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How to Write Killer Fiction

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1880284626|9781880284629. How to Write Killer Fiction: The Funhouse of Mystery & the Roller Coaster of Suspense published in the year 2003. The author of this book is Carolyn Wheat . page displaying collection of Carolyn Wheat books here. This is the Paperback version of the title "How to Write Killer Fiction: The Funhouse of Mystery & the Roller Coaster of Suspens 1880284626|9781880284629. How to Write Killer Fiction: The Funhouse of Mystery & the Roller Coaster of Suspense published in the year 2003. The author of this book is Carolyn Wheat . page displaying collection of Carolyn Wheat books here. This is the Paperback version of the title "How to Write Killer Fiction: The Funhouse of Mystery & the Roller Coaster of Suspense ". How to Write Killer Fiction: The Funhouse of Mystery & the Roller Coaster of Suspense is currently Available with us.


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1880284626|9781880284629. How to Write Killer Fiction: The Funhouse of Mystery & the Roller Coaster of Suspense published in the year 2003. The author of this book is Carolyn Wheat . page displaying collection of Carolyn Wheat books here. This is the Paperback version of the title "How to Write Killer Fiction: The Funhouse of Mystery & the Roller Coaster of Suspens 1880284626|9781880284629. How to Write Killer Fiction: The Funhouse of Mystery & the Roller Coaster of Suspense published in the year 2003. The author of this book is Carolyn Wheat . page displaying collection of Carolyn Wheat books here. This is the Paperback version of the title "How to Write Killer Fiction: The Funhouse of Mystery & the Roller Coaster of Suspense ". How to Write Killer Fiction: The Funhouse of Mystery & the Roller Coaster of Suspense is currently Available with us.

30 review for How to Write Killer Fiction

  1. 4 out of 5

    John

    A solid compilation of basic information that all writers of mystery and suspense need to know. Some of it's a little basic, but the book is overall quite helpful. However, most of the stuff Wheat discusses has more to do with plotting than actual writing. Actual writing tips for helping strengthen your prose take up only three or four pages. Wheat obviously has a great passion for mystery/suspense fiction, and she writes with an enthusiasm that I found to be incredibly infectious. After finishi A solid compilation of basic information that all writers of mystery and suspense need to know. Some of it's a little basic, but the book is overall quite helpful. However, most of the stuff Wheat discusses has more to do with plotting than actual writing. Actual writing tips for helping strengthen your prose take up only three or four pages. Wheat obviously has a great passion for mystery/suspense fiction, and she writes with an enthusiasm that I found to be incredibly infectious. After finishing this, I immediately went to Amazon.com to pick up a new detective novel for my Kindle. I also downloaded the first mystery computer game I could find (an oldie called PHANTASMAGORIA 2: PUZZLE OF FLESH). Now I can't stop thinking about detectives, murder, clues, and serial killers--a definite sign that this book was worth the $14 cover price.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Lourdes Venard

    How to Write Killer Fiction: The Funhouse of Mystery & The Roller Coaster of Suspense, by Carolyn Wheat, is one of those must-read books for new authors writing in the genre. Wheat, an accomplished mystery writer, divides the book into three parts. After describing the differences between mystery and suspense, the first part delves into mysteries and their basic ingredients, such as the “cover-up” (why the killer must continue killing), fair play, hiding clues in plain sight, and when the ab How to Write Killer Fiction: The Funhouse of Mystery & The Roller Coaster of Suspense, by Carolyn Wheat, is one of those must-read books for new authors writing in the genre. Wheat, an accomplished mystery writer, divides the book into three parts. After describing the differences between mystery and suspense, the first part delves into mysteries and their basic ingredients, such as the “cover-up” (why the killer must continue killing), fair play, hiding clues in plain sight, and when the absence of a clue is a clue itself. She explains the structure of a mystery and different types of endings. Part 2 looks at suspense novels and how to engineer the “roller-coaster effect.” She looks at the hero’s journey and how this informs suspense writing. There’s an invaluable lesson in these chapters as she deconstructs Robert Crais’ Hostage, using the book’s plot to show how to structure a thriller. Yes, there may be spoilers if you haven’t read Hostage, but it’s a terrific lesson. That alone is worth the price of this book. Part 3 looks at the writing process, both for those who outline and for pantsers (Wheat calls them blank-pagers). Wheat covers writing scenes, narrative, tension, and even parts of speech (nouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs–and when to use them or not use them). The best part of this book are the examples she uses from various novels, and the summations she includes in easy-to-digest lists and tables. If you’re writing in the genre, this is a worthwhile addition to your library.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Eric Beaty

