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Monday, March 10, 2008

Ten Tips for Breaking into the Mystery Genre by Tinishi Johnson

I’ve always loved a good mystery, whether it be a book, a TV show or a movie. Here are ten tips I’ve found beneficial to breaking into the mystery genre.

1. Read mysteries, old and new. There are some wonderfully written mysteries out there. Read books from some of the greatest mystery authors. Some of my favorite mystery authors are Walter Mosley, Sandra Brown. I especially love John Grisham and James Peterson.

2. Associate yourself with other mystery authors. You could easily join a Yahoo group or find a book club, and get to know others who enjoy writing or reading mystery.

3. Watch mystery TV shows and movies. I love watching mysteries on television. One of my favorite TV shows are Law and Order, Monk and CSI. I also still watch the old Alfred Hitchcock shows.

4. Your plot is everything in a mystery. A mystery usually follows a certain type of structure. Think of it as figuring out how to piece together a puzzle. You’ll have clues, twists, crime, and the whodunit all wrapped together. You need to keep your reader interested and edging for more.

5. Take a tour at a police station, or better yet, interview a police officer or a detective. I have not personally done this, but am thinking about this for my next book. I have talked with authors who have interviewed a police officer to get some insight into piecing together a scene in their book.

6. Watch the mystery and crime shows of real life events – like on the Discovery channel. I really enjoy watching some of the real stories told of real life killers, murderers and so forth. And what I enjoy even more, is watching the police, detectives and Forensic Science piece together what happened and how the crime was solved. It would be worth while to check out the Discovery channel, both on TV and online www.dicoverychannel.com

7. Why not play a game or two of Clue. I always enjoyed playing this game as a child. It really got your mind thinking, and you got better the more often you played.

8. To learn the basics of a mystery, you can always pick up a children’s mystery book. It could count as an easy, but interesting read.

9. Check out www.mysterynet.com. There are lots of resources - online mysteries, games, authors, books, shows, movies, etc.

10. And lastly, write everyday, or almost everyday. Your writing only gets better if you put pen to paper. Practice makes perfect.

Tinisha is the author of Searchable Whereabouts. You can find more about her and her writing at her website.

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