Its been like playing with a new toy. . Im sure that the thrill will start to wear off eventually, and the frequency of posts is likely to decrease, but at the moment, Im happy to say that Im still here, even if in a somewhat more subdued form. . There no longer will be the long articles i enjoyed doing, for example, but doing them also began to take its toll, as Im sure my comments below have already implied. Everything on the site will remain. Nothing has changed, nothing is going away, nor am i either, not for a while. . Its good to be back. ive been delaying this decision as long as possible, but since it has to be made, theres no reason to put it off any longer. . Im not shutting down, but M*F On-Line, as its existed over the past year or so, is going on hiatus for the time being.
Best, mystery, novel, edgar Award Winners and Nominees
Start at the beginning: The first 50 Pages, become a wd vip and save 10: Get a 1-year pass to m, a 1-year subscription to Writers Digest magazine and 10 off all m orders! Click here to join. Also check out these items from the Writers Digests collection: Write-a-thon The novel Writers tool Kit Elements of Fiction Writing: Characters viewpoint How to Write a book proposal, 4th Edition Breathing Life Into your Characters no more rejections Writers Digest weekly Planner How to land. Mystery*file, the Crime fiction, research othello journal, please use the links to the left to help you find your way around this site, which is constantly growing. On-line edition of mystery*file, jan. . I may as well state the obvious, that in spite of my using the word hiatus to describe its status, you may as well assume that M*F On-Line will not be coming back. . Thats the bad news. . The good news, or at least I hope that its good news, is that since late december, M*F has morphed itself into a blog. . Please check it out at m/blog/. Over time the past two or three weeks ive been posting entries on an almost daily basis. .
Loving your reader, you will respect him and want to please him. You will not write down to him. You will take infinite pains with your work. You will write well. And if you write well, you will get published. —lee wyndham, november 1962, genius gives birth, talent delivers. —jack kerouac, january 1962, long patience and application saturated with your hearts blood—you will either write or you will not—and the only way to find out whether you will or not is writing to try. —jim Tully, october 1923.
—henry sydnor Harrison, march 1923, make your novel readable. Make it easy to read, pleasant to read. This doesnt mean flowery passages, ambitious flights of pyrotechnic verbiage; it means strong, simple, natural sentences. —laurence dorsay, october 1929. When your story is ready for rewrite, cut it to the bone. Get rid of every ounce of excess fat. This is going to hurt; revising a story down to the bare essentials is always a little like murdering children, but it must be done. —Stephen King, november 1973, loving your subject, you will write about it with the spontaneity and enthusiasm that will transmit itself to your reader.
Writing Forums: Unknown Cafe : Whodunnit, howdunnit
If, once in a while, a really fine book comes out of this contest, that is good; but the games the thing. If, on Page 4, the reader knows that the soda cracker is spread with butter mixed with arsenic, and later on this is proven to be true, then the reader has won the game. If, however, when the reader finishes the book, he says, i didnt get it—all the clues were there, plain as who killed Cock-robin, but I didnt get it, then the author has won the game. The author has to play fair, though. He has to arrange his clues in an orderly manner, so that the reader can see them if he looks hard enough. —polly simpson Macmanus, january 1962. Authors of so-called literary fiction insist that action, like plot, is vulgar and unworthy of a true artist.
Dont pay any attention to misguided advice of that sort. If you do, assignment you will very likely starve trying to live on your writing income. Besides, the only writers who survive the ages are those who understand the need for action in a novel. Koontz, august 1981, what the young writer is looking for is not a critic who will slap him on the back and say, greatest thing since. Henry, but rather the one who will toss the manuscript down in disgust, with you know better than that! Do it all over again!
