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Mystery Writing Resources

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I'm so excited to see this topic! I love mysteries of all kinds and I'm currently planning a YA mystery. I thought it would be interesting if we listed our favourite mystery writing resources to form a bit of a database.

I'm currently re-reading "Writing and Selling Your Mystery Novel" by Hallie Ephron, which goes through the steps of planning, writing and revising a mystery. I love how many examples it has (from adult fiction) and the planning section where you fill in notes about your own manuscript.

I'd love to know what resources you use while planning or writing your mystery stories!
#1 - March 04, 2014, 05:22 PM

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Great idea! A listing of how to books and web resources would be amazing!  :detective:

And I'm going to use my awesome board powers *mwa hahaha* to make this sticky!

(Might also have to campaign for a few more mystery smileys, maybe a magniying glass, a red herring, or a cadaver? Maybe not the last one...)
#2 - March 04, 2014, 05:44 PM
THIS LITTLE PIGGY (AN OWNER'S MANUAL), Aladdin PIX June 2017 :pigsnort
KUNG POW CHICKEN 1-4, Scholastic 2014 :chicken

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I suppose this could be the cadaver ---> :zombie or this ---> :faint
#3 - March 04, 2014, 05:56 PM
KISS ME KILL YOU (Entangled Crave, June 12, 2017)
@lchardesty all over the internet

I actually have links to my favorite mystery writing resources on my website.

http://kimberlyggiarratano.com/for-writers/

Here they are...

RESOURCES FOR WRITING MYSTERIES, CRIME FICTION, & SUSPENSE
 

Crime and Science Radio (Podcasts hosted by DP Lyle, MD and Jan Burke about the real science of crime. A great resource for mystery/suspense writers looking for authenticity. Also, check out the LINKS page. It has additional resources for help with forensics, medicine and science.)
Crime Scene Writer (A yahoo group for writers to ask questions regarding crime and crime scene investigation that are answered by professionals who work in forensics and medicine. To subscribe, send an email to crimescenewriter-subscribe@yahoogroups.com)
(book) Don?t Murder Your Mystery by Chris Roerden
(book) How to Write Killer Historical Mysteries by Kathy Lynn Emerson
Mystery Scene Magazine (This magazine is the oldest and most comprehensive guide to the crime fiction genre.)
Mystery Writing is Murder (Mystery Writer Elizabeth Spann Craig?s awesome blog about writing.)
Taking the Mystery Out of Writing Mysteries (An article about exploring the mystery of character.)
Write Crime Right (This blog is written by Wesley Harris, a consultant for writers who works in law enforcement.)
#4 - March 04, 2014, 07:31 PM
www.kimberlyggiarratano.com
Author of YA novel, Grunge Gods and Graveyards (Red Adept Publishing, 2014)

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Awesome! Thanks for sharing that!
#5 - March 04, 2014, 08:07 PM
THIS LITTLE PIGGY (AN OWNER'S MANUAL), Aladdin PIX June 2017 :pigsnort
KUNG POW CHICKEN 1-4, Scholastic 2014 :chicken

http://cyndimarko.com
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This is an excellent thread. Thanks for starting it, Beth!
#6 - March 05, 2014, 06:36 AM
Adventures of Jenna V. Series
Caroline Grade Mysteries
The Journey of Emilie
Anne Bradstreet: America's Puritan Poet
www.marciahoehne.com

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Oh, thanks, Arty! Personally I've always found these little guys mysterious:  :trench :trenchguy

And thanks for your list, Kimberly! I've checked a few of the resources out and they are excellent!
#7 - March 05, 2014, 12:02 PM

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This is a great idea for a thread. I wish I had a link to offer. Thanks, Kimberly, for all your leads.
#8 - March 05, 2014, 12:32 PM

Great resources and blog, Kimberly! And thank you, Beth for starting this thread.


