Mystery and Suspense Writing

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This course covers the essential components of successful fiction writing—compelling openings, characters readers care about, exciting action, seamless plots, stories that endure—with an emphasis on creating suspense and mystery, the elements of fiction that keep readers turning pages. These include using conflict to drive the plot, adding suspense to keep readers on the edge of their seats, and creating mystery so readers keep reading to find out how and why and who. The basic format of the class will be a workshop in which participants are assigned exercises and discuss each other’s writing.

About Con Lehane

Con Lehane is the author of six mystery novels. The latest, Murder Off the Page, the third in The 42nd Street Library Mystery series from Minotaur Books, came out in November. He’s had stories in Alfred Hitchcock and Ellery Queen mystery magazines and is the author of the Brian McNulty bartender mysteries.

Teaching Style: Con's teaching style is student-centered and participatory. He believes it's not always easy to develop the voice and craft you need to convey the story you want to write. But it’s absolutely impossible to do it if you don’t start writing—an unwritten manuscript can't be improved, a written one, however rudimentary, can be improved. Be prepared to do a lot of writing and not much sitting back listening. Expect nudges in the direction of some tried-and-true approaches to mystery and suspense writing, much encouragement, and some surprises at what you may come up with.


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