How to Write a Damn Good Mystery: A Practical Step-by-Step Guide from Inspiration to Finished Manuscript

( 6 )

Overview

Edgar award nominee James N. Frey, author of the internationally best-selling books on the craft of writing, How to Write a Damn Good Novel, How to Write a Damn Good Novel II: Advanced Techniques, and The Key: How to Write Damn Good Fiction Using the Power of Myth, has now written what is certain to become the standard "how to" book for mystery writing, How to Write a Damn Good Mystery.

Frey urges writers to aim high-not to try to write a good-enough-to-get-published mystery, ...

See more details below
Hardcover (REV)
$19.25
BN.com price
(Save 22%)$24.99 List Price

Pick Up In Store

Reserve and pick up in 60 minutes at your local store

Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (19) from $2.65   
  • New (9) from $14.38   
  • Used (10) from $2.65   
How to Write a Damn Good Mystery: A Practical Step-by-Step Guide from Inspiration to Finished Manuscript

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK
  • NOOK HD/HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook - First Edition)
$11.99
BN.com price

Overview

Edgar award nominee James N. Frey, author of the internationally best-selling books on the craft of writing, How to Write a Damn Good Novel, How to Write a Damn Good Novel II: Advanced Techniques, and The Key: How to Write Damn Good Fiction Using the Power of Myth, has now written what is certain to become the standard "how to" book for mystery writing, How to Write a Damn Good Mystery.

Frey urges writers to aim high-not to try to write a good-enough-to-get-published mystery, but a damn good mystery. A damn good mystery is first a dramatic novel, Frey insists-a dramatic novel with living, breathing characters-and he shows his readers how to create a living, breathing, believable character who will be clever and resourceful, willful and resolute, and will be what Frey calls "the author of the plot behind the plot."

Frey then shows, in his well-known, entertaining, and accessible (and often humorous) style , how the characters-the entire ensemble, including the murderer, the detective, the authorities, the victims, the suspects, the witnesses and the bystanders-create a complete and coherent world.

Exploring both the on-stage action and the behind-the-scenes intrigue, Frey shows prospective writers how to build a fleshed-out, believable, and logical world. He shows them exactly which parts of that world show up in the pages of a damn good mystery-and which parts are held back just long enough to keep the reader guessing.

This is an indispensable step-by-step guide for anyone who's ever dreamed of writing a damn good mystery.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Confidently guides the novice through the crime-writing basics."

Publishers Weekly

 

"Eminently practical and rich in details. A must for budding crime-fiction authors."

Booklist

 

"Frey ... delivers a witty and entertaining writer's-conference-in-a-book."

Library Journal

Publishers Weekly
The same publisher also offers How to Write a Damn Good Mystery, by Edgar-nominee James N. Frey, who confidently guides the novice through the crime-writing basics. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Teacher, speaker, and author of several best-selling "damn good" books on fiction writing, Frey (The Long Way To Die) delivers a witty and entertaining writer's-conference-in-a-book, complete with sample characters, plot lines, and drama. Arguing that suspense and believable mystery are created through mythic imagery, meticulous character preparation, and organized story plots, Frey offers a step-by-step guide for aspiring authors on how to write the kind of mystery that will grab the attention of any reader. He proposes that careful consideration and development of pivotal characters can help writers avoid rewrites and tangents. Behind-the-scenes work sheets for character development will lead to an organized, thoughtful, and believable conclusion. Forthright about what makes mystery work, Frey succeeds in presenting a concrete pattern for plotting the story while transforming the process into more than a formulaic exercise. He concludes with a useful chapter on improving the craft, getting published, and finding an agent. Recommended for all public libraries.-Ann Schade, Powers Memorial Lib., Palmyra, WI Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312304461
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 2/28/2004
  • Edition description: REV
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 638,207
  • Product dimensions: 5.94 (w) x 8.55 (h) x 1.04 (d)

Meet the Author

James N. Frey is the author of internationally bestselling books on the craft of fiction writing, including How to Write a Damn Good Novel, How to Write a Damn Good Novel II: Advanced Techniques, and The Key: How to Write Damn Good Fiction Using the Power of Myth. He is also the author of nine novels, including the Edgar Award-nominated The Long Way to Die. He has taught at the University of California, Berkeley, Extension, the Squaw Valley Community of Writers, and the Oregon Writers' Colony, and he is a featured speaker at writers' conferences throughout the United States and Europe. Former students include recent Anthony award-nominees Betty Winkleman and Cara Black, and many best-selling authors including Marjorie Reynolds, Melba Beals, and April Sinclair.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Introduction: Why Every Mystery Writer in the World Should Read This Book
1 Why People Read Mysteries and Other Useful Stuff for Mystery Writers to Know 1
2 Ideas to Get You Started - The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly 14
3 The Plot Behind the Plot 25
4 Creating a Murderer 34
5 How to Become Intimate with a Murderer 43
6 The Hero/Detective 51
7 Creating a Damn Good Hero 65
8 The Other Characters: Some Mythic, Some Not and Mythic Motifs of Interest to Mystery Writers 79
9 All About Plotting, Stepsheets, Flowcharts, and That Kind of Stuff or How to Get the Hell Out of the Way and Let Your Characters Tell the Story 99
10 Designing the Plot for Fun and Profit 111
11 Plotting Theory 129
12 The Hero/Detective Gets to Work 144
13 How Our Hero/Detective Figures It All Out 165
14 All About Bringing Off a Gripping Climax and Other Good Stuff 175
15 Gotcha! Putting the Murderer in the Bag 183
16 Writing Damn Good Prose 189
17 The Fine Art of Writing the Mystery Scene 204
18 All About Viewpoints and Voices or Who's Telling This Damn Story Anyway - Me or Him? Him or Me? 225
19 Drafting, Rewriting, and Polishing Your Damn Good Mystery 239
20 The Killer Attitude or Getting an Agent, Dealing with Editors, Promotion, Book Signings, and Living the Writer's Life 255
Bibliography 269
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 6 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(3)

4 Star

(1)

3 Star

(2)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 30, 2007

    A Practical Guide

    I really liked this book. You read right along with the author as he creates a mystery novel, step by step. He teaches you how to create characters with depth by writing a detailed background and having your characters write a journal. He starts with the murderer, the plot behind the plot, then takes you on to your hero/detective and each of your other characters. You learn to write a plot by using a stepsheet. I especially found helpful the fact that you write a stepsheet for what the reader sees and what the reader does not see 'what is happening offstage'. You learn about the five act design in which a mystery novel is divided. The author then gives helpful pointers in writing good prose, writing the mystery scene, choosing viewpoint, the final steps in rewriting, and then some words on marketing your novel. I found this book enjoyable to read and very helpful in writing a mystery or any novel. It's one of the best 'How to Write' books I've read because it's so practical in how it teaches you to write a mystery novel. It would be a great resource in any writer's library.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 4, 2007

    A reviewer

    This is the book that has me fired up. Out of 300 like books this one is outstanding! Read it and write!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 27, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 15, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 31, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 15, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)