When is the best place in a story to find the body? Why?

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This is bound to head in the direction of : "You must have the body in the first chapter."

There is no "must" about any part of the mystery -- except writing a good book.
i'm sure your right. but it seems to me when your brand new and unpublished you;ll try to be as sensational and attention grabbing as you can in order to get your first book publihed. make no mistake. i understand what you mean and I agree with you, but i;m a little too insecure to have too many scruples. i'm quite willing (honestly) to shed one or two convictions.
Car trunk.
Depends on the story, the characters, the setting, all of the above.
I agree with Ingirid. The body should be found in the first chapter.

Now, for the best place to murder someone...in the embalming room of a funeral home. It would be a nightmare to collect blood samples and other evidence from there. DNA would be mixed. What a mess for detectives.
Good one, Lee. And, it's a courteous way to kill someone, a sort of one-stop shopping homicide.
Sorry, Lee. That's not what I intended. All you really need is a humdinger of good first chapter that will make people want to go on. Some writers figure the easiest solution is the finding of a body.
On the embalming scene: This could narrow the number of suspects.
You're convincing me about the need for the body to show up near the beginning -- and Lee's set a scene that, as Joyce points out, we'll probably read about before too long in a Lofland novel.
I think it really depends on the type of story you're writing.

If it's a, and I hate to use the word but can't think of another, "traditional" mystery, where the body is the thing that sets off the story, then yes, I think it should be in the first chapter.

But if you're writing a detective story where the inciting event is the client walking into the PI's office, then it might not make sense.

I think the point is that you want to get into the story as quickly as possible. Does finding the body get things moving, or does something else do it? Once you know that, then you know where it goes.

And on another note, I'm with Dusty. Car trunks are a great place for a body. Especially after about a week in the desert.
The client walking into the detective's office is a bit formulaic. (Especially if it's a bosomy blonde).
In the wee hours of the morning. On the floor of the motel room just off the interstate, next to the strung-out hooker and the bloody canvass bag stuffed with hundred-dollar bills and a .45 automatic. With the police banging on the door and the main character having no idea of where he is or how he got there.

On page one.


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