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My Characters And Personality Typing

My Characters And Personality Typing

My Characters And Personality Typing By Tina Whittle

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  Those with familiarity of the Myers-Briggs system of personality ordering will recognize a couple of things about me right away. For one, I’m an introvert—I need lots of solitary time to recharge and rejuvenate. I am comfortable making decisions ...

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Just the Right Amount of Detail

Just the Right Amount of Detail

Just the Right Amount of Detail By David P Wagner

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Screenwriters have a big advantage over those of us who write for print. That fact was brought home to me recently while watching one of the many excellent British mystery programs on PBS. A recurring sequence in these dramas: The ...

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The Smart Detective Conundrum

The Smart Detective Conundrum

The Smart Detective Conundrum By Steven Axelrod

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Fresh from binge-watching Jenji Kohan’s Netflix series, Orange is the New Black and looking for more of the same, I started on her earlier Showtime effort, Weeds. This show is every bit as wild and crazy and compulsively watchable as I ...

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When Smuggling Meets Screwball Comedy

When Smuggling Meets Screwball Comedy

When Smuggling Meets Screwball Comedy By Wendall Thomas

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I love Romancing the Stone. I love Charade. I don’t care that loving movies from the 80s, the 60s, or even the 40s (Bringing up Baby or The Lady Eve) dates me, because strong, screwball heroines, thrown out of their element, ...

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How to Start Writing a Mystery Novel

How to Start Writing a Mystery Novel

How to Start Writing a Mystery Novel By Steven Axelrod

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The hardest part of writing a mystery novel is starting. I have a friend who dreads launching into the actual text of his book so much that he’s been writing ever more complete outlines for more than five years. The ...

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Found and Bespoke: When Mystery Writers Mislead

Found and Bespoke: When Mystery Writers Mislead

Found and Bespoke: When Mystery Writers Mislead By Steven Axelrod

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People at book signings often wonder if there’s some trick or secret technique for writing a mystery. They ask about plot, as if that were the key. The plot is an engine, but engineering the spark plugs is the more ...

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A Thief in Cleveland: Writing My Debut Novel

A Thief in Cleveland: Writing My Debut Novel

A Thief in Cleveland: Writing My Debut Novel By Annie Hogsett

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Where do I get my ideas? I steal them. One of the metric ton of things I’m fussing about with the release of my first novel, Too Lucky to Live, is: What sort of questions am I likely to get ...

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Diana Gabaldon Discusses “A Clash of Spheres”

Diana Gabaldon Discusses “A Clash of Spheres”

By Poisoned Pen Press

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  The following essay is by New York Times best-selling author of the Outlander series, Diana Gabaldon. This is one of the most entertaining, elegant and deeply emotional books I’ve read in years. (I’m tempted just to write “EEEEEEEEE!” to ...

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Cultural Diversity in Mystery Novels: Part II

Cultural Diversity in Mystery Novels: Part II

Cultural Diversity in Mystery Novels: Part II By Triss Stein

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In December, I wrote about including real life diversity in mystery fiction. Depictions and plots that reflect that are an important part of the issue, but it does not end there. Deeper and more complicated is the question of how ...

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Staying Human: Orwell’s “1984” Revisited

Staying Human: Orwell’s “1984” Revisited

Staying Human: Orwell’s “1984” Revisited By Steven Axelrod

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George Orwell’s 1984 is riding the bestseller lists again, spurred by Kellyann Conway’s ominous reference to “alternative facts” when discussing the crowds at President Trump’s inauguration. This passage from 1984 leapt to many people’s minds: In the end, the party would announce ...

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Pulling Out the Nail: Writing Lessons With Irvin Kershner

Pulling Out the Nail: Writing Lessons With Irvin Kershner

Pulling Out the Nail: Writing Lessons With Irvin Kershner By Steven Axelrod

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I’ve been thinking about film director Irvin Kershner, as I work on a flat scene that desperately needs a jump start. Kershner died a few years ago, and even then I hadn’t seen him in decades — since an extraordinary ...

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Cultural Diversity in Mystery Novels

Cultural Diversity in Mystery Novels

Cultural Diversity in Mystery Novels By Triss Stein

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While it is possible to find mysteries, from fluffiest to darkest, that take place in the author’s version of never-never land, I prefer mysteries set in some semblance of the real world. There, diversity equals reality. How do we incorporate ...

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Where Did Joey Getchie Come From?

Where Did Joey Getchie Come From?

Where Did Joey Getchie Come From? By Bill Cameron

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Joey Getchie may be 16 years old, but he’s been with me more than three decades. He first appeared on a manuscript page—and in 1983 it was an actual sheet of paper rolled into a typewriter—as one of the protagonists ...

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My First Literary Crush

My First Literary Crush

My First Literary Crush By Steven Axelrod

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As a kid I read hungrily and furtively, devouring comic books and Hardy Boys novels the same way I gobbled Mounds bars and Ring Dings. I borrowed every Albert Payson Terhune novel I could excavate from the dusty stacks of ...

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Where Do Characters Come From?

Where Do Characters Come From?

Where Do Characters Come From? By Tina Whittle

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When I first met Tai Randolph, the protagonist of my series, I didn’t know her name. I knew only that the person I was meeting was quick and smart and had a head full of riotous dirty blonde curls. I ...

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When Writing is Like Landing a Plane

When Writing is Like Landing a Plane

When Writing is Like Landing a Plane By Steven Axelrod

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Writing a transition for my book as I flew into Kennedy airport, I realized that my job and the pilot’s job weren’t all that different. Of course his takes years of training, the mastery of a highly complex machine, and ...

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When Setting Becomes a Character

When Setting Becomes a Character

When Setting Becomes a Character By Jeffrey Siger

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For those of you in the market for indispensable elements of mystery writing, you’ve come to the right place. As I see it, a mystery is composed of six indispensable elements: characters, dialog, plot, point of view, setting, and tension. ...

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The Exposition Paradox

The Exposition Paradox

The Exposition Paradox By Steven Axelrod

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I first noticed the exposition paradox when I was reading “The DaVinci Code,” a few years ago. It was not a favorite of mine, and I only slogged through it to the end because I had promised my mother I’d ...

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