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How to Write a Story About Robbery
Creating stories is a fun creative outlet for ideas and imaginative expression. Stories come in many forms and genres and are only limited by the author's creativity. Short stories are structured alike, with differences lying in the character creation and the story line. Creating a story about a robbery involves discovering a story path satisfactory to the imagination and limitations of the creator. The robbery story may be funny, serious or tragic, depending on the creator's preferences.
Determine the story genre. Genres include mystery, realistic fiction or fantasy. The specific genre will determine the setting of the robbery. A mystery genre will include an unnamed robber while a fantasy genre may have a robber of a race other than human.
Choose a protagonist. The protagonist is the main character of the story, and he will require extensive character development. The protagonist will be the robber, a detective trying to catch the robber or another person having an involvement with the robbery. The protagonist will have a problem or other issue that must be resolved within the story.
Discover the point of view. Points of view come in first or third person. The first person point of view will entail the story being told by the protagonist or another character from her point of view. The third person point of view is told as if a narrator is looking in on the action and telling the story.
Build a setting for the story, including background. This is the place where the motivation for the robbery may be highlighted. Create a background for the protagonist, as well as backgrounds for any characters directly important to the plot.
Highlight the plot of the story. The plot may include the robbery itself, the aftermath of the robbery or the events leading to the robbery. The plot will be built around the protagonist and his specific motivations or involvement within the robbery.
Weave conflict into the story before the climax. Conflicts in robbery stories include the robber being caught, the detective chasing the robber through town or perhaps the robber feeling guilty for the crime. Lead the conflict to the climax, where the characters meet or somehow end the ongoing conflict of the story.
Finish the story with a resolution. Decide what happens to the protagonist after the story climax. Does the robber return the items stolen due to guilty feelings? Does the detective arrest the robber and feel a sense of a job well done? The resolution is dependent upon the events of the conflict in the story.
Things You'll Need
- Seton Hill University: Short Stories --10 Tips for Creative Writers; Dennis G. Jerz, et al.
Rebecca Mayglothling has worked directly with toddlers and preschoolers for more than three years. She has published numerous lesson plans online as well as parenting and teaching advice. She continues to keep ahead of parenting methods and is eager to share them through her professional writing.
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How to Write a Crime Short Story: 10 Top Tips
By Georgina Roy
Crime fiction, regardless of the format – whether a short story, a novella, or a novel, comes in two forms: the protagonist will either solve a crime, or commit one.
In the first type, i.e. solving a crime, we follow the protagonist as they use their brain and their skills to figure out who did the crime or what happened. In the second type of crime stories, we follow the protagonist as they commit the crime, and this type can have two subtypes: the crime happens in the beginning (i.e. first part or act), and the second part focuses on the fallout, or, the protagonist decides to do the crime in the first part, and either goes through with it or not in the second part.
Considering that today we are focusing solely on crime short stories, rather than fiction, the tips below on how to write a crime short story will all be related to writing shorter pieces of work, and they might not work for longer pieces like novellas or novels.
1. Keep your audience in mind
Considering the two types of crime fiction we’ve highlighted above, it is worth noting that while there are omnivorous crime readers, i.e. those who enjoy reading about the solving of a crime just as much as they would enjoy reading about the protagonist committing a crime; quite often, the audience for one type is not the audience for the other one.
The readers who prefer to read solving a crime might not enjoy reading about committing one. So before you embark on the wonderful journey of writing a short story, think carefully about which audience you wish to target and attract.
2. Have a clear theme and idea
Often, short stories do not have the time to elaborate on all the nuances of a certain theme or idea. Practically speaking, a short story does not allow you to dwell longer in the life of the protagonist. Regardless of what type of story you are writing (committing a crime vs. solving a crime), due to the nature of those two events, you would not be writing a short story that spans over several years.
The longer a crime goes unsolved, the more difficult it would be to solve it. This type of urgency is what drives crime novels, let alone short stories. So, the clearer your theme and original idea, the better – for it would allow you to distill it to its essence and present it, in as short manner as possible, in your story.
3. Keep it short
We’re not talking here about trying to say as much as possible in as few words as possible. When it comes to writing crime short stories, you do not need to dwell on the protagonist’s backstory. If he is an experienced detective, there is no need for the reader to know all the details about all of his previous cases to convince them that this detective knows what he is doing – show that in the procedures and the actions he takes to solve the crime, but also in how he reacts to seeing this particular crime.
If your protagonist is somebody who is willing to commit a crime, try to convey their motivations as shortly as possible. The readers do not need to know all the details that led or will lead them to commit the crime, just enough to sympathize with them or, alternatively, find the protagonist compelling enough to follow them to the end.
4. Create a believable crime
In longer works like novellas and novels, you need to create such a crime that will take someone a whole novel to solve. In short stories, specifically short stories that are focused on solving a crime, the crime needs to be out of the ordinary, but the protagonist should still be able to solve it in an “a-ha” moment, that would both make sense to the reader in retrospect, and also surprise them at the same time. If your story is about committing a crime, the crime itself needs to be relatively easy for the protagonist to commit. The planning has already been done and it’s all about the execution and the consequences.
In the second type of crime stories, where the protagonist decides to commit the crime and we follow them as they either go through with it or not, the crime itself needs have a certain psychological effect on the protagonist. Additionally, it should be more difficult to commit and pose a certain danger to them as well.
5. Create a compelling protagonist
The protagonist who solves the crime needs to have the tools and experience to do so. You make that protagonist compelling by how they react to the crime that has been committed, and then what steps they take to solve the crime, as well as what motivates them to solve the crime so quickly.
The protagonist who commits the crime, on the other hand, will be more difficult to create in a compelling manner. This type of protagonist either has to be easy to both sympathize and empathize with, like for example, a person who has been hurt in some way looking for revenge, or, they would be a kind of person who most people would find abhorring, and, they would follow that person just to see whether they get what is coming to them or not (the ending, of course, depends on the message you’re trying to send, stemming from your original idea and theme).