This could distract me for hours!  :bananakilt
#9 - March 05, 2014, 03:29 PM
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Great thread   

And Beth --  that's the book I was going to suggest --
 Writing and Selling Your Mystery Novel: How to Knock ‘Em Dead with Style by Hallie Ephron
#10 - March 06, 2014, 05:03 AM

My personal favorite is The Weekend Novelist Writes a Mystery by Robert Ray and Jack Remick.
I like how it has you work on the characters and their motives first before you work on plot.
I will have to check out the one by Ephron though!
#11 - March 06, 2014, 07:10 PM
twitter.com/enzor_jenni
jennienzor.blogspot.com

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This is such a great post! I've started a huge list of resources to check out! Thanks everyone! I don't have a lot to add. My greatest resource lately has been going back to read through the classics. I'm working my way through the Miss Marple series right now.
#12 - March 07, 2014, 09:07 PM
HOWARD WALLACE, P.I. (Sterling, September 2016)
HOWARD WALLACE, P.I. - SHADOW OF A PUG (Sterling, Fall 2017)

http://www.caseylyall.com

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Ooooh, thanks for the recs, everyone. I'll have to keep checking back in here. I'm so excited about the mystery genre board! (thanks, Verla!)
#13 - March 08, 2014, 01:02 AM
http://sarahepsteinbooks.com/
https://twitter.com/SarahLEpstein

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Ooo! Following. (Thanks for starting this thread, Beth!)
#14 - March 08, 2014, 05:03 AM

I don't know that they're the sort of resources you mean, but I thought I'd add:


http://thrillerwriters.org


http://www.sistersincrime.org


I'm attending the ITW conference this summer so I can sit in on panels & absorb info on the genre.
#15 - March 08, 2014, 08:26 AM

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Those are great, Melissa, thanks!
#16 - March 08, 2014, 11:15 AM
THIS LITTLE PIGGY (AN OWNER'S MANUAL), Aladdin PIX June 2017 :pigsnort
KUNG POW CHICKEN 1-4, Scholastic 2014 :chicken

http://cyndimarko.com
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Thanks for these great resources, everyone!   :detective:
#17 - March 23, 2014, 10:27 AM
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If you are writing a middle-grade (young adult or picture book, too), I've found Kristi Holl's ebook, "Writing Mysteries for Young People," very helpful. So many books are geared to writing for adults--I'm not murdering anyone in my stories. The essentials of mystery are still here, but the examples are from children's literature.
#18 - March 27, 2015, 08:57 PM

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Thanks, Michele. This looks like a good source to check out.  :studia
#19 - March 28, 2015, 09:21 AM

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Great resources!  :trench
#20 - March 28, 2015, 11:13 AM

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My "To Buy" list is getting longer and longer. I need finances to catch up.
#21 - March 28, 2015, 12:23 PM

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While not straight mystery writer per se, I like Elizabeth George's book Write Away. She's got lots of tips for hiding clues and building suspense.
#22 - March 28, 2015, 12:55 PM

Great thread! Kimberlygg mentioned Elizabeth S Craig, and I wanted to add that she's a good person to follow on twitter -- she frequently posts links to excellent blog posts about mysteries and writing in general.
#23 - March 29, 2015, 04:26 PM


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Back when I was working on a mystery, I found membership in the Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime very helpful. Great materials, conferences, etc. ... a nice complement to SCBWI for the mystery piece.
#26 - May 30, 2015, 04:50 AM
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 :trench Currently reading "Don't Murder Your Mystery: 24 Fiction-Writing Techniques to Save Your Manuscript From Turning Up D.O.A."  by Chris Roerden.
Lots of useful info/editing tips. It's an enjoyable read, too. Got my copy on Amazon.
#27 - May 30, 2015, 04:54 AM

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If you are writing a middle-grade (young adult or picture book, too), I've found Kristi Holl's ebook, "Writing Mysteries for Young People," very helpful. So many books are geared to writing for adults--I'm not murdering anyone in my stories. The essentials of mystery are still here, but the examples are from children's literature.

This sounded like a great book, so I went looking for it. I found lots of mysteries written by Kristi Holl, but the only "Writing Mysteries for Young People" I found was written by Joan Lowery Nixon. Is that the book you meant? Even if it isn't, it looked good, so I ordered it. :)
#28 - May 30, 2015, 11:54 AM

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The book by Nixon wasn't the one I was thinking of, but I'd like to know what you think of it. Here's a link to the website where you can find Kristi Holl's e-book: http://kristiholl.com/mysteries.php  :goodluck and here's a  :donut2 for fun!
#29 - June 11, 2015, 01:43 PM

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The Nixon book was short and sweet. It covered the main points, but didn't provide many examples. It was a good intro. I struggle with plotting, so I was happy to see a plotting technique that I can use in my current WIP. I'm glad I bought it, and I'm going to order your suggestion, too.
#30 - June 11, 2015, 08:16 PM

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