How to write clues for a murder mystery dinner theater

Written by chrystal mahan
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How to write clues for a murder mystery dinner theater
Write a list of ideas to get started. (young girl making notes image by Marina Bartel from

Murder mystery dinner theatre can provide an extensive amount of entertainment. Murder mysteries are not limited to restaurants and theatres. Anyone can host one. You can even write your own murder mystery clues rather than purchase a premade kit. These simple steps will start you on your way to creating a one-of-a-kind murder mystery dinner theatre.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Pen
  • Paper
  • Computer, optional
  • Note cards

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  1. 1

    Write the script using pen and paper or a computer. Start with an outline or action, then fill in the blanks from there. Think of the plot of your story as your own personal crime scene. You do not have to write dialogue for your characters--many murder mysteries can be ad-libbed as long as each player knows his character and place in the story.

  2. 2

    Determine how long you want the murder mystery to last. Time will play a huge part in how long your outlined script should be. A script of at least 20 characters will last about two hours, with something happening every five minutes. Guests will start to wander if it lasts longer than two hours. If you need something a little shorter, tighten up the script by leaving out the smaller clues. The outlined script will be three to seven pages long.

  3. 3

    Pick your key players. In order for your murder mystery to work correctly, you are going to have to share your script with a handful of players. This number will vary based on the number of characters playing. For example, a group of 20 would need six to eight key players. These players will become the primary suspect, victim(s), detective and killer. The rest of the guests have the role of trying to solve the case.

  4. 4

    Center the first set of clues on the key players. You will want to write the murder mystery clues for the key players in a way that takes the blame off of them for the sake of the game, but also gives clues to point to the killer.

  5. 5

    Develop the characters. In addition to the script, you need a cast of characters that you will match to your guests, choosing who will play which character. The clues for the cast of characters will be written to remove some of the guilt from the key players, but just enough to keep the story going. You do not want someone figuring out the answer five minutes after the game has started.

  6. 6

    Write some clues with more than one meaning to give characters a chance to second-guess things before coming to a conclusion. Giving each character a motive will keep the flow moving.

Tips and warnings

  • Print copies of the script. When guests start to arrive, give them note cards and a copy of the script. The note cards are for guests to write down notes and clues as the night goes on.

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