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Writing and Selling Your Mystery Novel: The Complete Guide to Mystery, Suspense, and Crime

4.38  ·  Rating details ·  114 ratings  ·  17 reviews
A Mystery Writers of America Edgar Award Finalist for Best Critical/Biographical Work

Discover the secrets to crafting an unforgettable mystery!

To piece together the puzzle of your mystery novel, you need patience, resilience, a solid understanding of the craft, and a clear blueprint for combining the plot, characters, setting, and more. And while patience and resilience mu
Paperback, 298 pages
Published January 13th 2017 by Writer's Digest Books
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Average rating 4.38  · 
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Wendy Bunnell
May 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
I've read quite a few books about the craft of writing novels, and this is one of the best I've read. The author hits all of the genre expectations for mystery, including tidbits about subgenres, and gives readers helpful worksheets to brainstorm their own WIPs.

In the ebook version, the worksheets were links to a website. When I first purchased the ebook, the links weren't working. I sent an email to the publisher and got nowhere, but then I emailed the author through her website. She got them
Traci Andrighetti
Jul 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The best book on writing a mystery I've ever read. So thorough! ...more
Heather Myers
Feb 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent resource

As an author switching over to the mystery genre, this book really helped me understand the nuances that go into writing a good mystery novel. Thanks for sharing!
Craig Kingsman
Aug 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
As a new mystery author, I've read several books about "how to write". This is by far the best one one I've found. The advice is solid and to the point. There are several worksheets and exercises to help you get the best from every chapter. Before I even finished, I was recommending this book to other writers. It's one that I'll keep near my writing desk and refer to often as I continue forward with my first novel. ...more
S James Bysouth
Sep 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: writing, non-fiction
Pleasant, Not Mind-Blowing Read

I was interested in the mystery genre, but this book is full of advice for any genre. Everything here is good. Maybe great. For me, I didnt have any real lightbulb moments. But that could just be because my knowledge of writing tools and techniques has grown beyond what this book could offer me. I found myself agreeing with everything written, saying “Yes, exactly.” but never found myself saying “Oh wow, I didnt know that!” Without any profound realisations strikin
Aug 27, 2018 rated it liked it
I was worried this might be a bit Billy Basic, but although it's relatively short, it's extremely comprehensive. I got a lot out of it and plan to immediately re-read it in order to take notes.

There's a lot packed in here, but there are parts where the author namechecks an element of writing and doesn't elaborate, which is frustrating. I suggest viewing this as purely a book on the crime genre, and checking out other books for tips on general writing (Self Editing for Fiction Writers is my forev
K. Counihan
Jan 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Best Book For New Writers

No B.S. Just a step by step (in plain English) instructional book. Takes the writer from start to finish. Easy to read and understand. Free with the book, go to links to download and print actual forms you can use. The forms help you develop your story, plot, characters, structure, etc. The last part of book keeps you safe. It shows you how not to trust people you don't know. It gives information that is helpful. The right trust worthy organizations to contact for he
Kait Carson
Oct 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
It's hard to mark this book as read since I refer to it constantly. This is my second Writing and Selling Your Mystery Novel. I own this one in two formats, Kindle, and trade. I bought the first one in paper many years ago and literally wore it out.

I've written five books, and I've used this book (in one of its incarnations) in whole or in part to write each of them. It's never failed me.

A book for every writer's bookshelf.
Jan 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Incredibly useful book. I purchased the online and print version because which was helpful in my case. You can read this book from start to finish to get an overview and then go back and use it to guide you through your draft. It is rich with examples. I'm sure I'll be using it for the writing months I have ahead of me! ...more
Jan 11, 2021 rated it liked it
I was really disappointed in this because I was expecting a lot more about the specifics of writing mysteries. Instead, most of the book felt like very basic fiction writing advice. And the chapters focused on the specifics for mysteries are really obvious if you read plenty of mystery novels. Meh.
Oct 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: writing-advice
I’ve read a lot of craft books and this ranks as one of the best. Not just because I’m writing a new genre, but because it really gave me different avenues to use while creating characters. Well worth it even if you don’t write mysteries.
Shannon Hollinger
Aug 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Pleasantly surprised! This book contains plenty of great information and useful resources, yet is completely reader friendly! Not at all 'text book like'. ...more
Lori Puma
Dec 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Awesome reading list and really helpful lists like: how to make innocent characters look guilty, how villains might justify a crime, and ways to twist the plot.
Feb 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Such a great book to learn from with examples and charts and tables
A.J. Desai
Oct 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book really helped me with developing my new mystery series. It asked you questions about your characters and plot that you'd never think of. Loved it ...more
Dec 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A fantastic how to guide!!!!! Wonderful read and the ability to download the charts and maps were really helpful, especially if you are like me and do not want to mark up the book!
Jun 18, 2018 rated it it was ok
It was not what I expected, but that is not the book's fault.
I thought it remained on the surface, without going as deep into character or plot as other books on writing I have read.
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Her (August 2019) Careful What You Wish For tells the story of a professional organizer married to man who can't pass a yard sale without stopping. In this respect, Hallie is writing from personal experience. Her husband is a champion ya

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