Book Review: Mystery

I had the hardest time trying to decide if Mystery by John Hamilton should be a book review or a weekend workshop. The truth is, it barely qualifies as either. 26 pages long is an episode of Scooby Doo which is what I was doing while reading it, cuddling with my son while he watched Scooby Doo. I ordered this book thinking it might be a fun resource next year when I’m doing Nano to Publish with the kids at the coop.

It was an extremely generic look at writing the genre of mystery fiction. It included such helpful tidbits as:

-Setting is very important…it almost becomes one of the characters if well written. No information on how to write it well though.

-Get your ideas everywhere, the hard is turning an idea into a story. No information on how to turn an idea into a story.

-Write every day.

-Don’t plagiarize.

-Characters: hero, villain, secondary characters. Give them flaws.

-Write dialogue that isn’t obvious. If a character’s been shot don’t have him say “I’ve been shot.” Have him say something unexpected like, “Take care of my dog.”

-Have your hero solve his own problems.

-Rewrite your book a lot. No suggestion to find others to beta read, line edit, or anything of the such.

-You’ll probably be rejected if you try to find a publisher but don’t give up, you have talent.

Oy vey. This book was certainly aimed at a younger audience but when I imagine my teenage self reading this, I’m insulted. It’s like giving instructions to boil water in a cook book. I heat the water, you say, until it bubbles, damn I never knew that. I want in depth explanations on how to make a good mystery work, not platitudes to paper the inside of my hamster cage with.

℘℘ 2 pages – I guess. I finished it so I can’t really call it a one pager.


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