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Top Reads for Mystery, Thriller and Suspense Writing

Updated on September 5, 2012

These are my favourite recommendations for writers looking for help with mystery, thriller and suspense writing.

How to Write a Damn Good Novel : A Step-by-Step No Nonsense Guide to Dramatic Storytelling (How to Write a Damn Good Novel)

by James N. Frey

James N. Frey writes that the words Conflict! Conflict! Conflict! describe the three greatest rules of dramatic writing. I tis this writing style that adds wit and color to a book on how to write a “damn good novel.” Frey is a published novelist ad teacher. He approaches this book with flare and a touch of both wit and drama. As a result, it is accessible to both writers who are starting out and seasoned veterans. Within this book lie practical hints and suggestions on how to discover the basics of storytelling and apply them successfully. Writing in a clear and very snappy style, Frey creates a work that provides you with the answers to a variety of difficulties that you, as a writer, may face. He also helps you to sort out a distinction many riters fail to see – the difference between what is dramatic and what is melodramatic. Here! Here! Whether it is establishing a premise or building your work into the proper climax, the author offers you a unique premise, approach or suggestions. In fact, the word “unique” is commonly applied to this work which is volume one.

The Everything Creative Writing Book: All You Need to Know to Write a Novel, Play, Short Story, Screenplay, Poem, or Article (Everything Series)

by Carol Whiteley

There is a reason why the moniker for Carol Whiteley is “the Writing Doctor.” She can help even the newbies in the writing world discover something – a technique, approach or style that will make their words glow. She covers how to deal with writer’s block as well as where to obtain extra help, how to organize materials and writing, and how to increase your work’s value. It is partly the result of her own individualistic way of expression. She is direct, completely to-the-point, with her tips and hints. Her advice clearly comes from her own experience. Written in an easy-to read manner, it comes across as authoritative. As such, no matter what your interest, she will help you fashion memos, magazine articles, novelists or internet copy that is superior to anything created by your competition. No matter what genre you aspire to write or are involved in creating, this book is a must-read.

Writing & Selling Your Mystery Novel: How To Knock ‘Em Dead With Style

by Hallie Ephron

This book is a how-to guide on writing mystery novels. The title with its slight play on the themes of many in this genre set the tone for this book. The book contains much practical advice on how to create and sustain the required style to create a mystery novel. Learn to differentiate the various types of mystery: medical, romantic thriller, hardboiled crime, cozy and anywhere in-between. The most handy tool the author provides for aspiring authors is the worksheets. They are extremely helpful in directing new writers on the organizational process required of this form of writing. New writers, and more experienced ones, can learn from the comprehensive instruction within the book. This approach is abetted by the exercises provided and the ideas flowing within these pages. Discover how to design attractive covers for potential and specific audiences. In the process of reading this book, you will discover how to become a more efficient and capable writer. You will discover the excitement of writing and abandon any fear of tackling this genre. Definitely put this book at the top of your wish list if you have the desire to write a mystery novel.

You Can Write a Mystery (You Can Write)

by Gillian Roberts

Mystery writing is the field Gillian Roberts has operate in successfully through her protagonist, Amanda Pepper. The author helps you explore this most stable and profitable of genres in the world of writing. If you wish to establish yourself in this lucrative field, perhaps you need to consult the experts. Combining practical advice and informative material, the author draws upon her own experience as a top-notch mystery writer to help those who aspire to join the ranks. Roberts help you understand the basics of structuring. She gives advice on how to create and build your characters. She instructs you on how to do your research, discussing how real crimes are an excellent resource for ideas. Exercises are provided to help you familiarize yourself with the suggestions and improve your own approach. This is covered in part one of the book. Part two addresses the more practical business aspects. This includes information and advice on how to handle editors and revisions. It looks at how to submit transcripts and consider publishers. This book will give you all you need to take the book from the maybe-some day to the here-and-now.

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      John Crowley 5 years ago from Sheffield

      Nice summary of some good books. Thanks.