Mystery Writers of America (MWA) is known for providing unparalleled resources on the craft, art, and business of storytelling, helping writers of all levels improve their skills for nearly a century. Now, this new handbook helps authors navigate the ever-shifting publishing landscape—from pacing, plotting, the business side of publishing, to the current demand for diversity and inclusivity across all genres, and more.
Featuring essays by a new generation of bestselling experts on various elements of the craft and shorter pieces of crowd-sourced wisdom from the MWA membership as a whole, the topics covered can be categorized as follows:
—Before Writing (rules; genres; setting; character; research; etc.)
—While Writing (outlining; the plot; dialogue; mood; etc.)
—After Writing (agents; editors; self-pub; etc.)
—Other than Novels (short stories; true crime; etc.)
—Other Considerations (diverse characters; legal questions; criticism)
Also included is a collection of essays from MWA published authors—including Jeffery Deaver, Tess Gerritsen, and Charlaine Harris—selected by bestselling authors Lee Child and Laurie King and arranged thematically answering, “What piece of writing advice do you wish you’d had at the beginning of your career?”
Highly anticipated and incredibly useful, this new and trusted guide from MWA’s experts provides practical, current, easily digestible advice for new and established authors alike.
|Product dimensions:||6.10(w) x 8.80(h) x 1.30(d)|
About the Author
Table of Contents
Introduction Lee Child 1
The Rules and Genres
The Rules-and When to Break Them Neil Nyren 5
Carved in stone or gentle suggestions: what are the rules in the mystery genre, why do they matter, and when don't they matter?
Carolyn Hart 12
Keeping It Thrilling Meg Gardiner 13
Nine things your thriller needs to be lean, mean, and exhilarating.
Beth Amos 22
Insider, Outsider: The Amateur Sleuth Naomi Hirahara 23
The point, and point of view, of your accidental detective.
Lindsey Davis 33
Finding Lou: The Police Procedural Rachel Howzell Hall 34
Are you a cop, or do you just play one on the page?
Linwood Barclay 39
The Mindset of Darkness: Writing Noir Alex Segura 40
It's about character: the flawed protagonist and letting your characters fail.
Hank Phillippi Ryan 46
Crossing the Genres Charlaine Harris 48
Mixing your mystery with a vampire, a talking cow, or a love interest?
Kate White 51
The Historical Mystery Jacqueline Winspear 52
Time, place, and the past.
Suzanne Chazin 58
The Medical Thriller Tess Gerritsen 59
Playing on the reader's real-life fears and hunger for insider knowledge.
Gigi Pandian 66
Researching the Spy Thriller Gayle Lynds 67
Or: Why can't I just make it all up?
Stephanie Kane 75
Mysteries for Children: An Introduction Susan Vaught 79
The kids' mystery, from picture books to YA-expectations and some hints.
C. M. Surrisi 83
Unleash Your Inner Child Chris Grabenstein 84
Middle-grade mysteries: you, too, can become a rock star for ten-year-olds.
Elizabeth Sims 91
The Young Adult Mystery Kelley Armstrong 92
Complex, authentic stories for the young adult-emphasis on adult.
Pat Gallant Weich 101
Graphic Novels Dale W. Berry Gary Phillips 103
The mystery within the panels: your conversation with words and pictures.
Dag Öhrlund 113
The Short Mystery Art Taylor 114
What do the characters (and readers) want in your mystery short story?
Charles Salzberg 121
Ten Stupid Questions about True Crime Daniel Stashower 122
Building a vivid page-turner, out of nothing but facts.
Carole Buggé 129
On Style Lyndsay Faye 133
The writer's voice, or, cooking with cadence, rhythm, and audacity.
Steve Hockensmith 142
Always Outline! Jeffery Deaver 143
The why and the how of planning it out first.
Rob Hart 150
Hallie Ephron 151
Never Outline! Lee Child 152
The argument for spontaneity.
Shelly Frome 156
The Art of the Rewrite Laurie R. King 157
Turning your raw first draft into a clear, compelling story.
Rae Franklin James 164
Leslie Budewitz 165
Plot and the Bones of a Mystery Deborah Crombie 166
Bringing together all the elements of your novel so it stands strong.
Tim Maleeny 172
Robert Lopresti 173
Diversity in Crime Fiction Frankie Y. Bailey 174
Enriching your novel by writing characters, not categories.
Elaine Viets 183
The Protagonist Allison Brennan 184
Your hero: the one we relate to, the one who drives the story.
Stephanie Kay Bendel 191
The Villain of the Piece T. Jefferson Parker 192
Your hero in reverse: the forces that create a vivid villain.
Kris Neri 198
Supporting Characters Craig Johnson 199
The chorus of voices that backs up your protagonist.
Gay Toltl Kinman 204
Writing the Talk Greg Herren 205
Dialogue that sounds true, reveals character, and draws in the reader.
Bradley Harper 212
Stephen Ross 213
Setting William Kent Krueger 214
Your most versatile element: backdrop, player, and the all-pervading sense of place.
Thomas B. Sawyer 222
Humor in Crime Fiction Catriona McPherson 223
Funny mystery, or mystery with fun: why, how, and when to stop?
James W. Ziskin 231
Writing in Partnership Caroline Charles Todd 232
Two writers with one voice: how we learned to collaborate.
Bradley Harper 237
Tie-Ins and Continuing a Character Max Allan Collins 238
Playing in someone else's sandbox.
Hal Bodner 245
After the Writing
Secrets of a Book Critic Oline H. Cogdill 249
Reviews and reviewers: what to learn from them, and what to ignore.
Marilyn Stasio 257
Self-Publishing Liliana Hart 258
How to flourish as an independently published writer.
Nancy J. Cohen 266
Authors Online Maddee James 267
Building your author identity and reaching out to readers, online.
Mysti Berry 275
Building Your Community Louise Penny 276
It's the writer, not the book: finding a home in the virtual village.
Bev Vincent 284
Legal Considerations Daniel Steven 285
What every mystery writer needs to know about publishing law.
About the Contributors 291
Contributor Permissions 309