Telling “ur” stories and other advice #tuesdaywriting tips #mysteries #crimefiction @cuyahoglib

Today’s #tuesdaywritingtips are brought to you by Northeast Ohio Sisters in Crime, which held a well-attended and very well-organized conference last weekend at the beautiful South Euclid-Lyndhurst branch of the Cuyahoga County Public Library. The event, Death March, featured some great writers who offered some great advice. Rather than attempt to reproduce everything they said, I’m offering some highlights the old-fashioned way, via my tweets of comments made during various panels. The Twitter Tips come mostly from keynote speaker S.J. Rozan, whose books include the Lydia Chin/Bill Smith series; with help from Mary Ellis (Secrets of the South series); D.M. Pulley (The Dead Key ); and Sam Thomas (Midwife Mystery series).

Other participants included myself; mystery genre scholar Dr. Katherine Clark; literary agent Victoria Selvaggio; Shelley Costa (Practical Sins for Cold Climates); Scott Lax (Vengeance Follows); and Jane Ann Turzillo (Murder and Mayhem on Ohio’s Rails).

Without further ado…

on revising: “I’m always going back over stuff as I’m going forward.”  

. With architecture as with writing, “critiques tend to make it better.”

. “Having a reader who is not like you and who is strong where you are not is very important”

Mary Ellis “You have to have the passion and then you have to put in the necessary amount of time”

. on work and writing: “I feel like every life experience brings something to the table.”

. “It’s important to sit at your desk and look at your screen every day even if you don’t get anything done”

. “We tell the ‘ur’ story and we tell it over and over and we tell it the best we can’

. “The world makes more sense in a crime novel”

. “Genre writing tells ‘ur’ stories”

. “Genre writing does not free writers from the obligations of good writing”

And to conclude, one of my own suggestions: think of your book as a rich meal served to your reader over the course of the entire volume, with the final bite taken in the last chapter or even better on the last page. Don’t dish out everything in the first thirty pages.

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