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Publisher's Summary

From 70 of the most successful mystery writers in the business, an invaluable guide to crafting mysteries - from character development and plot to procedurals and thrillers - “this is a writing guide that readers and writers will turn to again and again” (Booklist, starred review).

Mystery Writers of America (MWA) is known for providing unparalleled resources on the craft, art, and business of storytelling, helping writers of all levels improve their skills for nearly a century. Now, this new handbook helps authors navigate the ever-shifting publishing landscape - from pacing, plotting, the business side of publishing, to the current demand for diversity and inclusivity across all genres, and more.

Featuring essays by a new generation of best-selling experts on various elements of the craft and shorter pieces of crowd-sourced wisdom from the MWA membership as a whole, the topics covered can be categorized as follows:

  • Before writing (rules; genres; setting; character; research; etc.)
  • While writing (outlining; the plot; dialogue; mood; etc.)
  • After writing (agents; editors; self-pub; etc.)
  • Other than novels (short stories; true crime; etc.)
  • Other considerations (diverse characters; legal questions; criticism)

Also included is a collection of essays from MWA published authors - including Jeffery Deaver, Tess Gerritsen, and Charlaine Harris - selected by best-selling authors Lee Child and Laurie King, and arranged thematically, answering, “What piece of writing advice do you wish you’d had at the beginning of your career?”

“Everything you wanted to know about how to plan, draft, write, revise, publish, and market a mystery” (Kirkus Reviews), this inclusive manual provides practical, current, easily digestible advice for new and established authors alike.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio.

©2021 Mystery Writers of America, Inc. (P)2021 Simon & Schuster, Inc.

What listeners say about How to Write a Mystery

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    3 out of 5 stars

Broad strokes

The performance is great, but I find I’m not satisfied that the book kept the promise inherent in the title. I would have preferred more about crafting a MYSTERY specifically. There are several gems in this collection of advices from authors that do talk specifically about mystery, but there’s also plenty that’s well covered elsewhere - general advice for authors. Everything covered is helpful, but I bought this book because I thought it might break down the craft of writing a mystery. Only a few of the contributions did so, although if you’re looking for a broad array of writerly advice not just about what sets mystery apart, this might be good for you.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

investigate before you buy.

While there are nuggets within, the title is misleading. It's a book of articles or essays, even two paragraphs snippets.

if I wanted to read a book of essays and excerpts. this might be a great book, but it's not exactly what I consider the title to indicate. My fault.

Out of the 6 hours I've put in listening, I've gained at least 20 minutes worth of good input. This is my fault because I should have investigated past the title and the hugely printed author's name. It's not what you expect from the greats to put their name on something and then stuff it full of other people's commentaries.

1 person found this helpful

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Excellent!

It was very educational and inspiring to learn so much from such talented and successful writers.

I greatly appreciate the time and effort, and the humility the authors displayed. The reader did not feel “talked down to” which made the lessons learned quite enjoyable.

1 person found this helpful

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A Guidebook Everyone Needs To Read

if you want to be a writer, you need to read this.

I have been writing since 2013. I have attended writers conferences, subscribed to writers magazines, and yes, I have read close to 100 books on the craft, and yes, this book is by far the best one.

It answers all the questions most new writers have. It explores pros and cons of each style of writing, and it gives pointers on how to write for each genre.

Trust me, this book is one of the best investments any writer could make.

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    4 out of 5 stars

A ton of useful information for aspiring writers.

This audiobook contains valuable information for writers of any genre. It is worth the investment of time and money.

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  • Nic
  • 05-18-21

Not worth the money

It’s a series of generic articles. Even goes into social media management, very little is actually about how to write a mystery. Highly un-recommend

1 person found this helpful

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 07-19-21

Great advice from brilliant writers

Each chapter is read by a top mystery, crime or thriller writer. Some advice is practical, some is inspirational, but it's all gold dust for aspiring authors.

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  • Chris Radge
  • 10-14-21

If your a writer you NEED to listen to this.

I’ve listened to this twice now and have learnt something new each time. Such a diverse collection of every aspect of writing by some amazing authors.

I’m an Australian writer and co-host a writing retreat and believe almost everything (except copyright and some legal information) is relevant to any writer and or published author around the world.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 05-20-21

Fantastic Compilation from Numerous Authors

Great range of views and experiences in writing across ages, styles, platforms and more. Helpful for not only for mystery/crime genre novels, but for novels of any genre. One of the best compilation of many authors thoughts and experiences writing and publishing that I have come across. Great to listen to in the car and inspirational for the aspiring writer. Would listen again!