Release the Beauty

Jul 5, 2023 | 2023 Articles, Mysteryrat's Maze

by Barbara Howard

Have you ever had a flashback that immediately redirected your focus and shifted your energy in a good way? I recently had one of those. My writing instructor suggested that I take my favorite novel, flip it open to the center pages, and read the scene at the midpoint. He taught me that from those pages I could peek into the mind of the author and learn the most revealing components in the story because the action at the midpoint tells it all. Ask yourself a few basic questions, he said. What is the setting? How are the characters interacting? And what is at stake?

In my latest book, The Taste of Rain, the two leading characters are experiencing the allure of a butterfly release in a wildlife habitat. The connection between the writing process and the exquisite evolution of the butterfly drew in me. So I paused my work and started journaling.

Similar to how a butterfly transforms from a larva to its delicate form, the halfway point in a mystery novel marks a significant change that takes place inside the plot. It reveals a change in the story as fresh hints, disclosures, and plot twists take flight moving the inquiry ahead. Like a butterfly emerging from its cocoon, at this time in the narrative the suspense and tension are at their height, engrossing readers. The novel’s halfway point ushers in a transforming moment for both the storyline and characters, revealing a world of untold mysteries and heightening the reader’s anticipation of the big revelation.

Have you ever tried to predict the flight path of a butterfly? It’s like chasing a playful mystery through the air! Likewise, our favorite stories are full of surprises. Authors cleverly weave intricate paths of deception and planting clues and red herrings that keep us guessing until the very end. Just as a butterfly’s sudden appearance can startle and delight us, a well-crafted plot twist in a mystery can leave us breathless.

We can’t think about butterflies without imagining their exquisite beauty. With their vibrant colors, delicate patterns, and graceful movements, they are nature’s living masterpieces. In a parallel sense, mysteries that are crafted with care, using just the right words and storytelling techniques create vivid imagery, suspenseful atmospheres, and unforgettable characters. Both butterflies and well-written stories possess an inherent beauty that can captivate our senses.

Butterflies have a way of arousing our interest. They entice us to watch and investigate their enigmatic nature. Writing mysteries similarly revolves around keeping readers guessing. We are enthralled by them because of their puzzling storylines and surprising turns, just as how butterflies fly away and leave us wanting more. They subvert our expectations and take us down detours, keeping us on the edge of our seats and flipping pages with anticipation.

Think of the simple caterpillar crawling around the ground before undergoing an amazing change. Similar intriguing transformations occur throughout the composition of a mystery. It starts off as only a notion, a fleeting concept in the writer’s head. That concept develops into a fully realized tale that is prepared to take flight and enthrall readers after careful outlining and creative discovery.

Authors start with a seed of an idea and work to shape it with revision and brainstorming. Similar to how these puzzling tales reflect growth, change, and the unfolding of an epic journey, butterflies do, too. Both of them represent evolution, suspense, surprise, symbolism, and beauty. So, whether you’re watching a butterfly move gracefully through the air or getting lost in a page-turning mystery book, enjoy the surprise and excitement they both provide. Continue investigating the path and artistry of the natural world that surrounds you. And you might just discover the hidden clues that inspired your next favorite book.

Happy reading!

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Barbara Howard is a mystery author of over a dozen books, including the trilogy, Finding Home Mystery ystery Series; Final Harvest, Charlotte’s Revenge, and Milo’s Journey. She is a first generation tech geek turned master gardener. She returned to her Midwestern hometown after an extensive career as a Department of Defense Project Manager at the Pentagon and spends most of her time treasure hunting, spoiling her fur-babies, growing veggies, and plotting whodunits.

Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases. KRL also receives free copies of most of the books that it reviews, that are provided in exchange for an honest review of the book.


  1. What a beautiful comparison! I love plot twists and surprises in novels. And I love watching butterflies. Enjoyed your piece on both.

    • Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Lynn. I appreciate your comment. 🙂


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