Monday, March 02, 2009

Writing Mystery and Crime Fiction, edited by Sylvia K. Burack

(pb; 1985: non-fiction)

From the back cover:

"A practical guide for both beginning and professionals, Writing Mystery and Crime Fiction offers valuable advice from leading experts on the specialized technique of writing mystery fiction. Twenty-six successful crime and mystery writers discuss the basics of plotting, characterization, setting, pace, dialogue, and other essential elements of crime fiction.

"These best-selling authors describe tested procedures for writing and selling full-length novels and short mystery fiction, using examples from their own published works.

"All types of mystery writing are covered: police procedurals, suspense fiction, spy thrillers, modern psychology novels, inner-suspense stories, and true crime fiction -- by Catherine Aird, Jean L. Backus, Cecilia Bartholomew, Rex Burns, Max Byrd, Stanley Ellin, Loren D. Estleman, Rosemary Gatenby, Sue Grafton, Bill Granger, William Hallahan, Paul Henissart, Clark Howard, P.D. James, Peter Lovesey, Dan J. Marlowe, Patricia Moyes, Marcia Muller, Al Nussbaum, Lillian O'Donnell, Gerald Petievich, Richard Martin Stern, Mary Stewart, Dorothy Uhnak, Michael Underwood, and Phyllis A. Whitney.

" 'A Layman's Guide to Law and the Courts,' and ' Glossary of Legal Terms,' both prepared by the American Bar Association, and a selected list of important reference books round out this. . . handbook."

Review:

The back-cover blurb pretty much says anything I'd write about this indispensable-to-any-crime-thriller-writer how-to guide.

Easily one of the best genre-specific writing books I've read. All the essays were helpful to me, whether they shored up knowledge-experience I already possessed, or taught me something new. There's something here for any crime/thriller writer out there, if the reader in question isn't close-minded.

Own it, already!

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