Father John and son Andrew–both authors and teachers of crime fiction–offer a brief, well-outlined guide for budding mystery writers.
With focused chapters devoted to specific topics–â€œCreating Suspense and Action,” â€œThe Story & The Hook,” â€œVoice, Voice, Voice,” etc.–the authors encourage aspiring mystery writers to organize their thoughts in a logical, systematic way. They begin by explaining the differences between mystery and suspense, and move on to pacing and title selection. They provide definitions for various writing terms–many of which are often used but rarely understood–and emphasize the importance of combining personal experience with information provided by outside sources, especially members of the law-enforcement community. The crux of this resourceful guide, however, is in the fundamentals–plot structuring, character and thematic development, narrative hooks, symbolism, strategic placement of clues, red herrings, etc. Some of the most informative advice lies not in the body of the text, but in the concluding materials–specifically, Andrew’s interviews with such big-name authors as William Tapply, Robert Parker, Margaret McLean and Rex Stout. The question-and-answer format provides insight into the minds of the authors, highlighting the decisions they made in their own novels.
Simple and straightforward–the nuts and bolts of writing mysteries.