Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Advice from the Masters

I've been on a writing hiatus the past few weeks—after turning in my first draft for book three in my series I skipped town for a needed vacation and have since been playing catchup. So when it came time to write a post, I was feeling a little short on immediate inspiration. That's why I'm turning to some well established mystery greats for some insight. Here's what I came up with:

"The construction of a detective story might be formulaic — the writing need not be.” — P.D. James

"Nobody reads a mystery to get to the middle. They read it to get to the end. If it's a letdown, they won't buy anymore. The first page sells that book. The last page sells your next book." — Micky Spillane

"I suppose I would compare my technique to meandering down a road, excited to be at the beginning of a journey. The people and things I meet along the way, for the most part, are a surprise to me as much as to the reader." — Julia Buckley
"I’m learning to trust the process. I’m trying to remember that writing should be a form of play. I keep saying the fate of the free world does not hang in the balance. Even if I write a book that fails, nothing will happen. I’ll be mortified and embarrassed, but lives will not be lost over this. I take writing terribly seriously, and sometimes that just gets in my way. Writing is about the Shadow, which is about play. I just have to learn that again."  —Sue Grafton
"Ignore my advice. Because a book can only work if it has a spark in it, if it is 110 percent yours and full of integrity, and it's organic. Somebody else will like it. Maybe thousands of people. Maybe tens of thousands of people. Maybe, if you're lucky, millions of people." —Lee Child
What are some of your favorite pieces of advice from authors, mystery or otherwise?

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