. Murder. Truth. These are all important elements in the murder mystery Fluttershy has written, and is now asking Twilight to read. But she struggles to solve the mystery in which it turns out she's the protagonist.

  • ...

TIPS - Knocks' Decalogue

Excerpt from A ‘Treatise on Mysteries’, by Roan A. Knocks. Additional commentary by Naor A. Knocks.

I. It is forbidden for the culprit to be anyone not mentioned in the early part of the story. A mysterious stranger who is revealed at the last minute spoils the play altogether.

II.It is forbidden for an excessive use of magic to employed as a detective technique. Magic is a powerful tool, and a unicorn detective has many more options at his disposal. But should magic be used to solve the crime entirely - for instance, a lie detecting spell that finds the culprit, or a monitoring spell which catches him red handed, you should stop and consider what kind of story you really want to tell.

III. It is forbidden for hidden passages to exist. Without the proper clues and foreshadowing indicating such a passage exists and having the detective discover them, it is no more than a cheap trick that removes the readers ability to reason.

IV. It is forbidden for unknown powers or hard to understand scientific devices to be used. Any hack can imagine an insane type of magical plant or potion that conjures up strange effects and impossible scenarios. A mystery should be solved by the powers of pony deduction, not the authors magical fantasy. Likewise, if the solution to your mystery requires a long science lecture at the end, throw it in the trash.

V: It is forbidden for griffons or other monsters to figure into the story. ** While this certainly seems inappropriate from a modern perspective, my father’s view here should be considered in context. Tensions between Equestria and the Griffon Empire were high at the time, and many shoddy writers used cheap caricatures of Griffons, as well as various magical beasts as their culprit, denying the reader a true suspect.

VI. It is forbidden for accident or intuition to be employed as a detective technique. Clues should be found through genuine deduction and investigation. Your detective must not, for example, look for the lost will in the works of a grandfather clock because an unaccountable instinct tells him that it is the right place to search.

VII. It is forbidden for the detective to be the culprit. This is the ultimate deception to pull on the reader, and why it is forbidden should be fairly obvious. This only counts for intentional crime. If, in the course of the mystery, the detective triggers an accident that leads to a murder, it is still forgivable.

VIII. It is forbidden for the case to be resolved with clues that are not presented. Perhaps the simplest of all, yet the most important core to a good mystery. To solve the crime, present the clues. All clues must be foreshadowed earlier in the story.

IX. It is permitted for observers to let their own conclusions and interpretations be heard. Whether intentionally trying to deceive the detective, speculating on their own, or just plain misguided, any character is allowed to project their own interpretations on to the events of the story. It is the job of the detective and the reader to sift through all the information to decide what is reliable and what is merely a red herring.

X. It is forbidden for a character to disguise themselves as another without any clues. This is too easy of a dodge, and too much of a cliche to be taken seriously.

Author's Note:

Internet cookies to "Harwick" and "thelittlegamers" for managing to figure this out. It wasn't much of a puzzle, but I hope you enjoyed it anyway.

For anyone wondering about the original, a good blog post can be found on it here.

Join our Patreon to remove these adverts!
Join our Patreon to remove these adverts!