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Witton Middle School



SPaG Starters 

Complete a quick SPaG starter everyday. All you need to do is complete three questions and then mark your answers. Click below to see your questions

Mystery Story Writing 

For the next two weeks you will be writing your very own mystery story. This will include Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson as your detectives but the mystery they solve will be up to you. Over the next two weeks, you will develop characters, create a setting, plan your plot, decide on your clues and write your story using suspense techniques.

Monday - the characters

Today is about developing your characters. Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson are your detectives but you will need a 'victim/witness' and 'suspects.' 


TASK 1 - Use the character profile sheet below to create your victim and suspect. Include notes on all aspects identified.


TASK 2 - Read the powerpoint and then write a character description for either your victim or suspect in detail. Use the vocabulary sheet to help you.

Tuesday - creating the setting 

The setting should fit the mood of the story. Think about where you want your story to take place. Should it be at night? On a foggy morning? During a thunderstorm? Maybe the day is sunny and bright, but the character has to explore the dark passages of a deserted building. What was that noise? Rats? Footsteps? Describe the dark passages. Let readers see the building. Write so vividly that readers feel they are there with your character.


Have a look at the examples below to get you thinking about a suitable setting for your story.

TASK1 - Draw or find a picture of your setting. Start by annotating key vocabulary around the image. What can you see? Feel? Hear? Smell? Use adjectives, similes, metaphors, personification and expanded noun phrases to describe the scene.


TASK 2 - Using the vocabulary and phrases you have developed, write a vivid description of your setting. 

Wednesday - the plot

The plot of any story is this: The main character has a problem, and must solve it by him or herself. In a mystery story, the problem has to do with the solution of the mystery. What is the mystery idea you have chosen? Is it a crime? Is it something scary? What should the main character discover? And what — or who — is going to get in the way, so the solution to the mystery won't be too easy?


With your characters and setting decided, it is now time to create your story plot. If you need some ideas see the list of possible plot ideas below.


Once you have decided on an idea, start to plan in more detail. Your story should have five parts: Opening, Build up, Dilemma, Events and a Resolution. Use the planning hill below to map out your ideas. PLEASE SUBMIT THIS TASK ON EPRAISE FOR YOUR TEACHER TO OFFER FEEDBACK.

Possible plot ideas:

  • A woman asks a writer to write the story of her life. Then she goes missing.

  • Three people close to the murder victim have confessed. Each of them swears they acted alone.

  • The creator of a high-tech prototype that will change an industry has gone missing.

  • A museum conservator is restoring an old painting, and an X-ray reveals something shocking or mysterious painted or written in the layer beneath.

  • A detective is hired for a high price to find a thief who stole something that doesn’t appear to have any real value.

  • In the middle of a wilderness, someone finds an abandoned bunker with security cameras, powered by a generator.

  • The graves of historic figures are being robbed.

  • Clues to the mystery come to him in dreams, but nobody believes him.

  • A man she didn’t know left her a valuable and unusual item in his will.

  • The accidental death of this investigative reporter seems a little too convenient.

  • The murders all relate to common fears, such as public speaking, flying, and heights.

  • A woman wakes up with a headache and goes into work, only to learn that she’s been missing for a month.

  • The painting must have been stolen from the museum in broad daylight, but the security cameras malfunctioned and no witnesses have come forward.

  • The report of a celebrity’s death is false, but he dies soon after.

  • The thief who steals rare books always leaves a sonnet behind.

Thursday - creating suspense

It is important that the author creates suspense (a feeling of excited or anxious uncertainty about what might happento keep the reader on edge and wanting to read on and find out what is going to happen. 


Possible techniques an author might use to build suspense include:

  • Use of short sentences 
  • May also include broken sentences, using commas
  • Use of simile/ metaphor
  • Use of ellipsis
  • The concept of something secret/ hidden/ barely seen or heard
  • The use of powerful verbs
  • Victim alone/in danger
  • Weather or strange sounds

Friday - opening 

Today you will write the opening to your mystery story. This is where you need to grab your readers attention to ensure they want to read on.


Look for the best place in which to begin your story. Mystery stories should begin with action, with suspense, with something interesting or exciting happening. Readers should meet the main characters and be introduced to the mystery right at the beginning.

Make your opening dramatic, informative or exciting using at least one of the 4 components discussed.


  • Describing a character

  • Describing a setting

  • Start with an action

  • Start with some dialogue



Could you introduce a character (or more than one)? Tell the audience about character, their name, something about them that is relevant to the story.

Could you tell us about their past, something interesting that will be impact on what happens? Or something that will explain why something will happen?

If you are writing about WW2 it could be about their experience of the war, how it has affected their family



Could you give the reader information about the setting :– 

Where and when is it based? What time of year (or season)

What can you see, hear, smell or touch? 

What would the audience see if they were standing there?



Could you start the story with an interesting action that sets up something that will happen?


Boom!! The bombs exploded around me …

Wrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrhhhhhhhhh. The air raid siren wailed to warn us of the impending danger.




Could you show us a conversation that a character may have that tells us a little about what might happen? Or something that suggests a possible storyline, or leaves the reader with a question?


“But Mum, I don’t want to stay at Grandma’s! She has weird things in her house and it is really spooky. It almost feels like the painting s are watching me…”