So far it’s the series of short eBooks on “Writing Your First Mystery.” These five eBook primers on the architecture of the mystery novel are close to the best thing I’ve written.
Partly because they seem to reach out to the solitary writers out there, maybe a beginner, who has a burning idea that tantalizes, and they don’t know what to do with it. Writing a novel, a whole novel from beginning to end, seems unimaginable. Were you not there once, my friends who have some novels to claim?
Amazingly, new writers email me with thanks sometimes, with questions other times. It’s a pleasure to respond, and keep in touch with them. I recognize the aloneness they feel with an idea burning bright and nobody to talk it over with. I live in a village with many writers, but none of them write crime fiction. While many of our writing issues cross over, problems like tight crime scene plotting don’t. Our reference points are different.
My heart and soul went into “Writing Your First Mystery”, then “Plotting …” then “Creating Killer Characters”, then “Editing …” then “Finishing Your First Mystery.” Everything I knew, the mistakes I’d made, and the lessons I’ve learned along the way went into them. It’s me, distilled down to the essence.
Recently “Editing Your First Mystery” was published.
Do I feel this series is the definitive statement on writing crime fiction in our times? No, of course not. But they are mine. In these eBooks I spoke directly to the new writer captivated by an idea. I wrote about fear, doubt, and persistence. I insisted that mystery writers had to be readers across a wide range of our genre. I collapsed the plot issues of a crime fiction novel and dealt with the problems we all grapple with: who’s the detective, who’s the victim, who are the red herrings? What’s the inciting event and the thrilling chase scene that may be the second last chapter?
This series on the fundamentals of crime fiction writing allowed me to speak in my own voice. I could disagree with some current “rules” of crime fiction, and espouse others. I encourage new writers to listen to their own voices and avoid current “fashions” in crime fiction. I don’t think that established writers with the loudest voices are always right. We may have seen the lesson in the last Presidential election about the consequences of group think.
Maybe there is a place for adverbs and dialogue tags. Time will tell.
They are available separately or bundled together at https://www.amazon.com/Writing-Your-First-Mystery-Boxed-ebook/dp/B01IADAP6C