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Top 10 Resources
January, 2008

Easy Way To Write

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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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 
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.

NOTE: To gain free access to all of our writing resources, please register by going to our Sign Up Page or, if you are already registered, you can just login to the database.
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Sarah E. White is a freelance writer and editor living in Arkansas. She is the author of “Doing The Write Thing: The Easy Way to Self-Edit” Visit her on the web at

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Top 10: Perspective
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Top 10: Writer's Slump
Top 10: Moth Mentality
Top 10: Outlandish
Top 10: Illusion
Top 10: Appreciation
Top 10 : Fear

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Writer’s Block
The path to inspiration starts
Upon the trails we’ve known;
Each writer’s block is not a rock,
But just a stepping stone.

Poetry Is Not
Penned to the page
Waiting for us to admire.
It is only a lonely thought
Caught by tears on fire.

Silent Echoes
A quiet rhyme upon a page
Is what a poet gives;
Some gentle words whispered in trust
To see if memory lives.

Bard From Deadlines
What makes a poem finally work
Is not the time it takes;
It’s how the poet used the muse
To prophet from mistakes.

Be Mused
The art and craft of poetry
Are not so far apart;
The craft comes from the cunning,
The rest comes from the heart.

Fine Vintage
Don’t plant your poem on the page
As though you’re hanging drapes;
It’s shape and flow should come and grow
Like wild summer grapes.

Getting It Write
Writers write what they know best,
Their passions, fears, and dreams;
Writers rarely write about
What other call their “themes.”

Double Vision
A writer’s life is paradox,
It’s more than what it seems;
We write of our reality,
The one inside our dreams.

The echo of a promise,
The thunder of a sigh,
The music of a memory,
A child asking why.

Letter Perfect
Twenty six symbols arranged on a page
Can send a soul to heaven or torment it with rage,
Can free a fragile world or hold it in its net--
The power and the magic of the mighty alphabet.

The Write of Passage
The jump from writing just for fun
To getting paid for it
Begins when you first realize
You know you’ll never quit.

It is not the magic of his wings
That sets us free from our bond.
It is the muse within ourselves
That lets our words lift us beyond.

Photo Poet
Consider your mind the darkroom,
Consider your life the lens,
Consider your eye the camera
On whose focus the poem depends.

Rising Moon
A poem is a rising moon
Shining on the sea,
An afterglow of all we know,
Of all we hope to be.

Star Light
Writing a poem,
Reaching a star,
In making good art
We find who we are.

Spider Web
A poem is a spider web
Spun with words of wonder,
Woven lace held in place
By whispers made of thunder.

The final draft upon the screen,
At last my poem’s through;
A verse of only four short lines--
I rewrote twenty-two!

Read All Of Charles Ghigna's Poetry at

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