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Posted December 5, 2003
Carolyn Wheat, an accomplished mystery author, has written one of the best books about genre writing that I have ever read. Using compelling examples, she provides a clear and concise overview of the elements of effective mystery and suspense. After giving valuable information about the history of the two related genres, she devotes special attention to each and shows where and how they overlap. In addition to a strong focus upon the structure of the work, she addresses beginnings and middles, the arc of the story, genre formats, and scene and style. She gives special emphasis to effective endings for both suspense novels and mysteries. Wheat covers all the bases and takes it one step further by discussing writing process, the difference between ¿Outliners¿ and ¿Blank Pagers,¿ and what to do when the piece is finished. Her three page summary of ¿The Writing Process: Tools to Help You Finish¿ is worth the price of the book. Also provided is a bibliography of useful books to learn theory, for research, or to find good examples to emulate. HOW TO WRITE KILLER FICTION is an excellent reference and how-to book. All writers who wish to infuse mystery, suspense, or simply a tighter, punchier style to their writing should get this book. ~Lori L. Lake, Reviewer for Midwest Book Review, www.TheGayRead.com, The Independent Gay Writer, and www.JustAboutWrite.com
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Posted May 16, 2012
How To Write Killer Fiction by Carolynn Wheat is an excellent introduction to writing mystery and suspense novels. I was only vaguely aware that mystery and suspense could be two distinctive types of works though closely related. In a mystery, whatever kind, there is a puzzle for the hero to solve. In a suspense, it is a "nightmare" for the hero to survive and come out a changed person. There have been a few books that merged both types, but for the most part they stay separate. Wheat is very readable, clear and entertaining as she talks you through what makes a mystery a mystery and suspense a suspense. The only thing I was lost on was arcs. But this was not a book about the technical parts of writing like arcs and characterizations and themes. This book teaches the parts of the journey that a mystery/suspense hero makes and how to keep your readers interested and guessing how the hero will solve the crime and/or make it to the end. I highly recommend this to any fiction writer. It has a lot of good advice that crosses genre lines. I borrowed this book from the library. I've had it for like 2 months. I'm going to go buy my own copy. This is a great writing tool!
Reviewed by Cherese Vines
Posted January 9, 2010
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