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How to Write a Mystery, Writing Thrillers

Trying your hand at writing thrillers – the most exciting and suspenseful of all genres? Look no further for guidelines on crafting a compelling plot, creating incredible characters, constructing an airtight mystery, and much more.

A Published Prosecutor

In his 13 years as a lawyer, Raffi Yessayan, a Boston native, has worked as a prosecutor for the district attorney and served as chief of the Gang Unit. But no challenge has been quite as exhilarating for this debut author as writing his first thriller, Eight in the Box, about a serial killer dubbed “The Blood Bath Killer” and the legal team who tries to catch him.

by Jordan E. Rosenfeld Read more

The Fish Ivory Man

Ken McBeath’s "The Fish Ivory Man" took first place in the Mystery/Crime category of the 2008 Writer’s Digest Popular Fiction Awards. To read the grand-prize winning entry and other first-place finishers, click here. Read more

Brother

Richard Mazziotti’s "Brother’s Keeper" took first place in the Suspense/Thriller category of the 2008 Writer’s Digest Popular Fiction Awards. To read the grand-prize winning entry and other first-place finishers, click here. Read more

Thrillerfest 2008

Each year International Thriller Writers lines up some of the biggest names in publishing for four days of learning, networking and pitching in New York City. ThrillerFest 2008 actually consists of three events. At ThrillerFest, avid thriller readers and writers can mingle with their favorite New York Times-bestselling authors, including James Patterson, Sandra Brown, Brad Thor, Kathy Reichs and Eric Van Lustbader. Read more

Bulllies, Bastards & Bitches

With Jessica Page Morrell’s Bullies, Bastards & Bitches, you’ll be able to tap into your story’s dark side by creating realistic and memorable anti-heroes, villains, antagonists, and difficult protagonists. Read more

Defining and Developing Your Anti-Hero

Anti-heros are the bastards of fiction—those bad guys readers love to hate and hate to love. Find out whats makes a memorable anti-hero tick in this excerpt from Bullies, Bastards & Bitches by Jessica Page Morrell. Read more

The Four Commandments of Writing Good Sentences

If you want to write a good sentence, don’t pay any attention to your grammar. I don’t mean “a sentence this like OK is.” I mean don’t automatically think you’ve written a good sentence just because it’s grammatically correct. Lots of bad sentences are grammatically correct. Some of these bad sentences might even be yours.

by Bonnie Trenga Read more

Challenging the Limits of Memory

In this excerpt from Writing Life Stories, Bill Roorbach teaches you how to pay attention to and translate your memories and how to overcome your resistance to remembered places and events. Read more

Publish Your First Book After 50

Who says publishing is a young person’s game? Here are an agent’s tips for writing and publishing well into your golden years.

By Scott Hoffman
Read more

The Popular Fiction Report

What’s hot in Mystery/ Crime, Romance, Horror, Thriller/ Suspense and Science Fiction/ Fantasy? Find out in this comprehensive genre-by-genre market report.

PLUS: A breakdown of fiction sub-genres and their definitions. Read more

5 Tips To Polish Your Fiction

5 Tips To Polish Your Fiction Read more

A Collaborating Dream Hallie Ephron

“I was afraid he was going to want to write, and he was terrified I was going to make him write.” Read more

What is Suspense?

What is Suspense? Read more

He Said/She Said

Alexander McCall Smith’s wildly popular novels prove that you can channel your imagination through any character, no matter how different he (or she) is from you. Read more

Build the Thrill

17 ways to add surprise to each page of your novel and keep your readers hooked. Read more

Scorned No More!

A short story about a mother”s revenge wins grand prize in the 2003 Writer”s Digest Annual Writing Competition. Read more

8 Basic Writing Blunders

These big-picture writing errors might make you cringe with recognition. But shake it off: Bestselling novelist Jerry B. Jenkins will help you fix them.

by Jerry B. Jenkins Read more

Killer Personalities

Craft vicious villains with this psychiatrist’s guide to writing bad guys with real problems. Read more

A Fire Inside

Mary Feuer’s short story follows an obsession that’s dark, detailed and devastating—and worthy of this year’s grand prize. Read more

The Big Grab

Capture your readers’ interest at the very first paragraph. Read more

Dean Koontz on Using Language to Draw the Reader In

Dean Koontz has kept a lot of people turning a lot of pages. How? Most would respond that his plots, characters and storytelling all contribute, and indeed they do. But a fourth element keeps those pages turning, an element all writers can learn from. Koontz explains to interviewer Brad Crawford about the power of language itself. Read more

Three Questions Readers Ask of Manuscripts

Award-winning author Orson Scott Card explains in depth the techniques of inventing, developing, and presenting characters and of handling viewpoint in novels and short stories. Here are some general thoughts all writers can benefit from. Read more

Kid Stuff

Writing a bestselling, Oprah-endorsed novel doesn’t necessarily prepare you for the world of children’s literature, as Jacquelyn Mitchard discovered. Read more

Get Thrilled With Jeffery Deaver

Exclusive interview with four-time Edgar Award nominee, Jeffery Deaver. Read more

Walker Meade’s Unspeakable Acts

“In large measure, you do this work because you need to do it … you’re inventing material that makes your experience somehow both accessible to you and reasonable to you so that you understand where you have been in your life.” Read more

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