How to Write a Mystery: Good Tips, Small Essays

The Mystery Writers of America handbook, “How to Write a Mystery,” contains essays from various writers — and of various lengths. Highlights of some short advice seem like good topics tonight.

Beth Amos contributed two sentences. The second one is “The pace of suspense should be a roller-coaster ride — first the build-up, then the exciting plunge, then another build-up.”

Linwood Barclay contributed three paragraphs. The last one describes his lack of belief in writer’s block. “I think it’s adorable that of all professions, we have an actual condition to justify not getting our work done,” he wrote. He then advocates going for a walk, cutting the grass, and otherwise clearing one’s head. “That’s often when the solution to our problem will come to us,” he added.

Bradley Harper wrote about the senses in writing, “One of my favorite words is ‘frisson,'” he wrote, “a sudden shiver of excitement. Provide an apt description of a light touch and your reader will lean into the book. They’re there.”

Filed under: Writing

Tags: How to Write a Mystery

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  • Excellent post! Much appreciate the advice, too. Thank you.

  • In reply to Weather Girl:

    You're welcome. The book has a good list of writers' bios if questions arise.

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