John's Reviews > How to Write Killer Fiction: The Funhouse of Mystery & the Roller Coaster of Suspense

How to Write Killer Fiction by Carolyn Wheat
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's review
Jul 04, 08

bookshelves: writing, mystery, thriller
Read in April, 2006

I saw this book on the website of a local bookstore. I've been interested in learning more about the mystery and suspense forms for a while. The summary caught my eye, so I went down to the store and picked it up.

I found the prose direct and to the point. Wheat organized the book in a format that is easy to follow and brings the reader the sought after information rather rapidly. The book does not skimp on details though. She is thorough with providing examples, explanations and reviewing information to reinforce her point.

Wheat addresses the forms of mystery and suspense separately, dividing each into four arcs. Once she is through talking about the two genres, she talks about different writing styles: Outlines and Blank-Pagers. The strengths and weakness of each are discussed in detail. I found this section to be particularly enlightening, as I have tried both forms in my effort to find my own rhythm. Her insight hit home.

This is a great book to add to a writer's library. I would not limit it to mystery or suspense writers, but those who seek to understand these genres for their own enrichment. For me, the book was a good buy.
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