6. Determine the timeline of the crime
Short stories do not have the time to focus on cold cases that have not seen progress in years unless there is new evidence that would help the detective solve a cold case quickly. As such, the crime should be recent enough that there is fresh evidence for the protagonist to work with.
When it comes to the second type, committing a crime, the protagonist needs to be at the right moment to commit the crime. For example, let’s say that a woman is trying to kidnap her own child, who is currently in the custody of the ex-husband who abused her for years. Fearing for the safety of the baby, we do not need to see her stalking her ex-husband and her child for weeks on end; we need to tune in right at the moment when the woman is watching her ex-husband’s new girlfriend take the child to the park, who leaves the kid on the swings and steps aside to take a phone call, and the woman grabs her child and leaves.
7. Different types of subgenres in solving a crime
The first type of crime stories, where the protagonist is solving a crime, are divided into several subgenres (or subcategories):
- Whodunit : this is the most famous type, where the protagonist needs to solve the problem of who committed the crime (theft, murder, etc.,) from a certain list of suspects. The protagonist is usually a detective or a private investigator. A specialized subset of whodunit is locked room – where the crime has been committed in a locked room with no way in or out, so the suspects have all been present at the murder/crime scene.
- Cozy mystery : similar to whodunit, with the sole difference that the protagonist is most often a woman with no experience in solving crime, and the setting is a small, cozy town rather than a big city.
- American noir/hardboiled crime fiction: where the protagonist, in the course of solving the crime, runs into personal danger. Darker themes like abuse, sex, and violence are at the forefront of these stories.
- Police procedural and forensic crime: the protagonists are members of the police or a forensic team, like pathologists, and either use standard police procedures to solve the crime, or forensic tools, respectively.
8. Subgenres based on committing a crime
When it comes to committing a crime, while there are two basic subtypes of stories, there are two main subgenres:
- Caper stories: opposite of whodunit and procedural stories, the protagonists are criminals who are trying to evade capture of legal authorities – after they had committed the crime, or they commit the crime in the first part of the story.
- Heist stories: they always revolve around theft, often grand theft in museums or casinos, and the protagonists are trying to commit the crime by the end of the story.
9. Connect the theme and the subgenre
The theme, or, the point you want your reader to take in while reading the story, needs to directly dictate the type of subgenre you are going to use, and so will the nature of your protagonist. A mother trying to get revenge for the death of her child will most probably not be trying to rob a bank or a casino. A con man looking for his big score (moneywise), who is trying to keep himself out of prison, will not be so willing to murder the guards of the Hope Diamond.
10. Use a certain balance of humor
Short stories, by nature, need to have a certain sense of lightness that would make it easy for the reader to lose themselves in the story. Even stories that deal with darker themes like violence and abuse need to have the narrative deliver the same lightness that makes it easy for the readers to absorb what is happening. Humor is one of the best tools to use in the narrative to make the story lighter for the reader to take in.
However, some themes are more serious, and using excessive humor, for example, in a short story of a mother trying to get revenge and kill the murderer of her dead child, humor would not be welcome. Humor helps to make stories “read” or “feel” softer, but it would also take the reader away from such a dramatic and traumatic story. The only possible type of humor acceptable in such a story might be sarcasm or irony, but even that should be used sparingly and only if sarcasm is a strong element of the protagonist’s personality.
On the other hand, heist stories, whodunit stories, and cozy mysteries would highly benefit from the use of humor. Humor can make any story better, as long as it is used in a manner appropriate for the theme and the point that you are trying to make with it.
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Bank Robbery Story
Stories for children are filled with informative lessons and important values. Reading such stories to the kids will help in increasing their creative and imaginative skills.
Read the story of a young boy who prevented a robbery from taking place.
The story shares the importance of bravery and cleverness.
Read the Bank Robbery Story in English
Kids, have you ever been to a bank? If not then you definitely should. Banks are the places where our parents and other adults deposit their money for our future use. We can also deposit our money in our bank accounts at the bank. In this Bank Robbery story , we will read about a young boy who went to the bank for his work but got caught in a robbery incident. Let us see what the story holds for us.
An Amazing Short Story on Robbery
One day, a boy named Swapnil decided to go to the bank near his house. He wanted to open a Fixed Deposit in the bank for his future. When he reached the bank, he saw that it was very big and had a lot of floors. He went into the main office and looked around for someone to help him. Then he went to the head manager of the bank and made his request to open an FD at the bank. As the person was explaining the procedure to Swapnil, he listened intently. He was given a form to fill out to open the FD. So, Swapnil started filling the form out. During that time, he also looked around the bank and saw different people doing their work.
Swapnil, the Young Boy Filling the Form Out
The Robbers Enter the Bank
After some time, Swapnil’s eyes fell on three grown men who entered the bank. They were wearing normal clothes and looked like ordinary men. So, Swapnil didn’t think much about it and continued with his work. Suddenly, he heard a voice shout, “Everybody put your hands up in the air. This is a robbery.” Swapnil turned to look at the voice who shouted and saw that the same guys whom he saw earlier were standing there with their guns.
Everyone had their hands up in the air. The head robber shouted to the cashier and asked her to give the keys to the locker.
Robbers Trying to Steal From the Locker
They planned to steal everything from the locker. Another one of the robbers went towards the people and started collecting their phones and valuables. “Everybody must give me everything that you have if you want to live.”, he said. The robber warned the people in the bank that if they tried to inform the police, they will kill everyone. The security personnel of the bank were on the ground floor so they couldn't reach the main office.