    If you've ever been confused about how to write a best-selling story, then Carolyn Wheat's book is the best place to start. Simply fun to read, easy to understand, and conversational in nature, this book will not leave you feeling disappointed. Wheat's book is one of the few I have read which has is truly helped me understand concepts such as writing in Three Act Structure, plotting a book, and the fundamentals of writing best-selling mystery and suspense novels. I've checked it out twice from my If you've ever been confused about how to write a best-selling story, then Carolyn Wheat's book is the best place to start. Simply fun to read, easy to understand, and conversational in nature, this book will not leave you feeling disappointed. Wheat's book is one of the few I have read which has is truly helped me understand concepts such as writing in Three Act Structure, plotting a book, and the fundamentals of writing best-selling mystery and suspense novels. I've checked it out twice from my local library, and I've decided to go ahead and purchase a copy since they're available at such cheap rates almost everywhere you look. One of the few books I could read it over and over again and still enjoy it as if it was the first time. Seriously, give this book a try; you absolutely will not regret it.

  4. 5 out of 5

    David

    A lot of great ideas for aspiring writers of mystery novels and thrillers. Much of what Carolyn Wheat writes in this writing primer seems like common sense, but in today's market, it's much easier to get a book published than it is to actually write a good book--so what may SEEM like common sense, clearly isn't. Publishing has changed dramatically since this book was written in 2003, so the chapter on getting published is a bit out-dated, the chapters preceding that section serve as valuable les A lot of great ideas for aspiring writers of mystery novels and thrillers. Much of what Carolyn Wheat writes in this writing primer seems like common sense, but in today's market, it's much easier to get a book published than it is to actually write a good book--so what may SEEM like common sense, clearly isn't. Publishing has changed dramatically since this book was written in 2003, so the chapter on getting published is a bit out-dated, the chapters preceding that section serve as valuable lessons for new writers and great reminders for experienced writers who wander off track.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Anita

    This book is chock full of information on mystery and suspense fiction writing. It could be used for a writing seminar. It goes through the essential elements of the story and includes advice on the editing process. A very good read.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Maxine

    Rating: 3.5. Useful. Slightly dated in the examples given.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Larry Edwards

    As an author and editor, I recommend this book highly. It lays out in clear, concise words, what's needed to write a mystery, suspense, thriller.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Peach