They are built out of scenes. —Orson Scott Card, september 1980. Dont leave your hero alone very long. Have at least two characters on stage whenever possible and let the conflict spark between them. There can be conflict with nature and your hero can struggle against storm or flood, but use discretion.
you could write a gripping story about a struggle between a lone trapper and a huge, clever wolf. But the wolf is practically humanized in such a story and fills every role of villain. The wolf too wants something and does something about. A storm doesnt want anything and thats why its conflict with man is generally unsatisfactory. It doesnt produce the rivalry which is the basis of good conflict. —samuel Mines, march 1944, the first sentence cant be written until the final sentence is written. —joyce carol Oates, April 1986, the writing of a mystery story is more of a sport than a fine art. It is a game between the writer and the reader.
Mystery, writer s Awards
—gunnison Steele, march 1944. Plot, or evolution, is life responding to environment; and not only is this response always in terms summary of conflict, but the really great struggle, the epic struggle of creation, is the inner fight of the individual whereby the soul builds up character. —william Wallace cook, july 1923, click here to learn more about how to write a novel in three months or fewer. Human emotions and desires founded on the realities of life, working at cross purposes, getting hotter and fiercer as they strike against each other until finally theres an explosion—thats Plot. —leigh Brackett, july 1943, you cant write a novel all at once, any more than you can swallow a whale in one gulp. You do have to break it up into smaller chunks. But those smaller chunks arent good old familiar short stories. Novels arent built out of short stories.
—kurt Vonnegut, november 1985. Dont expect the puppets of bird your mind to become the people of your story. If they are not realities in your own mind, there is no mysterious alchemy in ink and paper that will turn wooden figures into flesh and blood. —leslie gordon Barnard, may 1923, if you tell the reader that Bull beezley is a brutal-faced, loose-lipped bully, with snakes blood in his veins, the readers reaction may be, oh, yeah! But if you show the reader Bull beezley raking the bloodied flanks of his weary, sweat-encrusted pony, and flogging the tottering, red-eyed animal with a quirt, or have him booting in the protruding ribs of a starved mongrel and, boy, the reader believes! —Fred East, june 1944, we writers are apt to forget that, as the gunsmoke fogs and the hero rides wildly to the rescue, although the background of this furious action is fixed indelibly in our own minds, it is not fixed in the mind. He wont see or feel it unless you make him—bearing always in mind that you cant stop the gunfight or the racing horse to do the job.
to pull themselves up short. —harlan Ellison, january 1963, its like making a movie: All sorts of accidental things will happen after youve set up the cameras. So you get lucky. Something will happen at the edge of the set and perhaps you start to go with that; you get some footage of that. You come into it accidentally. You set the story in motion and as youre watching this thing begin, all these opportunities will show. So, in order to exploit one thing or another, you may have to do research. You may have to find out more about Chinese immigrants, or you may have to find out about Halleys Comet, or whatever, where you didnt realize that you were going to have chinese or Halleys Comet in the story. So you do research on that, and it implies more, and the deeper you get into the story, the more it implies, the more suggestions it makes on the plot. Toward the end, the ending becomes inevitable.
Read the work of top-notch writers in your field. Read first for entertainment, then reread for analysis. Soak yourself in their stuff—for atmosphere, color, technique. —Fred East, june 1944. One thing that helps is to give myself permission to write badly. I tell myself that Im going to do my five or 10 pages no matter what, and that I can always tear them up the following morning if I want. Ill have lost nothing—writing and tearing up five pages would leave me no further behind than if I took assignment the day off.
Edgar Allan poe or Agatha Christie?
While fad advice in the writing world comes and presentation goes, some wisdom is so novel that its withstood the test of time. Culled from 91 years of wd articles, interviews and essays, here are 23 of our favorite writing"s of enduring advice and inspiration. If you have a story that seems worth telling, and you think you can tell it worthily, then the thing for you to do is to tell it, regardless of whether it has to do with sex, sailors or mounted policemen. —dashiell Hammett, june 1924, the writing of a novel is taking life as it already exists, not to report it but to make an object, toward the end that the finished work might contain this life inside it and offer it to the reader. The essence will not be, of course, the same thing as the raw material; it is not even of the same family of things. The novel is something that never was before and will not be again. —eudora welty, february 1970, you yearn to turn out a book-length, your typewriter is silently shrieking abuse, you are itching.