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Don't Murder Your Mystery: 24 Fiction-Writing Techniques to Save Your Manuscript from Turning Up D.O.A.

4.21  ·  Rating Details  ·  112 Ratings  ·  16 Reviews
-Winner of the Agatha Award for Best Nonfiction Book
-Finalist for the Anthony and the Macavity awards
Paperback, 293 pages
Published April 1st 2006 by Bella Rosa Books
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Jun 10, 2012 Ethan rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
This is a great book for would-be writers of any genre, though Roerden focuses on mysteries in particular. Roerden has been an editor for some three decades (or something like that) and it shows. The tone is light and lively, and the examples of good and bad writing are excellent. It's a great reference, and highlights a lot of cringeworthy writing habits.

Something to note: this may not be the best book for someone with an unfinished draft. The advice is meant for those who are in the middle of
Pamela Cable
May 19, 2012 Pamela Cable rated it it was amazing
Although I love the way Chris Roerden has written this book, her tips, clues, and examples are not just for the Mystery writer. Every writer will benefit from her years of expertise. When I study the craft, I don't want to spend hours trying to figure out what the book is really trying to say. Roerden's book is easy to understand and grasp. You can skip around. She talks about aspects of writing that not all books on writing discuss. I suppose it's her experience showing again. I have marked up, ...more
Richard Risch
Mar 24, 2011 Richard Risch rated it it was amazing
There are books that are pure trash (see my review on "Crush It"), and then there are books that are pure gold. "Don't Murder Your Mystery" is pure gold! What this book is about and very well demonstrates is how to vastly improve your fictional writing skills. For both the novice wanna-be writer as well-recognized and published author, it will improve and enhance your manuscript. This book reaps my highest accolades with clean-cut examples of both bad and good writing techniques along with detai ...more
Gale Borger
Nov 08, 2011 Gale Borger rated it it was amazing
Nice job, Chris! Anyone who says you can't learn new tricks, or be reminded about what's really important about writing had better get new reading glasses because they missed the point of this book.

Though geared toward the mystery genre, good writing is good writing, and Roerden speaks to everyone in this book.
Aug 25, 2013 Felicia rated it it was amazing
This is a very well put together guide for writing mysteries. It has a lot of good information that would be applicable to any fiction writing. I found the quotes and literary references from other mystery writers to be very helpful - plus it gave me a bunch of new authors to explore.
May 27, 2012 Nina rated it it was amazing
Some really good writing advice from a seasoned editor. Don't let the "mystery" part scare you off if you're writing in a different genre, most of the techniques apply to any kind of fiction writing.

Most helpful if you've finished your manuscript and start self-editing.

Oct 05, 2008 Kathryn rated it liked it
Recommends it for: all mystery writers
This is quickly becoming a bible of do's and don'ts for the mystery writer. The dreaded "information dump"--egad!--of which I am often guilty of writing. I'm reading this book and going back through my manuscript and stomping out all of (well, most of) the offending sections!
May 17, 2012 Catherine rated it it was amazing
I checked this out from the library twice before deciding I will need a copy on my bookshelf. The short chapters give you rapid-fire advice with plenty of examples. This is the sort of how-to-write book you can go back to again and again.
Jordan McCollum
Feb 01, 2010 Jordan McCollum rated it really liked it
Shelves: writing-craft, 2010
Obviously some of these issues are a little basic, and none of them are handled extensively, great treatment of 24 classic problems even experienced writers can have--and some unique solutions that really work.
Jul 28, 2009 Tom rated it liked it
This "how-to" book is designed for mystery writers and wannabes, but contains useful information for any writer of fiction.
Sep 27, 2011 Gigi rated it it was amazing
Shelves: writing-craft
Rereading this very helpful editing book. This is the book that helped me move from the passive to the active voice.
Aug 18, 2015 Amy rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
The first 3/4 of this book was interesting and then it bogged down. It read a bit like a spiced up textbook.
Mar 27, 2010 Marva rated it really liked it
Good guide to any fiction writing with a couple of things more useful to the mystery writer.
Oct 05, 2012 Bobbi rated it it was amazing
Shelves: on-writing
This is a great book. I'll add more to the review during daylight hours.
Diane Lewis
Feb 06, 2012 Diane Lewis rated it really liked it
This is an excellent resource for a beginning fiction writer.
Kym McNabney
Oct 15, 2012 Kym McNabney rated it really liked it
Good read, packed with information for new writers.
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Insider information from Agatha Award-winning author and book editor Chris Roerden (44 years in publishing) about getting your manuscript past the important gatekeepers. Chris is also a former university instructor of writing (U of So. Maine, U of Wisc-Milwaukee), past president of a trade association of 250 commercial and university presses, and editor for authors published by St. Martin's Press, ...more
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