    Difference between mystery and suspense 👌🏼

  9. 4 out of 5

    Gabriel Valjan

    I shy away for how-to books because I think “method” is particular to each person. No two people see a car accident the same way. No two readers read the same book the same way. Fellow writer Susan Fleet, author of the Frank Renzi series, directed me to Wheat’s book. There are two unfortunate problems when writers see this book: 1) they think the book won’t help them because they are not a mystery-suspense guy or gal, or 2) they start reading it and they think, “Well, that is self-evident. Tell I shy away for how-to books because I think “method” is particular to each person. No two people see a car accident the same way. No two readers read the same book the same way. Fellow writer Susan Fleet, author of the Frank Renzi series, directed me to Wheat’s book. There are two unfortunate problems when writers see this book: 1) they think the book won’t help them because they are not a mystery-suspense guy or gal, or 2) they start reading it and they think, “Well, that is self-evident. Tell me what I don’t know.” That’s the beauty of this book: everything is in one place; and even if you think that you have got a handle on the genre or the writing gig, you will learn something BECAUSE this book is about good writing, plot development, and pacing that is applicable to any genre. A reviewer criticized the book for being light on thriller. I disagree: thriller is nothing more than suspense as a function of plot and sub-plot paced out, and Carolyn Wheat explains that very clearly. Before you read the book cover to cover, open up to pages 60-61, where she explains the 4-Part Arc System. Yes, read the rest of the book, but laminate these two pages. The author leaves it up to you as to how you best to demonstrate those principles so that it is not paint-by-numbers. The principles are sound. As for her Arc System, my only quibble is about the use of flashbacks. I think that readers are smart; some are visual learners, while others are auditory and kinesthetic, so flashbacks should be used with care. Engage all the senses -- that is my point. Also, the non-linear narrative structure can work in the hands of a master, but is clumsy in the hands of someone less competent (I used flashback twice in my Roma Series (Roma, Underground, Chapters 5 and 14, and there I took a chance, because neither section advanced the plot, but it conveyed a lot about the characters and their values). Wheat points readers to contemporary entertainment (Law & Order, for one example) and lists must-read authors in the mystery-suspense-thriller genre. In short, the book gives sound advice and is a master-class of the ARC System and variations on a theme. Again, it isn’t about Genre: a good story well told is a good story, and that, my friends, requires good writing. Period.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Robert

    I have always been fascinated by books. Be it reading one, writing one, or just simply holding one in my hands, knowing that the information it withholds has a lot more value than its physical appearance would suggest. For some, this value is unmatched, for others it is never revealed. For Carolyn Wheat, author of How to Write Killer Fiction, it is undoubtedly the first. Even for those whose main genre of choice happens not to be mystery, she provides a clear, enjoyable read. Before I opened the b I have always been fascinated by books. Be it reading one, writing one, or just simply holding one in my hands, knowing that the information it withholds has a lot more value than its physical appearance would suggest. For some, this value is unmatched, for others it is never revealed. For Carolyn Wheat, author of How to Write Killer Fiction, it is undoubtedly the first. Even for those whose main genre of choice happens not to be mystery, she provides a clear, enjoyable read. Before I opened the book, my first thought was that this is going to be either a huge list of instructions with some thrown-in examples, or a collection of advices coming from famous authors, who we could never identify with, unless one of them happens to be our favourite. Even then, a few years later, working on our first book, we could hardly recall any usable information. After finishing the first chapter, I realized with delight that I was wrong: it was neither of these. The book is well thought-out, and it might worth reading. I was not disappointed. Drawing on the author's own experiences and existing books, it is full of great advice on almost every aspect of mystery writing, trying to accomodate for the most common writer types. Avoiding typical mistakes, devising plot, clues, characters, settings, even sub genres: it is all included. The style is fluid and flowing, the examples are easy to follow. Parts of a mystery novel is revealed drop by drop, and if we have never felt fascination for any mystery author, this is surely going to change now. As a bonus, we even get an insight into editing and publishing, and declaring a book "finished". The best part, however, is that even those who think that writing should come from inside, without using the already accepted rules of this particular genre are not forced to follow all of this. These are not set rules. This book is here to help, but if you know what works for you, as the author says, "toss it away and write from your gut".

  11. 5 out of 5

    John

    I saw this book on the website of a local bookstore. I've been interested in learning more about the mystery and suspense forms for a while. The summary caught my eye, so I went down to the store and picked it up. I found the prose direct and to the point. Wheat organized the book in a format that is easy to follow and brings the reader the sought after information rather rapidly. The book does not skimp on details though. She is thorough with providing examples, explanations and reviewing inform I saw this book on the website of a local bookstore. I've been interested in learning more about the mystery and suspense forms for a while. The summary caught my eye, so I went down to the store and picked it up. I found the prose direct and to the point. Wheat organized the book in a format that is easy to follow and brings the reader the sought after information rather rapidly. The book does not skimp on details though. She is thorough with providing examples, explanations and reviewing information to reinforce her point. Wheat addresses the forms of mystery and suspense separately, dividing each into four arcs. Once she is through talking about the two genres, she talks about different writing styles: Outlines and Blank-Pagers. The strengths and weakness of each are discussed in detail. I found this section to be particularly enlightening, as I have tried both forms in my effort to find my own rhythm. Her insight hit home. This is a great book to add to a writer's library. I would not limit it to mystery or suspense writers, but those who seek to understand these genres for their own enrichment. For me, the book was a good buy.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Cherese A. Vines