Swapnil Has A Plan To Stop the Robbers
Swapnil saw what was happening and got very scared. However, he understood that the police won’t be able to help them out. So, he made a plan to trick the robbers and scare them away. When one of the robbers came to him for his phone, Swapnil pretended that he was signalling someone at the nearby window to not do anything. When the robber saw that he asked, “Who are you signalling?”
Swapnil replied, “Actually I saw someone at the window and he was trying to tell me that he was going to inform the police. I simply told him not to do so because we will all be in danger.” The robbers got scared hearing that someone might have informed the police. So, they left the bank in a hurry and didn’t take anything. Thus Swapnil managed to save the day.
Summary of the Short Story on Robbery
Children can learn a lot from this robbery story. The Bank Robber Moral story shares the importance of bravery and cleverness in times of peril. Swapnil was a young boy and still, he managed to outsmart those robbers and scare them away. We can always get out of any difficult situation in life if we are smart about it.
FAQs on Bank Robbery Story
1. Why was Swapnil at the bank?
According to the Robbery Story In English , Swapnil went to the bank to open a Fixed Deposit.
2. Who was Swapnil signalling to by the window?
There was no one at the window. Swapnil was simply pretending to signal someone so that he could trick the robbers.
3. How can we deposit money at the bank?
To deposit our money at the bank, we need to open an account at the bank first. Then we can easily deposit the money using a cheque or simply depositing the cash.
The Bank Job – a short story for English reading comprehension
Three men go into a bank.
They are armed and dangerous. They are going to rob the bank.
But then one them takes off his mask…
And a young woman working at the bank has his gun in her hand.
What kind of bank robbery is this?
This is a full and complete lesson plan based on a funny story, The Bank Job.
This lesson comes complete with:
- introductory questions
- the short story
- reading comprehension questions
- essential vocabulary
- discussion questions
- a writing exercise
Take a look below… You can download the full lesson and use in your class today.
Table of Contents
What happens during a bank robbery?
How do people feel during a bank robbery?
Is it possible to fall in love during a bank robbery? Why/why not?
Have you ever fallen in love in a strange place or situation?
The Bank Job
And we all charged in as one.
We had done this a hundred times before; we were well-practised at it.
Colin raised his shotgun and made sure all the people in the bank could see it.
“Ladies and gentlemen, this is a bank robbery. Everyone get on the floor and you will not get hurt. All the staff — out front now.”
He spoke calmly and quietly.
Jason, always good with technology, had disarmed all the alarms and cameras. And me, I stood at the door, keeping nosy people out and the customers and staff in.
This was a piece of cake.
“You,” said Colin, and pointed to a middle-aged man by a desk. “Give me the keys to the vault.”
The man faltered and tried to speak, but Colin approached him and waved the shotgun in his face.
“This is no time for heroics, my friend,” he said.
The man produced a set of keys, and Colin took them from him.
From behind me, Jason let out a laugh. “Sweet,” he said.
We had done all our homework on the bank. We knew exactly how much they had in the vaults. We would be raking it in.
I looked around at the people. They were all lying down on their fronts. Some peeked up at me and Jason.
We must have looked pretty intimidating with our masks on — I was Donald Duck. Jason was Goofy. And Colin was Mickey Mouse because he was in charge.
And then something came over me. I don’t know what it was, but I looked down at all these people lying on the floor of the bank — a man in a suit, a middle-aged woman, her hands trembling, and a security guard. And they were all ordinary people going about their lives.
Just normal people trying to get on with life.
And here we were, robbing the bank and making everyone’s life really difficult.
I looked at the gun in my hand. It was loaded.
Would I use it if I had to? I don’t know. But it now looked so evil, so bad.
I turned to the side and placed the gun on a counter where people fill in forms.
Then I removed my mask.
The security guard looked up at me in amazement. He couldn’t believe what he was seeing.
Jason stared ahead at all the cashiers’ windows. He turned his head and saw me with my mask off.
“What — what are you doing?” he said. He stepped forward. “Put your mask on. Where’s your gun? What the hell are you doing?”
I shook my head at him.
“This is wrong,” I said. “This is all wrong. We shouldn’t be doing this.”
Jason called out to Colin. He didn’t say his name, of course. But he shouted out to him.
Colin rushed out from the door leading to the back of the bank. He saw me and stopped moving.
In a stage whisper, he spoke to me. “What’s wrong with you? Why have you taken your mask off?”
“I’m sorry, guys,” I said. “But this is all wrong. We should not be doing this to these poor people. Look at them. They’re decent, hard-working people.”
Colin came towards me in three large steps. He put his face close to mine. His Mickey Mouse mask grinning back at me.
“I don’t know what you think you’re playing at,” he said. “But if you don’t put that mask back on, one of these people will recognise you. And they will tell the cops.”
I shook my head.
“I will accept any punishment that is brought to me.”
It just seemed right that I should be punished.
Colin grabbed me by the arm and yanked me towards Jason.
“This is madness,” he said. “This is completely insane.”
He turned back to all the people lying on the ground.
“Everyone stay calm —”
Then, by the counter, I saw her.
One of the cashiers, a young woman, she had my gun in her hand. She must have moved so fast.
She was pointing the gun at Colin.
“Don’t move,” she said.
The security guard groaned. “Don’t be stupid,” he said. “Please, don’t”.
The middle-aged woman started to cry.
“Listen, young lady,” said Colin. “You don’t know how to use that gun in your hands. So why don’t you put it down and get back on the ground?”
She shook her head. “I know how to use the gun,” she said. And she moved her hands two centimetres to the right and pulled the trigger.
A loud bang filled the cavernous interior of the bank. People screamed and yelled out.
I watched in absolute amazement at this woman. This was an act of sheer bravery.
She looked at me and smiled.
“I think you’re so brave,” she said, and she smiled again. It was the most genuine smile I had ever seen in my life.
There was something about this young woman, something pure and kind about her. Something that seemed so right.
“My name is Joe,” I said.
