Top 10 IN Resources: Mystery Just the facts, ma'am...
By Sarah E. White
There’s just something about this time of year (in the Northern Hemisphere, anyway) that causes people’s thoughts to turn to a day on the beach, stretched out in the warm sun reading a fun book. Romances and mysteries are the most popular books by sales, and they’re probably the most popular for beach reads, too (though you’d be much more likely to find me with Michael Cunningham or Nick Horby if you were to find me on the beach).
But I live in Arkansas, horribly landlocked and too far from any beach to seriously consider beach reads. Maybe I’ll write a mystery instead of reading one. Following are the top ten resources for mysterywriters, in no particular order.
Mystery Writers of America http://www.mysterywriters.org/ The granddaddy of all mystery writing groups, the Mystery Writers of America award the Edgars each year. The site offers news, a library and links that are free, and more information for members. Check out “The Routine Autopsy” in the library to bring a little realism to your work.
Sisters in Crime http://www.sistersincrime.org/ Another great mystery writing organization, Sisters in Crime boasts more than 3,000 members around the world. The group’s site offers networking opportunities, links to authors and books by members, ways to make connections with local chapters and links to other mystery writing sites and mystery-filled bookstores.
Crime and Mystery Resources http://writingcorner.com/resources/crimeandmystery.htm To bring an air of verisimilitude to your work, check out these links from Writing Corner. From information about serial killers to law links to communities of crime writers, this small list will give you lots of ideas for your next grisly murder scene or the details for your police procedural.
The Thrilling Detective http://www.thrillingdetective.com/ A fun online magazine about all things mystery, this site isn’t about writing per se, but can provide a lot of information and inspiration to aspiring detective fiction writers. The site features information about movies, television and radio as well as comics, fiction and nonfiction, book reviews, classified ads and more.
Clue Lass http://www.cluelass.com A news source for information from the world of mystery writing, Clue Lass also features the Mysterious Home Page, full of links to authors, publishers, magazines, awards and a writers guide, among other information. The mystery FAQ will help you tell a hardboiled from a cozy and explain what’s up with all the Latin words.
Mystery Net http://www.mysterynet.com/ If you’re looking to hone your crime solving skills, head over to Mystery Net, where you can solve mysteries devised by other members, or even leave your own stories for members to try and solve. There are daily and monthly challenges, as well as forums for discussing great writers, shows, books and more.
Guide to Classic Mystery http://members.aol.com/MG4273/classics.htm This bare bones site is a reader’s guide to classic mystery, from Edgar Alan Poe to MacKinlay Kantor. Divided into time period and influence sections, the site also offers essays on the mystery canon and lists of contemporary authors, short mystery fiction and children’s mysteries, among other guides to the genre.
Detective Writing Rules http://gaslight.mtroyal.ab.ca/vandine.htm Every genre has rules, and this article from Gaslight spells out 20 rules for detective fiction. It offers a good basic grounding in what to do and not to do in mystery writing. For instance, rule 11: A servant must not be chosen by the author as the culprit.
Mystery Writing Tips http://sleuths2die4.thewriters.com/writingtips.htm This page, part of the sleuths2die4 site, provides 13 questions about mystery writing answered by five mysterious ladies. Many of these questions and answers apply to writers of all genres, so check this one out even if you’re not into mystery writing. The site is also a promotional vehicle for these five authors.
Ultimate Mystery Guide http://magicdragon.com/UltimateMystery/index.html With more than 3,000 links to stories, bookstores, publishers, news, authors, magazines, games and more, this site is truly a one-stop shop for anything you want to know about the world of mystery. It’s not been updated recently, so you may find some dead links, but there are lots of great resources here.