The Wisdom of 71 Writers
I’m a self-taught writer, in that when it comes to fiction, I mostly learned by reading a million stories. Naturally, I took the basic writing classes in school, and I do have a lot of How-To guides on my shelves, but I’ve never done any advanced courses in how to be a writer.
So it always astonishes me, when I’m asked to teach a class or give a workshop on mystery writing, to find that I do actually have something to contribute.
I’m not sure I’ll ever write my own handbook, beginning to end, but I have been involved with two handbooks now, and have loved both of them. More of my own words made it into the 2013 Crime and Thriller Writing, but that doesn’t mean I’m not on every page of the new MWA handbook, How to Write a Mystery. After all, I first proposed the book, back in 2017. I helped MWA’s Publications Committee choose Lee Child as editor, I worked with Lee and the committee to narrow down the list of invitees, I edited all the pieces and helped shape the “Tips” contest. And yes, I wrote one of the chapters, on The Rewrite. I’m amazingly proud of it, this collection that Booklist starred and called
“a writing guide that readers and writers will turn to again and again.”
We’re holding various group conversations about the handbook over the next few weeks (see the times and participants here) but on Monday the 26th, the day before How to Write a Mystery publishes, Lee and I will be talking on our own with Barbara Peters at the Poisoned Pen about this amazing book. Do join us, on the Pen’s Livestream (register here) or on their Facebook page.