How to Write a Damn Good Mystery

A Practical Step-by-Step Guide from Inspiration to Finished Manuscript

James N. Frey

St. Martin's Press

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Edgar award nominee James N. Frey, author of the internationally best-selling books on the craft of writing, How to Write a Damn Good Novel, How to Write a Damn Good Novel II: Advanced Techniques, and The Key: How to Write Damn Good Fiction Using the Power of Myth, has now written what is certain to become the standard "how to" book for mystery writing, How to Write a Damn Good Mystery.

Frey urges writers to aim high-not to try to write a good-enough-to-get-published mystery, but a damn good mystery. A damn good mystery is first a dramatic novel, Frey insists-a dramatic novel with living, breathing characters-and he shows his readers how to create a living, breathing, believable character who will be clever and resourceful, willful and resolute, and will be what Frey calls "the author of the plot behind the plot."

Frey then shows, in his well-known, entertaining, and accessible (and often humorous) style , how the characters-the entire ensemble, including the murderer, the detective, the authorities, the victims, the suspects, the witnesses and the bystanders-create a complete and coherent world.

Exploring both the on-stage action and the behind-the-scenes intrigue, Frey shows prospective writers how to build a fleshed-out, believable, and logical world. He shows them exactly which parts of that world show up in the pages of a damn good mystery-and which parts are held back just long enough to keep the reader guessing.

This is an indispensable step-by-step guide for anyone who's ever dreamed of writing a damn good mystery.

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Reviews

Praise for How to Write a Damn Good Mystery

"Confidently guides the novice through the crime-writing basics."
--Publishers Weekly
 
"Eminently practical and rich in details. A must for budding crime-fiction authors."
--Booklist
 
"Frey ... delivers a witty and entertaining writer's-conference-in-a-book."
--Library Journal

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About the Author

James N. Frey

James N. Frey is the author of internationally bestselling books on the craft of fiction writing, including How to Write a Damn Good Novel, How to Write a Damn Good Novel II: Advanced Techniques, and The Key: How to Write Damn Good Fiction Using the Power of Myth. He is also the author of nine novels, including the Edgar Award-nominated The Long Way to Die. He has taught at the University of California, Berkeley, Extension, the Squaw Valley Community of Writers, and the Oregon Writers' Colony, and he is a featured speaker at writers' conferences throughout the United States and Europe. Former students include recent Anthony award-nominees Betty Winkleman and Cara Black, and many best-selling authors including Marjorie Reynolds, Melba Beals, and April Sinclair.

James N. Frey

Elizabeth Frey
James N. Frey

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Available Formats and Book Details

How to Write a Damn Good Mystery
A Practical Step-by-Step Guide from Inspiration to Finished Manuscript
James N. Frey

e-Book Agency

e-Book Agency
St. Martin's Press
April 2007
e-Book Agency
ISBN: 9781429974134
ISBN10: 1429974133
288 pages
$11.99

Hardcover

Hardcover
St. Martin's Press
February 2004
Hardcover
ISBN: 9780312304461
ISBN10: 0312304463
5 1/2 x 8 1/4 inches, 288 pages
$24.99
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