“Hi, my name is Karen,” she said. “Nice to meet you.”
Colin called out to the room. “Everyone calm down,” he screamed. “You.” He nodded his head to the woman. “Give me the gun.”
She shook her head. “No. I am not giving you anything.” She looked at me. “Joe. Get over here. Stand behind me.”
At that moment, I would have done anything she asked me to do. She looked so wonderful.
Behind me, Jason was freaking out. “Colin, what’s going on?” he wailed.
“Don’t use my name, you idiot,” yelled Colin. He waved his shotgun at the people in the bank. But I could see he was losing his cool.
Then, in the distance, the sound of police car sirens.
I stood behind Karen. It seemed like the safest place in the world to me.
I could already see our future together.
And Colin and Jason… Well, we wouldn’t be seeing them for many years.
Reading Comprehension Questions
Who is the narrator of the story?
What is happening at the beginning of the story?
Who are the three men? What are their names? Who is in charge? What are the other men’s roles?
Why did the narrator feel that the robbery was going to be easy?
Describe the narrator’s thoughts and emotions as they looked at the people in the bank.
Why are the three men wearing masks? What are their masks?
Describe what happens to Joe as he is staring at the people lying on the ground. What is happening to him do you think?
What does Joe do with his gun? What about his mask?
Why did Joe decide to remove their mask?
What does the security guard think about this?
How does Jason react?
What does Colin do?
What does Joe say to Jason and Colin? What are his reasons for stopping the bank robbery?
What warning does Colin give Joe?
Why does Joe believe that they deserved punishment?
Who is Karen? Is she a customer in the bank? Or does she work there?
What does Karen do next?
Does Karen know how to use a gun?
How does the security guard react? How about the middle-aged woman?
What does Colin tell Karen? How does she respond?
How does Joe react to Karen?
What is happening between Joe and Karen?
What impression does Joe have of Karen?
What does Karen tell Joe to do?
Why does Joe choose to stand behind Karen?
What is the sound in the distance?
How does Colin react when he realizes the police are coming?
What does Joe imply about his future with Karen?
What fate does Joe predict for Colin and Jason?
How does the story end?
Write down all the words and phrases in your vocabulary notebook. Look in your dictionary and find the meaning of each word. Write the definition next to each word.
Then make up your own sentences using each word or phrase.
Shotgun — a type of firearm with a long barrel, fired from the shoulder.
Heroics — brave or heroic actions, but often done in error.
Then write a sentence of your own that uses the new word or phrase correctly.
When they heard a noise outside, the farmer grabbed his trusty shotgun to protect his livestock from predators.
Despite the danger, he couldn’t resist the urge to show off his heroics by rescuing the stranded cat from the tree.
Do this with all the vocabulary and, over time, this will help improve all your English skills — reading, writing, speaking and listening.
What kind of story is this? A crime story? Or a love story?
How does the story begin? Describe the scene and the characters involved.
Describe Joe’s feelings at the beginning of the story. How about at the end?
How long do you think all the three men have known each other? What other kinds of crimes do you think they have committed?
What role does each character play in the bank robbery? How are their skills useful?
What do the characters’ masks symbolize in the story? Why did Joe choose to be Donald Duck? Or was he told to wear the Donald Duck mask?
How does Joe’s perspective change as the robbery progresses? What triggers this change?
Do you think they could have gotten away with all the money if Joe had stuck to the plan?
What would they do with the money?
Describe the feeling of the security guard and the middle-aged woman. Why are they feeling this way?
What thoughts and feelings does Joe have when looking at the people on the floor? How does this impact their actions?
What happens to Joe as they are robbing the bank? Why does he change his mind about robbing the bank?
Describe Joe’s feelings at this point. Why is he feeling this way at this moment?
Why does the protagonist decide to remove their mask and put down their gun? What moral dilemma are they facing?
When Joe takes his mask off, what does the security guard think? What do you think is going through the security guard’s mind at that time?
How does Jason react? How does Colin react?
Describe Joe’s interaction with Karen, who takes control of the situation.
How would you describe Karen’s personality based on her actions and dialogue in the story?
How does Karen get to the gun so quickly?
What is Karen doing? Is this wise, do you think?
How does the security guard react? The middle-aged woman? What could happen next at this point?
How does Colin react to Joe’s change of heart? How does he try to regain control of the situation?
Do you think Karen really knows how to use a gun? Or is she just bluffing?
What is happening between Joe and Karen? Are they falling in love? Is this the right place to do this? Why/why not?
How does Joe’s perception of Karen evolve throughout the story? Why does he feel a connection with her?
Describe the atmosphere in the bank as the situation escalates. How do the customers and staff react?
What is the significance of the police sirens approaching in the distance? How does it affect the characters’ choices?
What happens after the end of the story? In class, say some possible outcomes.
What will happen to Joe and Karen after? Say some possible outcomes for their future.
How do you think the story will end for each character? What consequences might they face?
Reflect on the theme of bravery in the story. How do different characters demonstrate bravery in their actions?
Discuss the moral dilemma Joe faces during the robbery. Do you agree with their decision? Why or why not?
How does the setting of a bank robbery contribute to the tension and conflict in the story?
How does the story explore the concept of right and wrong? How do characters’ choices reflect their values?
If you were in Joe’s shoes, how might you have handled the situation differently? What choices would you have made?
This is a creative writing exercise.
You are going to write a short story. The title is:
Love At First Sight
It is a continuation of the story you read at the beginning of the lesson.
Think about the following questions:
- What happens to Joe and Karen after the police arrive?
- What happens to Colin and Jason after the police arrive?
- Do you think they are falling in love?
- Maybe they get married. Who will attend their wedding?
- The bank manager?
- The security guard?
- Colin and Jason?
- What kind of life do Joe and Karen have later on?
Now write your story.
When you have finished writing your story, read it out loud in front of the class.
