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How To Write Killer Fiction author Carolyn Wheat talkls books

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How To Write A Thriller

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Bookseller Inventory Ask Seller a Question. About this title Synopsis: Presents a guide to crafting mystery and suspense stories, defining the difference between the two genres and offering tips on subtly dispensing clues, constructing story arcs, and understanding the fundamentals of composition. All rights reserved "About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

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The Short Mystery Fiction Society Blog: Further Reading

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Carolyn Wheat

Carolyn Wheat begins by discussing the differences between mystery novels and novels of suspense. She compares them to a funhouse and a roller coaster. Whear, in her introduction, discusses seven major differences, with examples of each. She provides a checklist at the end, which makes a nice reference point for writers as they decide what it is they are writing or want to write. Part 1 is devoted to "The Funhouse of Mystery".

There are four chapters.


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  7. The "Welcome" chapter gives a brief overview of the history of mystery, how the old days differ from the present, and how to figure out what it is about a mystery that the writer loves. The second chapter is devoted to Clues and Cover-ups. Short, sweet, and on the money.

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    The third chapter, "Build Me an Arc", is about the four-arc system for organizing a novel. Being new to this "technical" aspect of how a novel works I always just read and enjoyed, didn't spend any time analyzing the "why" of what I was reading , I found this section very enlightening. I assume that this is not a new concept to those who study the mechanics of writing; it made a great deal of sense to me.


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    Wheat explains how the arcs work, with examples from contemporary mystery fiction. Chapter 4 is devoted to various endings - how they work or don't work, what to do to make them work. She talks about the "meta-novel", which is the novel formed by several novels in a series, and how the arcs need to work both within each novel and within the context of the novels in a series.

    The next four chapters are devoted to "The Roller Coaster of Suspense".