    How To Write Killer Fiction by Carolynn Wheat is an excellent introduction to writing mystery and suspense novels. I was only vaguely aware that mystery and suspense could be two distinctive types of works though closely related. In a mystery, whatever kind, there is a puzzle for the hero to solve. In a suspense, it is a "nightmare" for the hero to survive and come out a changed person. There have been a few books that merged both types, but for the most part they stay separate. Wheat is very rea How To Write Killer Fiction by Carolynn Wheat is an excellent introduction to writing mystery and suspense novels. I was only vaguely aware that mystery and suspense could be two distinctive types of works though closely related. In a mystery, whatever kind, there is a puzzle for the hero to solve. In a suspense, it is a "nightmare" for the hero to survive and come out a changed person. There have been a few books that merged both types, but for the most part they stay separate. Wheat is very readable, clear and entertaining as she talks you through what makes a mystery a mystery and suspense a suspense. The only thing I was lost on was arcs. But this was not a book about the technical parts of writing like arcs and characterizations and themes. This book teaches the parts of the journey that a mystery/suspense hero makes and how to keep your readers interested and guessing how the hero will solve the crime and/or make it to the end. I highly recommend this to any fiction writer. It has a lot of good advice that crosses genre lines. I borrowed this book from the library. I've had it for like 2 months. I'm going to go buy my own copy. This is a great writing tool!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Michael Atencio

    I own just about every how-to book on writing mysteries, horror and thrillers. I've bought them mostly from Writer's Digest How To collection, Amazon.com or from a local bookstore. My library is extensive to say the least and I've read them all piecemeal or completely depending upon what I needed at the moment. That's why I was surprised with How To Write Killer Fiction by Carolyn Wheat. Of all the books I own, most turn out to be vague reference tomes that resemble each other literally. Especia I own just about every how-to book on writing mysteries, horror and thrillers. I've bought them mostly from Writer's Digest How To collection, Amazon.com or from a local bookstore. My library is extensive to say the least and I've read them all piecemeal or completely depending upon what I needed at the moment. That's why I was surprised with How To Write Killer Fiction by Carolyn Wheat. Of all the books I own, most turn out to be vague reference tomes that resemble each other literally. Especially the Writer's Digest set. This book wonderfully explains the nuances of mystery writing for the novice up to the expert. If you buy this reference work, you'll have made a great investment to your collection as well to your writing skill sets of fiction, mystery and horror. An absolute must have for new authors of any genre.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jaime

    I didn’t exactly read this cover to cover, but it gave me a lot to think about when it comes to mystery and suspense and the differences between them. It contained some of the best explanation and examples of different genres that I’ve seen. I’m always on the lookout for some sort of definitive list of genres to use as categories on my blog, and this gave me a good place to start. It also helped me narrow down what exactly I’m trying to write. This was a good Kindle purchase, and I’m sure I will I didn’t exactly read this cover to cover, but it gave me a lot to think about when it comes to mystery and suspense and the differences between them. It contained some of the best explanation and examples of different genres that I’ve seen. I’m always on the lookout for some sort of definitive list of genres to use as categories on my blog, and this gave me a good place to start. It also helped me narrow down what exactly I’m trying to write. This was a good Kindle purchase, and I’m sure I will use it as a reference in years to come.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Thomas Edmund