Or, if you prefer, you can give it to your teacher for review.
You can download the full lesson plan by clicking the link below!
You can also join my mailing list by clicking the link below. I will send you new guides, articles and lesson plans when I publish them.
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2 thoughts on “the bank job – a short story for english reading comprehension”.
I like this story. It is certainly interesting and has deeper connotations than what happens in the story itself. That would be good for class discussion. However, for political and cultural reasons, I believe it would be better for native speakers. Some countries are loathe to receive ‘Western Influence’ where something like a bank robbery would be unheard of. Perhaps that is because it would be a highly charged issue in countries where I’ve taught EFL.
Yes I think that definitely could be an issue to deal with. But I also hope that this is only seen as a story and is totally fictional. You do raise a very important point, and that is that in EFL the foreign teacher has to be very sensitive to the politics and culture of the country they are working in. Thanks for the great comment, Leona! Much appreciated!
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Read, Write & Publish Short Stories
THE MYSTERY OF THE DIAMOND ROBBERY
Published by Nicole Travasso in category Childhood and Kids with tag cousin | diamond | gang | police | theif
THE MYSTERY OF THE DIAMOND ROBBERY Photo credit: imelenchon from morguefile.com
The diamonds are robbed!
It was 11:30 pm when Nicole and Rahul’s neighbor, Mrs. White, came home from the jewelers.
With her she had a set of diamonds!
Her husband had given her the money to buy them from goodness knows where. He hardly went to work but had almost all the riches in the world!
“Look at these beautiful glittering diamonds.” said Mrs. White.
“Really lovely.” said Mr. White. Suddenly the lights went off!
“Nobody is to touch me.” cried Mrs. White.
When the lights came on she found that the diamonds were gone!
What a mystery!
The next morning Nicole woke up with a happy feeling. It was the first day of the summer holidays and all their cousins were staying with them for three months!
Nicole jumped out of bed and then woke Rahul up. He too cried with delight.
“1 st March. Three, long sunny months ahead of us. Why we might even get a chance to be the five cousins and dog again.”
“I was thinking the same thing before I woke you up. Won’t it be lovely?” said his sister laughing.
Ethan, Sophia and Sean were cousins from their dad’s side. They had more on their mother’s side but they were now out-of-station.
An hour later they went to their grandparents’ house which was connected to theirs.
The others were already there and were having their breakfast. Their aunt Yasmine had a parcel for Nicole’s next door neighbors-Mr. and Mrs. White.
After breakfast Nicole and her brother went to ask their parents if they could go and deliver the parcel with the others. The answer was ‘yes’ and the five children were soon walking down the road to their neighbor’s house.
They were surprised to see Mrs. White in tear-stained cheeks and red eyes looking cautiously out of the window before opening the brightly polished door.
“Oh! It’s you kids. Come on in.”She said in a choked voice from which one could make out she had been crying for a long time.
“Mum’s sent this parcel for you” said Ethan in an alarmed voice.
“Thanks. I’ve been robbed of the best diamonds in the world, that’s why I’m so worried.”She said. “Now, out you all go. It’s been nice to see you all again.”
A meeting is called.
“Let us have a meeting.” said Nicole as soon as they were out of Mrs. White’s hearing.
“Oh do let’s” said everyone.
“It’s a matter for the five cousins and dog to look into. The mystery of the diamond robbery.” Said Rahul so solemnly that they all had to laugh.
As soon as they reached home they went to the old shed, which had now become their meeting place.
“Now let’s start on something before that Mr. Columbus, the police man gets to even hear of the robbery.” said Nicole, decidedly.
“What should we do?” asked Sean.
“Let’s get back and get some more Info……Info…..” said Sophia.
“Information” completed Ethan.
“Yes let’s go” said Rahul.
So they went to Mrs. Whites’ house and knocked at the door. Mrs. White opened it.
“Oh it’s you again. Come on in. What do you want?” She said.
“Mrs. White, you know that we like solving mysteries and have solved one before.” began Sean.
“And we wondered whether you could give us some information about the robbery that took place last night.” completed Ethan.
“Well, the robbery took place at around 11:35 pm last night and the lights went out as they were being robbed.” said Mrs. White.
As she was talking, somebody knocked or rather rapped at the door.
Mrs. White went to open it. It was Mr. Columbus the village policeman! What a shock for him when he saw the children standing just behind Mrs. White and grinning at him.
“What are you kids doing here?” roared Mr. Columbus, quite forgetting that Mrs. White was in front of him. “Get out of here at once I say. What are you a-doing?”
“All we’re a-doing at the moment is we’re getting out” said Rahul grinning. It would not be surprising if the policeman clapped them into jail for a day or two without even bread or water, he disliked them so much.
They trooped out and suddenly Mr. Columbus took it to his head to chase them to their house.
He roared and chased them . Sophia ran so fast that she didn’t look where she was going, tripped on a stone and fell face down on the road.
This made the boys go flaming red with anger and Rahul opened the gate leading to their house. Out shot duke their Labrador. He gave Sophia a quick lick on the face and chased Mr. Columbus round and round in circles!
“Mr. Columbus how does it feel to be chased?” asked Nicole laughing till tears came to her eyes. The other including Sophia shouted-“Yes how does it feel?”
Under the coconut trees.
The children and their dog went inside all helping the limping Sophia. Then while Sean and Ethan went to explain the fall to Sally, Sophia and Sean’s mother, Nicole and Rahul helped their mother, Betty, who was a doctor, to bathe Sophia’s wound.
As Sophia didn’t want to do anything and begged her cousins and brother not to do anything without her they all went to Mrs. White’s house and asked her whether they could sit under the coconut trees near the river they owned.
Mrs. White said that they could.
“I will come with you, and call a coconut plucker to pluck coconuts for you all”, she said.
