Sure, it's Just My Humble Opinion, but I think crime writers (especially new ones like The Famous Author) should be forced to read Carolyn Wheat's incredibly excellent book on craft, HOW TO WRITE KILLER FICTION.
Are you writing mystery or suspense, people?
From Booklist's Starred Review: "Here, for writers itching to get started (but not quite sure how), is one of the most useful recent guides to crafting words into stories. The author, whose mystery fiction has won a handful of awards, customizes her guide for writers of detective fiction and suspense (although her discussions of plotting and character creation will be valuable to all would-be scribblers, regardless of their chosen genre).
"Wheat begins with an insightful discussion of the distinction between mystery and suspense--each plays to a different part of the reader's imagination and expectations--and then devotes a section to each genre. She offers up plenty of useful tips, such as how to dispense vital information in subtle ways and how to plant clues without being too obvious about it. Where the book really scores, however, is in Wheat's demonstration of how to construct a novel as a series of arcs, each designed to take the reader gracefully to a certain point in the story.
"While covering similar territory, the sections on mystery and suspense approach the material from slightly different angles. The final section, on the writing process, provides a nuts-and-bolts discussion of such fundamentals as outlining, revising, and finding the right voice for your story. There are almost as many writer's guides on the market as there are struggling writers, but this one is indispensable.
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Thanks to Ms. Wheat, Perseverance Press (March 2003), the American Library Assn. and Amazon.