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The Elements Of Mystery Fiction: Writing A Modern Whodunit
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The Elements Of Mystery Fiction: Writing A Modern Whodunit

3.8  ·  Rating Details ·  109 Ratings  ·  10 Reviews
Prolific mystery writer and winner of the Scribner Crime Novel Award explores his craft in this practical handbook. Using examples from his own work and that of other celebrated mystery writers, the author discusses the planning and writing of successful mystery fiction.
Paperback
Published by Writer (first published May 1st 2004)
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Peggy
Aug 22, 2010 Peggy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
New Hampshire mystery writer and teacher, the late William Tapply offers a lot of good advice. Much of his advice I've already read in other places and pertains to any type of fiction writing. One comment he made really struck me. Before you can write the story of the detection of the crime, you first have the write the story of the murder.

The last eight chapters of the book were not written by Tapply, which kind of disappointed me. Each of those chapters is a separate essay by another author.
...more
Lauren
Dec 13, 2011 Lauren rated it liked it
Shelves: writing-books
A fairly good introduction to writing basic mystery fiction. My only two problems with it were the repeated (and annoying) use of the pronoun "she" to refer to the sleuth and "he" to refer to the villain (is the author saying women can't be villains?) and a few spots with bad language (mostly in the excerpts from published mystery books).

The section on collaborations was especially interesting.
Gwen Burrow
Aug 31, 2015 Gwen Burrow rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: writing
This offers okay, basic stuff on how to structure, write, and publish your novel (whether it's mystery or not), but it doesn't offer the best advice on any of those fronts. I've read better books singly devoted to plot, structure, prose, dialogue, and publishing/marketing. Given the title, the book should have offered more specific, step-by-step advice on how to execute a mystery--as in, here are classic ways to drop clues, stump your readers, disguise the ending, etc.
Soul Rhallin
Mar 02, 2013 Soul Rhallin rated it it was amazing
Simply put, this book has become one of my go-to resources for character and plot development in my stories.

The author has an affable and reasonable delivery. Common sense and practical application mark every page. The information is presented in a format that lends itself well to being read straight through, or piecemeal.

For anyone looking to create realistic mystery fiction, this is an exceptionally useful resource to have on hand.
Fredrick Danysh
An accomplished author, Tapply give tips on the writing process for modern mystery stories. Easy to read and a useful addition to the beginning writer's bookshelf. Many various topics are covered.
Judy Goodwin
May 01, 2013 Judy Goodwin rated it really liked it
Half the book is a little dated with the new eBooks and self-publishing phenomenon, but the first half was very helpful.
David Aultman
Feb 19, 2015 David Aultman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
William Tapply was one of my favorite outdoor writers. His book was very helpful and I used it quite a bit in writing my own book.
Kristin
Feb 19, 2016 Kristin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was very informative and gives some good advice for various types of mystery writing.
It does also allow for your own interpretation of what you want your writing to be.
Rusty
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Aug 12, 2012
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MJ
Jun 23, 2009 MJ rated it liked it
Read as part of my research for writing the Kidz RPG.
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William G. Tapply (1940–2009) was an American author best known for writing legal thrillers. A lifelong New Englander, he graduated from Amherst and Harvard before going on to teach social studies at Lexington High School. He published his first novel, Death at Charity’s Point, in 1984. A story of death and betrayal among Boston Brahmins, it introduced crusading lawyer Brady Coyne, a fishing enthu ...more
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