How to Write a Mystery, a handbook by MWA

How to Write a Mystery
A Handbook by Mystery Writers of America

Released April 2021

Edited by Lee Child
With Laurie R. King
April, 2021 (Scribner)
ISBN13: 9781982149437

Winner of Macavity, Agatha and Anthony Awards

Buy the book: IndieBound
Barnes & Noble

Seventy of the most successful mystery writers in the business answering the question:
What writing advice do you wish you’d had at the beginning of your career?

How to Write a Mystery continues the Mystery Writers of America tradition of helping authors tell—and sell!—their stories, from the rank beginner to the established bestseller. This all-new MWA handbook helps writers not only create timeless and compelling stories, but also navigate an ever-shifting publishing landscape. From pacing and dialogue to creating diverse characters and building reader outreach, How to Write a Mystery is a complete guide for a new generation of mystery writers. Because:
“Crime doesn’t pay… enough!”

Introduction by Lee Child

Contributors of essays:

Neil Nyren — The Rules (and When to Break Them)
Meg Gardiner — Keeping it Thrilling
Naomi Hirahara — Insider, Outsider: The Amateur Sleuth
Rachel Howzell Hall — Finding Lou: The Police Procedural
Alex Segura — The Mindset of Darkness: Writing Noir
Charlaine Harris — Crossing the Genres
Jacqueline Winspear — The Historical Mystery
Tess Gerritsen — The Medical Thriller
Gayle Lynds — Researching the Spy Thriller
Susan Vaught — Mysteries for Children: An Introduction
Chris Grabenstein — Unleash Your Inner Child
Kelley Armstrong — The Young Adult Mystery
Dale Berry and Gary Phillips — Graphic Novels
Art Taylor — The Short Mystery
Dan Stashower — Ten Stupid Questions about True Crime
Lyndsay Faye — On Style
Jeffery Deaver — Always Outline!
Lee Child — Never Outline!
Laurie R. King — The Art of the Rewrite
Deborah Crombie — Plot and the Bones of Mystery
Frankie Y. Bailey — Diversity in Crime Fiction
Allison Brennan — The Protagonist
T. Jefferson Parker — The Villain of the Piece
Craig Johnson — Supporting Characters
Greg Herren — Writing the Talk
William Kent Krueger — Setting
Catriona McPherson — Humor in Crime Fiction
Charles Todd and Caroline Todd — Writing in Partnership
Max Allan Collins — Tie-Ins and Continuing a Character
Oline Cogdill — Secrets of a Book Critic
Liliana Hart — Self-Publishing
Madeira James — Authors on the Web
Louise Penny — Building Your Community
Daniel Steven — Legal Considerations

With tips from:

Beth Amos
Linwood Barclay
Stephanie Kay Bendel
Mysti Berry
Hal Bodner
Leslie Budewitz
Carole Bugge
Suzanne Chazin
Nancy J. Cohen
Lindsey Davis
Hallie Ephron
Shelly Frome
Bradley Harper
Carolyn G. Hart
Rob Hart
Steve Hockensmith
R. Franklin James
Stephanie Kane
Gay Toltl Kinman
Robert Lopresti
Tim Maleeny
Kris Neri
Dag Ohrlund
Gigi Pandian
Stephen Ross
Hank Phillippi Ryan
Charles Salzberg
Tom Sawyer
Elizabeth Sims
Marilyn Stasio
C.M. Surrisi
Elaine Viets
Bev Vincent
Pat Gallant Weich
Kate White
James W. Ziskin