"Across the darkened basement something creaked, and I tightened my grip on the Colt Diamondback. I'm not usually timid, but my palm was sweaty. That worried me; if I had to shoot this thing, I didn't need it flailing around in my hand like the snake it was named for."
Tough spot. And you love it. You're a sleuth in your soul and a writer at heart. You can't resist the lure of the lurid, the thrill of the chase, the artful turn of a word, and the battle of wits in solving crimes of the imaginary kind. Still, as you know, mystery fiction is a species all its own, and writing it can be a special type of puzzle.
But this is a special book, a writer's conference of sorts. In this book, your partners in literary criminology are among today's top mystery authors. Through informal essays, they'll show you how the pieces fit. More than a score of writers are represented here:
- Warren Murphy and Molly Cochran reveal the perils and pleasures of collaboration
- Sara Paretsky - creator of the V.I. Warshawski series - comments on the promise and problems of inventing a recurring character;
- Tony Hillerman argues against plot outlines
- John Lutz writes of endings and suggests knowing where you're going before you set out.
With this book, you'll learn how to make your stories more taut, more real, more immediate, and more fraught with tension. "I heard the triple-click of a revolver's hammer being thumbed back. I fired. And a split-second of muzzle-flash illuminated what had first bothered me about the neon sign buzzing in the midnight fog." The solutions are up to you.
But now you're armed with all the clues you need to solve the mystery ... of how to write a mystery.