Writing Mysteries: A Handbook by the Mystery Writers of America

Writing Mysteries: A Handbook by the Mystery Writers of America

by Sue Grafton

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Here's your ticket to the greatest mystery-writing workshop ever!

In this extraordinary compilation, more than three dozen members of the Mystery Writers of America share insights and advice that can help make your writing dreams a reality.

You'll learn how to:

  • Develop unique ideas
  • Construct an airtight plot packed with intrigue and suspense
  • Create compelling characters and atmospheric settings
  • Develop a writing style all your own
  • Write convincing dialogue
  • Choose the appropriate point of view
  • Work with an agent
  • Conduct accurate research
  • and much, much more!

You'll also find special guidelines for creating clues, dropping red herrings, and writing medical, legal, historical, true crime, and young adult mysteries. It's all the information you need to solve the mystery-writing riddle!

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781582976488
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 04/08/2002
Sold by: Penguin Group
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 256
Sales rank: 557,482
File size: 618 KB

About the Author

Internationally bestselling author Sue Grafton (1940-2017) is recognized as one of the best modern mystery writers for the Alphabet series starring the indomitable private detective Kinsey Millhone. Originally a screenwriter, Grafton launched the Alphabet series in 1982 with A is for Alibi and continued it through Y is for Yesterday published in 2017. Her books have been published in 28 countries and have appeared on bestseller lists around the world.


Montecito, California and Louisville, Kentucky

Date of Birth:

April 24, 1940

Place of Birth:

Louisville, Kentucky


B.A. in English, University of Louisville, 1961

Table of Contents

Part IPreparation
1.The Rules and How to Bend Them6
2.Sparks, Triggers, and Flashes13
3.On Work Schedules20
4.Writing With a Partner, or ... What Part of "No" Don't You Understand?26
5.Expertise and Research33
6.Where Do I Find a Jewish Indian? or How I Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love Research41
7.Background, Location, and Setting48
Part IIThe Process
The Beginning
9.Rounding Up Your Characters65
10.Writing a Series Character72
11.The Amateur Sleuth79
12.Vivid Villains86
13.In Search of a Novel91
14.Building Without Blueprints98
16.Perspectives on Point of View112
17.Dress for Success: Developing Your Personal Style121
The Middle
18.How to Write Convincing Dialogue129
19.Pacing and Suspense139
20.Depiction of Violence148
21.Clues, Red Herrings, and Other Plot Devices160
22.The Book Stops Here166
The End
23.In the Beginning Is the End173
25.How to Find and Work With an Agent190
26.Dial M for Market197
27.The Mystery Novel From an Editor's Point of View205
Part IIISpecialties
28.Writing Mysteries for Young Readers217
29.The Joys and Challenges of the Short Story224
30.The Medical Thriller233
31.Legal Thrillers240
32.Historical Mysteries: The Past Is a Foreign Country246
33.From the Cradle to the Pen: The Evolution of a True Crime Writer253
34.E-Media--Crime Fiction E-Volves262
35.The Best of the Genre and a Reference List of Books on Writing and Technical Information271
About the Contributors293

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Writing Mysteries: A Handbook by the Mystery Writers of America 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Lots of good technical and motivational advice on all aspects of writing a mystery from the 'Who's done it' of 'Whodunnits.' You can dip in and out of this book as each chapter is by a different mystery writer and stands alone. The book also contains a good resource --listings of reference books on writing and technical information recommended by these published authors. Also their picks for best in genre. Worthwhile.
RLCollins More than 1 year ago
If you are just getting started writing mysteries, this book is a great start. I read it in one sitting and filled the pages with highlighting and post it notes. I feel that I have a more realistic idea of what it takes to write a mystery that can get published. The chapters are written by published authors that use funny and witty voices.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I leave this book lying around and pick it up whenever I see it. Each time I get a new perspective on the craft. I have found it useful. And fun.
McGrewc on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Articles by mystery writers for mystery writers.
clothingoptional on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Great overall guide from the masters of mystery circa 1992. Some contributors have passed since this was released. Still a fantastic reference. Inspiring and insightful.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
When will the book starting with will be out.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great read with lots of useful tips.
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