    I won't say How to write KILLER Fiction contains the most insightful of writing advice, Most of the book focusses on describing mystery and thriller techniques of tried authors, which is kinda helpful, but also in a sense is telling wanna-authors what NOT to do as this has already been done. There are smatterings of good advice. Towards the end, however, in the 'general' section, KILLER starts to feel like Filler, and I recommend time strapped readers skip this section, unless this is first how-t I won't say How to write KILLER Fiction contains the most insightful of writing advice, Most of the book focusses on describing mystery and thriller techniques of tried authors, which is kinda helpful, but also in a sense is telling wanna-authors what NOT to do as this has already been done. There are smatterings of good advice. Towards the end, however, in the 'general' section, KILLER starts to feel like Filler, and I recommend time strapped readers skip this section, unless this is first how-to write book they've seen, and don't know that adverbs are the black-jelly beans of authoring.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Matt

    This was an absolutely indispensable guide to mystery writing. Anyone who is thinking about writing a mystery should read this book first. There was so much great, practical advice on how both mystery and thriller genres (and sub-genres!) work. She had lots of stuff about how to structure either kinds of these genre stories. She even had a suggested outline for your own story. Really great stuff. If I get my story published I'm going to write a thank-you note to Ms. Wheat.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Denise Hartman

    Several people in writers' circles encouraged me to read this book and I'm glad I bought a copy of my own. It compares mysteries to a funhouse in a carnival and suspense/thrillers to a roller coaster ride. It really helped me clarify which kind of books I'm writing and was a huge benefit in brainstorming some new features in my almost finished book as well as the one I'm outlining and about to start. Good stuff for writers!

  18. 5 out of 5

    Mary Chrapliwy

    This is a very basic book that contains separate sections for mystery, suspense/thrillers, and some basic writing instructions. Even though this book didn't hold any surprises for me, I did get a couple ideas that will likely help me with the current and final revision of my novel. She also stated something so true about writing the middle of your novel, which I've added to my favorite quotes.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Brooke Hargett

    This was a helpful read on the process involved in writing a mystery or a thriller. It had some very helpful condensed and focused suggestions. I recommend it for anyone that's writing something that deals with suspense.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Gail Gibbs

    I had six how-to-write-mysteries books, and finally settled on this one, not because it's better than the others, but because her writing process fits best with my own. Writing is both art and craft, so take time to learn what method works for you. Give yourself permission leave the rest.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Ron

    There are a lot of 'how to' books for writing mystery, but this one distinguishes itself by the discussion of mystery vs suspense vs thriller. Also notable is the discussion of approaches to writing--Outliners vs Blank Pagers.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Graham & Wolf The Uncanny

    We hope to add this one to our collection (we borrowed it from the library), as it has a number of very helpful tips in it. The author discusses both mystery books & suspense novels, both of which we're interested in.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Peter

    Good stuff for writers. I tried reading it in the Kindle edition, but kept getting lost as the publisher made no attempt to modify the book's layout for the digital world. So if you're going to read it, you'll probably want to get it in print.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Brion Salazar

    There is some good insight here. Much more towards the theory and generalities of writing, than specific how to information. I did feel like much of the information was honest talk from a writer as opposed to the common inspirational information you will find in other books on writing.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Gina

    Carolyn Wheat has a way with words. Easy to read with clear examples from popular mysteries. Challenging without being overwhelming.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    Great easy to read book on writing. It seemed like three short books in one - how to write a mystery, how to write suspense, and overall how to write.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Diane Hester

    The best explanation I've seen of the differences between the mystery, suspense and thriller genres.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Joyce Hertzoff

    The best book I've read about how to write a mystery or suspense novel, or any other kind of book for that matter. I highly recommend it to writers.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Jo Anne

    I enjoyed this book and learned some steps. I am using many books for my writing.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Nikko Lee

    Great starter book for anyone entering the realm of mystery and suspense fiction writing. It answered my beginner questions and gave me some great ideas about building tension.

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