Inside The Cover
Review by Ellen Zuckerman
Mysteries, 2nd Ed.: A Handbook by the Mystery Writers of America
Edited by Sue Grafton, with Jan Burke and Barry Zeman
Writer's Digest Books
Amazon.com price: $11.89
"Writing a novel is a long distance run of the imagination...Writers
need all the help they can get, wherever they can get it..." (George C.
Chesbro, p. 91)
So you want to write a mystery? There are a few things you'll need for
your journey; among them a healthy dose of curiosity and imagination, but
nothing so important and helpful as a well-worn copy of Writing Mysteries
(2nd Ed.), written by the Mystery Writers of America. Everything you'll
need is here, organized into just under 300 pages of collective wisdom, from
well-known and not-so-well-known mystery authors.
The handbook is divided into three parts: Preparation, The Process, and
Specialties. Part I includes chapters on "The Rules and How to Bend
Them," how and where writers get their ideas, the pros and cons of writing
with a partner, and several chapters on research and background, all exploring
different facets of these subjects.
Part II, The Process, dives right in to beginnings, middles, and endings, with
specific sections focusing in-depth on characterization, creating a series
character, using point of view, and developing one's personal writing style.
Discussions on dialogue, pacing, and "clues, red herrings, and other plot
devices" lead into the beginning of the end--thoughts and recommendations
on plot, revision, agents, and markets.
Part III, Specialties, contains separate and thorough chapters each detailing a
particular type of mystery writing--writing short stories, for younger
audiences, true crime, e-book mysteries, and even a list of additional
recommended reading and references.
So there you have it-- everything you'll need to know to write a mystery-- from
the inkling of your first clue to the portrayal of the hero/sleuth your
audiences will clamor to read about again and again. The best of the best
are here-- Jonathan and Faye Kellerman, Tony Hillerman, Michael Connelly, Stuart
Kaminsky, Sara Paretsky, Joan Lowery Nixon, Lawrence Block, and a host of other
unique voices to guide the beginning mystery writer on the journey from idea to
publication. With humor and honesty, a varied assortment of very different
writers share their thoughts and even some of their "trade secrets" in
this excellent writer's resource. Every aspiring mystery writer should
have a copy of Writing Mysteries within arm's reach.
THE BOOK BY CLICKING HERE.
Ellen Zuckerman is a writer and former special education
teacher living in Denver, CO with her fiancé. By day she is a customer
support representative for MapQuest.com. Her recent writing credits include book
reviews for FictionAddiction.NET and AbsoluteWrite.com. She enjoys writing
about literature, education, disability advocacy and health issues and is
available for various writing projects. You can contact Ellen at Tangewystl1@aol.com.