Mystery Writing I — Syllabus

Introduction to Mystery Writing: Origin of mystery stories. Exploration of classic mystery fiction. Exploration of crime fiction. Exploration of true crime stories. Short stories, novels, and series.

Plot: The protagonist—desire and stakes. Antagonist. Twists and turns.

Character: How much to reveal. Character actions. The “Watson character." Heels and villains. Dames and bad girls.

Point of View/Voice: First person. Second person. Third person—various types. Finding a voice.

Dialogue: Compression. Subtext. Dialogue tips. Handling exposition.

Description/Setting: Painting with words. Sensory detail. Establishing time and place. Conveying mood.

Plot II: The main event. Backstory. Raising the stakes. Planting clues. Conventions and clichés. Plot holes. Climax.

Revision/Authenticity: Techniques for revision. Keeping it authentic.

Moral Universe: Stories are set in a moral universe. Understanding and utilizing theme. A moral center. Shades of gray.

The Business: The truth about publishing. The submission process. Selling your work.

Note: Content may vary among individual classes.