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Now Write! Mysteries: Suspense, Crime, Thriller, and Other Mystery Fiction Exercises from Today's Best Writers and Teachers Paperback – December 29, 2011


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Now Write! Mysteries: Suspense, Crime, Thriller, and Other Mystery Fiction Exercises from Today's Best Writers and Teachers + Now Write! Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror: Speculative Genre Exercises from Today's Best Writers and Teachers + Now Write!: Fiction Writing Exercises from Today's Best Writers and Teachers
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Product Details

  • Series: Now Write!
  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Tarcher (December 29, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1585429031
  • ISBN-13: 978-1585429035
  • Product Dimensions: 1.1 x 5.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #283,750 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

The fourth installment in the Now Write! series (after books about writing fiction, nonfiction, and screenplays) focuses on the mystery genre. With chapters written by genre authors—including Simon Brett, Deborah Coonts, and Louise Penny—the book is a sort of from-the-horse’s-mouth affair: writers telling other writers how to build characters, put together a solid plot, use forensics properly, create an engaging setting, manipulate suspense, and find something new to say in a genre that has seen pretty much every variation and nuance you could possibly imagine. You can read the book from beginning to end or select specific articles to help you zero in on a particular area. The articles follow a fairly strict format: a brief description of the subject under discussion, some helpful tips, and a creative exercise to give the reader some hands-on practice. Short of one-on-one training with each of the writers featured in the book, this is probably the best and most useful way to benefit from their expertise. A smartly constructed and very helpful writer’s guide. --David Pitt

About the Author

Sherry Ellis is the editor of NOW WRITE! Fiction Writing Exercises from Today's Best Writers and Teachers and NOW WRITE! NONFICTION, as well as a personal writing coach. Her author interviews have appeared in the Kenyon Review, The Writer’s Chronicle, Glimmer Train, and AGNI, as well as other literary and arts magazines. She lives in Massachusetts.

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Seven Kitties on February 19, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am a fan of the Now Write series in general. The concept is so solid and the contributors have been ace and you could use each book (particularly the nonfiction one) as a miniature writing course, just working through the exercises.

The bone I'd pick with this is that research is fun, but not sure it should be frontloaded as the first item in the headings. I found exploring character and relations and casting and then setting the crime to be more interesting, and to be honest, it was doing those things that made me realize WHAT I needed to research.

Then again, this isn't a 'read from a-to-z book. You're free to jump around. Some of the exercises lack a direct line to the topic: the 'sex scene' one gave good advice--It HAS to move the plot forward!--but the exercise could apply to any kind of scene at all. Which is a good exercise, but it seemed a bit out of focus to me.

All in all some gem exercises for all stages of mystery planning.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Jane Grayson on January 6, 2012
Format: Paperback
This was an awesome book both for seasoned as well as beginning mystery writers. I especially enjoyed the exercises at the end of each chapter. Getting advice from some of the most successful mystery authors in the business was eye-opening, even to me, a published mystery author.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on January 1, 2012
Format: Paperback
An excellent book of exercises for both the novice and professional writers. Established writers giving tips on their successful ways. I found them fascinating, fun and useful.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By chaosweb on March 31, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A collection of short exercises from a variety of writers. Not a nuts an bolts guide, but rather thoughts and concepts that are thrown out at you, and exercises for trying your hand at it.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Jack Foreigner on August 8, 2012
Format: Paperback
Like many other writers, I have a large collection of how-to books on the craft, and this title is one of my favorites. For one thing, it's just very interesting to see what a favorite author thinks about technique, but because each entry also concludes with writing exercises, there's a little more meat here than is the case with a lot of other books in this category. Of course, not everyone will find every piece of advice offered to be useful, but overall I really like this format. While not original, too few books on writing offer exercises, and none from such a diverse spectrum of talent within one set of covers!
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By T. Edmund on August 3, 2012
Format: Paperback
Now Write! Mysteries provides a whopping ~350 pages of exercises on writing mysterious, thrillers and crime fiction, that are bound to improve your writing, spark creativity and move your manuscript further towards brilliance.

Unfortunately the contributors were also allowed a page or two of explanation before each exercise, which tended to err towards autobiography (not why I read the book) and discussion of the authors own work (only slightly helpful.) Eventually these parts simply blurred into one, and were skim-read, which detracted from the good bits, which could have concisely presented in a 150 page book.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Emily Love on June 6, 2013
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When I was in newspapering, I interviewed John D. MacDonald, he of the Travis McGee series. He said then, "I don't think you can learn to write. You have to be sort of born knowing how." When I read these memoirs of "how I did it," I understand what he meant. No one can make you a writer. You have to do it yourself. The stories are entertaining, though.
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By epmom on January 5, 2014
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I recommend this book for beginning writers who sometimes need story prompts and short instructionals to help spark the imagination.
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