So the children went first leaving Mrs. White to telephone the coconut plucker. After fifteen minutes she came with the coconut plucker. He started to climb one tree. The children watched fascinated. Rahul was the most fascinated. He had always had a liking for trees.
A key to the mystery.
That very moment Mr. White appeared. He saw the man climbing the tree and he yelled:
“Hey you! What are you doing climbing trees in my garden! Plucking fruit in my property without my permission! And you children get out! Rachel, how dare you give them permission without asking me first?!”
Rachel was Mrs. White’s first name.
The coconut plucker disappeared and Mrs. White went with the children looking sad and hurt.
Suddenly Nicole asked “Mrs. White, has Mr. White ever behaved like that before? I mean did he ever shout at you for plucking fruit from his trees?”
“No” said Mrs. White “Many a time I have given my nieces and nephews coconuts and mangoes and different types of fruit from our trees and he has never objected.”
“When was the last time he never objected?” asked Nicole.
“Before last night” answered Mrs. White at once.
“Before last night-the night of the robbery –oh bother that’s our dinner call.” said Nicole, “See you tomorrow Mrs. White.”
A call to the Inspector.
The next morning the children had a hurried breakfast. They were all very excited as Nicole had told them that she had solved the mystery.
They went to Mrs. White’s house and were relieved to find that Mr. White had already left to work.
“Mrs. White” said Nicole urgently “you’ll have to call the police Inspector with a group of police and some of the police dogs! Rahul you go and fetch Duke. Mind that you bring him on his longest and strongest lead.”
The police Inspector lost no time in coming with his troop and soon they were all sitting in Mr. White’s big study. Nicole told them the whole story swiftly missing out no detail. The robbery, Mr. Columbus, the two chases, the fall everything.
“And now one of us must climb the coconut trees and see what’s inside the coconuts” she said.
Light was beginning to dawn on everyone. Of course Mr. White had stolen the diamonds and hidden them in the coconuts!
On the track.
One of the police officers climbed the coconut trees and plucked a coconut. It was empty.
“That means that Mr. White has taken the diamonds” said Nicole to the Inspector.
“Mrs. White call up your husband’s office and see if he is there” said Nicole
Mrs. White who had been very quiet during the whole while nodded.
After 5 minutes she came back looking worried.
“No” she said “My husband is not at his office!”
An exciting end to an exciting mystery.
“Just as I suspected!” said Nicole. “We must use the dogs to track him and his gang out.”
“Good old Nicole” yelled all the children together, except Nicole of course.
So Mrs. White gave all the dogs a sniff of one of Mr. White’s shirts.
Soon they were on the trail. After walking for a mile or so they heard Mr. White’s voice. Then a volley of laughter and somebody else’s voice saying-“Well! White you’ve done well.”
Then Mr. White spoke-“Thank you boss!”
Suddenly the Inspector drew his gun took a step forward and said-“Hands up! The cobra gang?!”
“Whew. Congratulations to the five cousins and their dog. You’ve helped to catch the cleverest gang in the world!!! They’re going to jail and there they are going to stay for a long long time.”
“What about Mrs. White?” asked Ethan.
“Don’t worry about me dear I am going to stay with my parents once I get my diamonds back.”
Then they all (except the robbers of course) laughed a hearty laugh.
By: Nicole Irene Travasso
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How to Write a Mystery Short Story
Last Updated: December 29, 2022
This article was co-authored by Lucy V. Hay . Lucy V. Hay is a Professional Writer based in London, England. With over 20 years of industry experience, Lucy is an author, script editor, and award-winning blogger who helps other writers through writing workshops, courses, and her blog Bang2Write. Lucy is the producer of two British thrillers, and Bang2Write has appeared in the Top 100 round-ups for Writer’s Digest & The Write Life and is a UK Blog Awards Finalist and Feedspot’s #1 Screenwriting blog in the UK. She received a B.A. in Scriptwriting for Film & Television from Bournemouth University. There are 8 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewed 51,811 times.
If you want to write a short story that really captures your audience, you might want to try writing a mystery. While you will find that the conclusion to your mystery is the most important part to creating a great story, it is critical to pay attention to the minute details and clues along the way.
Writing Your Mystery
- A crime of some sort, usually a murder.
- A sleuth or detective.
- A criminal.
- Clues that the writer will drop along the way for the sleuth to find.
- The other elements of a short story include: location (or setting); time period; dialogue; character development. These are also present in the mystery short story.
- To think of your crime, you may find it beneficial to ask yourself "What if...?" questions. For example, "What if...there an unexplained murder in the house?" "What if...someone went missing unexpectedly?"
- You can often find ideas for your mystery story in news headlines or daily activities. If you're writing a historical mystery, you might find yourself intrigued by unsolved mysteries of the past.
- Once you start to generate "What if...?" questions, you may find it difficult to stop!
- Recognize that the size of the place will influence the development of your story. For example, in a large city or busy public place, you will have lots of opportunities to introduce witnesses. However, in a “locked-room mystery” (one where all the characters seem to be present in the same room throughout the occurrence of the crime), you will likely have no external witnesses, but may be able to draw upon your characters opinions and biases of each other.
- Focus on the elements of your setting that are essential to the story. For example, is weather essential? If it is, write about it in great detail. If it is not, only mention it briefly or leave it out altogether.
- A short story won't have a lot of time to spend describing historical detail. If your setting requires a lot of explanation, consider using a longer form.
- Be prepared to do all the necessary research to make your setting compelling and realistic to the reader.
- You can use these details to establish setting, offer clues, and make characters more realistic.
- Because you're writing a short story, make sure each detail functions in at least 2 of these ways.
- Some characters should be potential suspects for having committed the crime (and at least one should actually be guilty of the crime), some should be supporting characters that serve to make the storyline interesting (a love interest or meddling mother-in-law, perhaps), and one (or more) should be focused on solving the mystery.
