Tag: How to Write a Mystery

A reply to Aquinas wired about writer's block

A reply to Aquinas wired about writer's block
My esteemed colleague, Aquinas wired, posted earlier today on his excellent blog, The Quark In The Road, asking “How Do I Break a Writer’s Block?” Catch up with the post here. In the comments, I reminded him of Beatrix Potter’s experience with Peter Rabbit, which astute readers might remember from an earlier post. Aquinas’s reader... Read more »

How to Write a Mystery: the Imaginary Writers' Room weighs in

How to Write a Mystery: the Imaginary Writers' Room weighs in
(Editor’s note: What follows is a re-posting of the same thing posted on June 1, in order to repair format glitches which happened then.) “We haven’t heard much from Margaret for a while,” said Agatha Christie. “Have ye investigated, Dame Agatha?” said Robert Burns. “I’ve seen her sitting around with a red book,” said Daphne... Read more »

How to Write a Mystery: finding your voice

How to Write a Mystery: finding your voice
One of my favorite memories of growing up was finding a manuscript — specifically, seeing the manuscript of “Peter Rabbit” by Beatrix Potter. Now, of course that’s not a detective story, but it did involve finding the voice, the way to tell the story. Beatrix Potter didn’t know what to write to a young friend,... Read more »
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How to Write a Mystery (or Anything) with Style

How to Write a Mystery (or Anything) with Style
When you’re new to writing, you may think of “writing style” as something you see on the fashion pages or web sites. But style, when it comes to writing, is a way of using words. As a writer, you develop your own voice — and whether you’re writing about fictional characters or non-fictional ones, you... Read more »

How to Write a Mystery: My ideas on outlining (or not)

I have been enjoying reading, sometimes even studying, the essays in “How to Write a Mystery” which argue in favor and against the practice of outlining a novel before writing it. (Those against outlines are known in the writing community as “pantsers,” as in flying by the seat of your… .) I see advantages in... Read more »

Why go on writing about mystery-writing now?

Why go on writing about mystery-writing now?
The world is very different from the way it was just last week. The Russian invasion of Ukraine is being talked about as the largest military action in Europe since World War II. But my most recent post was part of my series on the book “How to Write a Mystery.” My next one will... Read more »
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How to Write a Mystery: Outline, No Outline, or What?

How to Write a Mystery: Outline, No Outline, or What?
When you’re ready to write something, whether it’s a blog post, a novel, or something in between, do you start with an outline? Or can you make a writing journey without a map, trusting your ability to get and idea and capture it? Or are you somewhere in between? That’s where I am, in between.... Read more »

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... Read more »

Where to Start -- or Should it be 'How to Write: a Mystery?'

Where to Start -- or Should it be 'How to Write: a Mystery?'
In “How to Write a Mystery: A Handbook from Mystery Writers of America” (New York: Scribner’s, 2021), noted members of the group have published essays about the craft and things that you might not realize are included in it. The table of contents provides categories for those who want to look for a particular facet:... Read more »
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A new series, 'How to Write a Mystery'

A new series, 'How to Write a Mystery'
In honor of the birthday of Edgar Allan Poe, Jan. 19, 1809, I am starting a new series today: How to Write a Mystery. Posts will be based on the 2021 book of that title, with the subtitle “A Handbook from Mystery Writers of America,” edited by Lee Child with Laurie R. King. From defining... Read more »