Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Mystery Connection

Writing in any genre can be a solitary occupation – sure, we have critique partners, readers and often listen to music as we work, but we have to develop our stories, characters, plot, pacing, plant our clues and create our whodunit while often in a room with just our self and our computer.

But never fear, dear author, there are lots of ways to connect with other mystery writers. We get that burst of energy or inspiration from like-minded individuals, and challeng ourselves with new ideas and thoughts with interaction from other mystery writers, who may write in a different sub-genre, but who know the unique skill set needed to plant clues that don’t leap out and give away the ending, create a believable story and let the heroine/hero solve it in a satisfying way, whether that person writes sci/fi mysteries, urban mysteries, cozies, thrillers, etc.

You can take classes with some of the masters of the genre and sub-genres, meet editors and publishers, schmooze with other authors and even learn some of the business of writing!

Check out some of the conferences and festivals around North America.

In addition to these get-togethers, there are plenty of online courses offered where you can learn, discuss the topics with like-minded writers, and get inspired. I try to take online courses on a regular basis. Because of my location, it’s tough to get to a weekly class in person, but with the internet I can learn from the best right in my office! So, I always watch for courses that interest me – could be on plotting, or developing the business side of writing, or setting goals.

You can join various on-line writing groups and/or writing clubs that meet in person and chat regularly with other authors about the process, get answers to questions, whether on research (ie, what kind of handgun has the most kickback), plotting, or sometimes you can just chat about the latest episode of CSI!

So, while it’s a solitary profession, mystery writing is never lonely. What are some of your favorite ways of connecting with other mystery writers, and why?


Morgan Mandel said...

Great list, Libby.
Good to know we are not alone. There are lots of us out there!

Morgan Mandel

Marilyn said...

When thinking about conferences, consider the Public Safety Writers Conference
to be held next June in Las Vegas.
We have lots of great speakers, if you want to be on a panel we'll find one for you, and you can sell your books.


Jean Henry Mead said...

Good article, Libby. I feel that reading the masters and studying their styles, how they string their words together, is the best course in writing a novice or veteran novelist can have. I learned to write fiction by studying Dean Koontz, Elmore Leonard and Ernest Hemingway (whose advice is currently up on my Write On! blog site: along with Loren Estleman.

Mark said...


Thanks for the links. Now that Clue Lass and the Deadly Directory are gone, there's not a single place to find all the conventions and conferences.

Dana Fredsti said...

First off, I just want to note that mystery writers are, by and large, a wonderful warm and supportive group of people. I met my new bestest buddy Jess Lourey (murder by the month series) at Left Coast Crime in March and have met so many others at SinC events. And meeting you all on line in these various blogs has been a great experience. Now tell me why romance writers aren't the same way...or I have just been meeting the wrong ones online these days?...