- Well-written characters will have motives for acting in ways that further the plot.
- Keep track of all the traits of your sleuth. Know his or her personality, physical characteristics, tendencies, habits, best and worst qualities, and signature style (among other things). Even if you don’t reveal all of her characteristics to the reader, it is important to be consistent throughout your short story.
- Consider developing your sleuth around yourself or around someone you know. This can help you decide on certain features and traits that will result in a thorough description of your sleuth.
- Think about including weaknesses and foibles.  X Research source While you may want your sleuth to have superhero-like mental capacity or razor sharp intuition, there might be some things that they struggle with as well.  X Research source This will make your character more relatable to your readers.
- Ensure that your sleuth is unique. If you have trouble determining this, think about what makes you unique and add some of that character into the character of your sleuth.
- Remember that your reader is not getting paid to read your story, so your reader must also have an emotional investment to continue to read.
- A good sleuth will have an investment that gives him motivation to go above and beyond the standard nature of the job. He should have a deeply personal connection to solving the crime.
Lucy V. Hay
Go beyond a typical "whodunit" to add a surprising twist. Author Lucy Hay says: "Sometimes your mystery might be about figuring out who's done a crime, but other times, you might reveal that right away. Then, the goal would be to discover why they've done it, instead."
- Describe your villain well, but not too well. You don’t want your reader to guess right from the beginning of the story who is the culprit. Your reader may become suspicious if you spend a disproportionate amount of time describing one character.
- You may want to make your villain someone that has been slightly suspicious all along. On the other hand, you may want to make the revelation of the culprit or criminal a complete shock. “Framing” someone throughout the story is a surefire way to keep your readers hooked to your mystery short stories.
- Instead of a villain, consider including a sidekick. Maybe your sleuth has a friend or partner that will help her sort the clues and point out things that she misses.  X Research source No one says the sleuth has to do it all alone! What if the sidekick and villain end up being one in the same?
- Don’t underestimate the power of the “backdrop” for the crime. An intricate understanding of the setting in which the crime takes place is an important tool that will help when it comes to developing your narrative.
- In a short story, the "opportunity" may well have happened before the story begins. In this case, the triggering event will be the detective's first decision to get involved.
- Present a clue early on in the book that your sleuth (and your reader) won’t recognize as a clue.  X Research source This will make your reader go back and think “AH! That’s what that meant!”
- Lay out false clues.  X Research source Lead your reader (or your sleuth) in the wrong direction to create an extra exciting story.
- Build tension through clues. Has your sleuth gone a long time without finding a clue? Does he have seemingly conflicting clues? The more puzzled you can make your reader, the more intriguing they will find your story.
Try to build suspense throughout the story. Author and screenwriter Lucy Hay says: "One of the key elements of a mystery is tension. It has to be compelling from the beginning. There's also a certain level of misdirection involved in a mystery, where to guide the reader to follow a certain thread, but it's actually completely wrong."
- While surprising, your conclusion should also feel inevitable when looking back over the arc of the whole story. Using a “deus ex machina” ending that seems to come from nowhere is less likely to be interesting to the modern reader.
- Many mystery writers decide on the ending first, before writing the rest of the short story.  X Research source Knowing your ending will allow you to better plot the story, which builds towards the revelation at the finish.
- Who does your reader expect committed the crime?
- Why is it unexpected that the actual criminal committed the crime?
Understanding More About Mystery Short Stories
- You can also read collections of short stories by your favorite mystery writers. Short story collections by Jonathan Kellerman, Edgar Allan Poe, Lawrence Block, and more.
- Collections of well-crafted mystery short stories are published every year by the Best American Mystery Stories.
- If you're not sure whether a class will help you with your particular interest, ask the instructor prior to signing up.
- You'll probably be able to see a course's reading list (or syllabus) before you sign up. This can be a good way to help you decide whether or not the class will be good for you.
- You can also find writing groups listed on bulletin boards, online listservs or Craigslist. Meetup.com also lists writing groups.
- A writing group can help you meet other people who may have more experience publishing their work. You can learn from their experience.
- Online writers' groups are increasingly popular. Look on social media sites such as Facebook or Tumblr.
- There's also the Nancy Drew Conference, the Left Coast Crime Conference, CrimeFest 2016, and more.
- An online search for mystery writers conferences may help you locate a conference in your area.
- Conferences are also great ways to meet agents who can help you market your work, or discussions about the merits of self-publication.
You Might Also Like
- ↑ http://www.dorrancepublishing.com/blog/cracking-case-tips-write-mystery-novel/#.VpK9_RWLSM8
- ↑ http://www.fictionteachers.com/fictionclass/mystery.html
- ↑ http://www.brighthubeducation.com/help-with-writing/128019-creating-a-mystery-story-five-steps/
- ↑ http://teacher.scholastic.com/writewit/mystery/tips.htm
- ↑ http://www.thrillingdetective.com/trivia/triv307.html
- ↑ http://www.dorrancepublishing.com/blog/cracking-case-tips-write-mystery-novel/#.VpVr3hWLSM9
- ↑ http://www.mwany.org/2016/01/so-youve-written-a-mystery-short-story-now-what/
- ↑ http://thewritelife.com/join-writing-group/
About This Article
To write a mystery short story, start by coming up with a protagonist, which is generally a detective with a unique personality. For example, they could have a distinct way of talking, or a specific fear that they’ll need to confront. Then, come up with a mystery and a reason for the hero to connect to it emotionally. Throughout the story, provide both real and “decoy” clues, so that when you reveal the culprit, the answer makes sense in the context of the story, but surprises the reader at the same time. To learn how to choose a setting and time period for your mystery, keep reading! Did this summary help you? Yes No
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- Short Story
- Umar Suyachmir, Grade 2
One day, there were two boys named Tom and Jack. They were visiting their friends house and then they decided to go to the park. They were playing soccer when suddenly there was a robber across the road at the bank. He was stealing money, so Tom and Jack went straight to the police station . The police men started chasing the robber and later on caught him. They returned the money back to the bank and were awarded with a trophy for their quick thinking. Tom and Jack went back to the park and continued to play their game of soccer til sunset. The end.
