Guide to Writing the Mystery Novel: Lots of Examples, Plus Dead BodiesGuide to Writing the Mystery Novel | Reviews
Guide to Writing the Mystery Novel: Lots of Examples, Plus Dead Bodies consists of twenty-five chapters which can be read as stand-alone information accessed in any order, or which can be read as I wrote them, from first to last, recreating my thinking as I plot and write a mystery novel. For ease of recall and cross-referencing, the book also contains an index.
The twenty-five chapters are:
- Plot, Character, and Setting
- Naming Your Characters
- Developing Major Characters — Motivation
- Minor Characters
- Character Tags
- Setting, Including Scene of the Crime
- Point of View
- Summary, Scene, and Conflict
- Plot Complications
- Casting Suspicion
- Planting Clues
- Disguising of Motive, Means, and Opportunity
- Rising Action, Pace, and Pacing
- Exposition and Beginnings
- When to Introduce the Villain
- Solution and Denouement
- Writing Well
If you're thinking of writing a mystery novel, Guide to Writing the Mystery Novel is the kind of book you would want to consult. And if you've already written a mystery novel or two, Guide may very well give you new ideas for your next one. Available for purchase as a softcover or an ebook.
To read a sample chapter from Guide to Writing the Mystery Novel, click to read Chapter 9: Summary, Scene, and Conflict.
Guide to Writing the Mystery Novel: Lots of Examples, Plus Dead Bodies springs directly out of my life's experience as an avid mystery reader and as a writer and teacher. Ever since my eleventh birthday, when my mother gave me a collection of Sherlock Holmes stories, I have been addicted to reading mysteries. I've written two adult mysteries and am working on a third, and I'm the ghostwriter of four Boxcar Children mysteries. And when I teach writing, I find that from one-fourth to one-third of the students are working on mystery novels.
One day when I was between books, my reading experience, my writing experience, and my teaching experience teamed up and knocked on my creative consciousness. Loudly. Persistently. The only way to satisfy them was to write this book. And the only way to write the book was to address the questions that I encounter when I read mysteries and when I write them. Questions such as: Is the villain one of the major characters, or is he one of the minor characters? How can I cast suspicion on innocent characters while at the same time planting subtle clues about the villain? Is there enough rising action in my novel, particularly in the middle? Have I used enough foreshadowing? If so, was I too heavy-handed with it?
In Guide to Writing the Mystery Novel, I've answered these questions to my satisfaction. And, I hope, to reader satisfaction. — Bg