Craig Rice on “How To Write a Mystery Novel”

A bestselling mystery author reveals all.

The ever-cheeky Craig Rice had a slew of bestselling mysteries under her belt, including such classics as The Big Budget MurdersHaving a Wonderful Crime and Home Sweet Homicide, when she appeared on the cover of Time — the first mystery writer to do so. But it wasn’t the first time she was mentioned in a national magazine — she herself offered the following writing advice in the November 1944 issue of The Writer.

How Does One Write a Mystery Novel?

An easy question, and easily answered.

Put a clean sheet of paper in the typewriter. At the top (some prefer the upper right-hand corner) type page one. Type the title, and your name, in the center of the page. (Never mind your address. Put that on a separate page, and on your letter to the editor. They’ll get the manuscript back to you safely, don’t worry.) Type Chapter One  in the center of the page, about four spaces under your name. Then skip about six pages.

From there on, you’re on your own.

See? Nothing to it.

Respectfully presented by Kevin Burton Smith.

2 thoughts on “Craig Rice on “How To Write a Mystery Novel”

  1. Well, I’ll be damned, you made me remember an author whose books I really like and couldn’t find for a long time. I’ve seen a movie based on one of her books (funny, as I remember), and actually found one or two books in libraries. Hadn’t been able to find any more and just kind of gave up. Low and behold, your article pops up in my email, I thinks “Hmmmm…”, trots over to Ama-robyou-zon, and there they are! Now I can buy them for my very own! Thank you. I’ve been reading your blog for a month or so, can’t remember where I found the the link but I saw one mention on either pulpscans or pbscans so you are getting around now! I like what you’ve been doing and it’s been great to see reviews of new and old series. Keep up the good work!

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