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The Best New Mystery Short Stories
There’s nothing quite like sitting down to read a good mystery short story. From the first line, we’re already putting on our detective hats and trying to figure things out. Together with the protagonists, we suss out clues, consider the evidence, and take a hard look at each of the suspects and their alibis.
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Short stories have been keeping mystery fans satiated for decades. From new Sherlock Holmes adventures in The Strand to Megan Abbott’s thrilling crime stories, mysteries have a proud tradition of packing tons of adventure into a small space. And, just like the ingenious crimes they solve, such a feat will leave readers marveling at how these authors managed it.
The mystery stories you’ll find here are provided by the ever-growing community of writers who participate in Reedsy’s weekly short story contest . Shortlisted and winning stories appear at the top of the page, so you don’t need to hunt for the best of the best. With so many emerging writers submitting to Reedsy, you never know when you’ll stumble across mystery’s next Conan Doyle! And if you'd like to read the best of the best entries from across 40+ genres, be sure to check out Prompted , our new literary magazine — there's a free copy waiting for you.
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Police raided george pelecanos' home. 15 years later, he's ready to write about it.
Writer George Pelecanos reads The Washington Post every morning in his home. Keren Carrión/NPR hide caption
Writer George Pelecanos reads The Washington Post every morning in his home.
It was August 2009 when the police raided writer George Pelecanos' home in Silver Spring, Md., just outside of Washington, D.C., with a no-knock warrant.
He was performing his daily ritual of sitting on the couch reading The Washington Post when he saw cars enter the driveway. "I saw these guys wearing black and holding automatic rifles and battering rams," he said in an interview at his home. The police broke down the door overlooking the driveway, and the basement door, too. Pelecanos said they put him on the floor and zip tied his hands.
The police were looking for his then 18-year-old son, Nick. The younger Pelecanos was a part of the robbery of a weed dealer, with a gun involved. So, the cops executed the no-knock warrant looking for evidence of guns or drugs.
After not finding anything, George Pelecanos said the officers started needling him about his liquor cabinet, his watch, his home. "One of the SWAT guys was looking at my books, and he goes 'maybe you'll write about this someday.' And he laughed," Pelecanos said. "And right then I knew that I would write about it. He challenged me."
No knock warrants have been banned in multiple states
Pelecanos is known for his gritty, realistic crime stories. For television, he co-created The Deuce , about the burgeoning porn industry in 1970s New York City, and We Own This City , the mini-series detailing a real-life corrupt police ring in Baltimore. As an author, he's known for his deep catalog of stories set in the streets of Washington, D.C.
His new short story collection is titled Owning Up . And it features characters grappling with events from the past that, with time, fester into something else entirely. There's a story about two guys who knew each other in jail, crossing paths years later. Another has a woman digging into her own family history and learning about the 1919 Washington, D.C. race riots.
Many of Pelecanos' crime fiction book are set in Washington, D.C. Keren Carrión/NPR hide caption
Many of Pelecanos' crime fiction book are set in Washington, D.C.
But Pelecanos said he wanted to write about the August 2009 incident because he wanted to further show the effects of no-knock raids. The Montgomery County police department confirmed they executed the warrant but they didn't immediately provide any additional details. Pelecanos did share a copy of the warrant, which states: "You may serve this warrant as an exception to the knock and announce requirement."
The practice of issuing no-knock warrants has been under increased scrutiny since the police killings of Breonna Taylor in Louisville in 2020, and Amir Locke in Minneapolis in 2022. They're banned in Oregon, Virginia, Florida and Tennessee.
"They don't accomplish anything except mayhem and violence," Pelecanos said.
The story "The No-Knock" starts with a journalist named Joe Caruso drinking his coffee and reading the morning paper when the vehicles pull up. The same beats follow — the guns, the zip ties, the pinning down on the floor. Pelecanos writes like he remembers every sensation from that night, because, he said, he does.
It deviates further into fiction from there. Caruso wants to write about it, but he can't. He's too close. He starts drinking heavily, instead. Pelecanos, on the other hand, knew he could write about it, easily. But he waited for over a decade on purpose. He wanted his son's permission, first.
"I wanted my son to grow up," he said. "And so that I could say to you today – he's fine."
Owning Up to the past
"He allowed time for me to grow as a man, and develop myself as a responsible person," said Nick Pelecanos in an interview. He now works in the film industry as a director and assistant director. He got his start working on jobs his dad helped him get. So he's attuned to his father's storytelling style — how he favors details and facts over sepia-toned nostalgia.
"When he writes something, you know that it's technically correct," he said. "And has come to his objective, as non-biased as possible opinion."
In Owning Up , Pelecanos writes about a non-knock incident inspired by real events. Keren Carrión/NPR hide caption
In Owning Up , Pelecanos writes about a non-knock incident inspired by real events.
As personal as "The No-Knock" is, Pelecanos calls the title story in the collection his most autobiographical. It's about a kid in the 70s named Nikos who works a job where he gets in with a bad crowd, and eventually gets talked into breaking into a guy's house.
"It's just the way my life was in that era and on this side of Montgomery County," Pelecanos said. "It was about muscle cars, playing pickup basketball, drinking beer, getting high."
Listening to Pelecanos talk about this story, it sounds familiar. You get the sense that history does repeat itself. That the same lessons get taught again and again. But that's O.K., because some lessons bear repeating.
"I got in trouble occasionally," he said. "But I always came home to the warmth of my family, you know? That's all you need."
Meghan Collins Sullivan edited this story for radio and the web.