I have started a blog called mystery-writing, an informal forum for bringing together those who write mysteries and those who love to read them. A site for sharing opinions, insights, enthusiasms, criticisms, and—for writers—an ongoing resource for strengthening their craft and story-telling skills.
Whether voluntarily or in response to commentators’ questions, writers may discuss their processes of creation, what they enjoy about writing, the problems and challenges they’ve encountered in composing their works, notable experiences they’ve had in publishing, self-publishing, or promoting their works, and advice they would give to aspiring mystery-writers.
In addition to dialoguing with authors, readers of mysteries may post criticisms or appreciations of specific books, series, authors (including authors who are participants on this site).
If participants wish, various discussion threads can be followed: the Mystery Genre itself (pure, or mixed with other genres, such as romance, thriller/suspense, horror and the supernatural, science fiction, psychological exploration, exotic locales, political intrigue, true crime), and the genre's history or current trends. Separate threads might focus on various sub-categories, such as Cozy, Hard-Boiled, Humorous, Police Procedural, Amateur Sleuth, Women Investigators, Forensic Science, Locked-Room, Mysteries Set in Historical Periods, Team-Sleuthing, Series versus Stand-Alones, Mysteries Incorporating Specific Features (such as cats, the theatre, food, quilting, sports, Hollywood, circuses, racing, boating, conspiracies, chess, etc.), and Mysteries Intended for Children or Young Adults. Participants may well think of other categories.
Writers may wish to present brief sample passages of new work to solicit participants’ comments and feedback. Readers may wish to make, on various topics, critical statements which might subsequently see formal publication elsewhere. In any case, contributors should always assert their ownership of the material by including copyright notice with the posting: © Jane Doe, 2009. And they should be aware that once something is posted on the Internet for the world to see, it has, in effect, been published and—given the nature of the World Wide Web—has passed from their control.
This forum is not to be conceived as a writers’ workshop, where authors share their work for colleagues’ formal critiques and suggestions for improvement. There are many writing groups available for that.
Although the mystery-writing forum is not primarily a vehicle for self-promotion, authors nonetheless should feel free to promote their books here so that interested participants can be made aware of them and gain access to them. This information may be in the form of notice in the author’s signature-line, or it may be presented in a separate posting with brief description, signed blurb or succinct quote from a review, the book’s price, and where it may be obtained.
To join mystery-writing, go to the home page, click on FOLLOW or ‘Sign In’ in the lower panel of the right-hand side-bar. On the new page that results, create a Google account (very simple: just an e-mail address and a password), and inform me of your desire to have posting privileges. I will formally invite you become a “writer” on the blog, and then you may post at will.
Though I do not consider myself predominantly a mystery author, writing The Farringford Cadenza (which is a mystery—among other things) presented challenges that were stimulating and enjoyable. It seems to me that the peculiar challenges and pleasures which the mystery genre provides for writers and readers alike might well be shared by those who feel an inclination to explore them. This mystery-writing blog is one more forum where this can happen.
Vergil (aka RDS)