Tips . . .
This page contains tips, tools of the trade, caveats, real-life experiences, and other "secrets" known by successful mystery authors.
Inspiring quotes . . .
Writing is putting words on paper until the
voices in your head shut up.
Some sheets of paper donít really want anything
typed on them. Itís your job to get those papers out of your typewriter
Itís not the murder. Itís the waiting for
You can't wait for inspiration. You have to
go after it with a club.
The sign of a rookie is, "But so-and-so does
it this way." What matters is what you do.
What gets in my way when I'm writing? I think
the question really is, What doesn't?
I have to think about whether I want to spend
a year thinking about this [crime] or this kind of person.
Develop a ďshout line.Ē One sentence (66 syllables)
that tells what your book is about.
A cozy starts with the premise that the world
is a place of order, temporarily put out of order. It's up to the sleuth
to put it in order. Hard-boiled novels start with the premise that the
world is in chaos, and the sleuth is a loner on the mean streets.
Clues are physical evidence. Motive is not
Writing tips . . .
Open your desk drawer. If it's filled with
unfinished 50-page manuscripts, you need an outline.
Plot from the murderer's point of view and
write from the detective's point of view.
A good character has Humanity Humility Humor
Heroism Honor Honesty Heart (passion and energy) Horse-sense
Whoever has the most emotional involvement,
the most at stake in a scene, gets the point of view.
Give your reader time to sink into one personís
mind and experience whatís going on there, before you yank them out and
pull them into another mind.
Layers donít come from subplots, but from
additional problems in the protagonistís life.
Thanks to Sharon Wildwind for compiling the above quotes.