Masterplots Theater: T is for Thriller

Welcome back to Masterplots Theater! Is your story about a someone on a mission to stop a murderer? Great! But do you know whether it’s a thriller or a mystery? If you’re like me, you might have answered, “It’s both — a mystery thriller!” Thing is, I’ve discovered that mysteries and thrillers are not the …
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Writing The Heist Novel: 7 Character Tips

Heist fiction is not easy to write. It’s fast paced and twisty, and it takes a lot of characters. Over the last two Wednesday posts, I’ve been throwing open the vault and letting out all crime writing secrets. If you need to catch up, you can get more help for your story with Tips for …
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Writing a Heist: 5 Tips for Picking the Perfect Loot

As I mentioned last week, I’ve amassed a huge collection of tips on writing a heist. Now, I’m throwing open the vault and letting all my research secrets out. I hope these tips can help my fellow crime writers craft the caper of their dreams. Today it’s all about: The Loot! The prize in a …
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The Mystery of Mysteries: 11+ Elements in a Private Investigator Mystery

I don’t know anyone who would call a private investigator mystery a cozy. Now there might be some, but I am unaware of them. However, Jinx Schwartz has a series with a snarky female PI that is tightly plotted and fun to read. Similarly, in Sue Grafton’s series, the violence is not graphic. I guess …
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The Mystery of Mysteries: 10 Elements of the Caper Mystery

In the dictionary “caper” is to “dance or skip about in a lively or playful way.” The caper mystery is the one that plays most with the mystery genre definition. Capers fit into the cozy mystery category. Think of the movies, “Topkapi” or “Ocean’s 11.” O. Henry’s “The Ransom of Red Chief” is a classic …
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The Mystery of Mysteries: 16 Steps to Writing the Cozy Mystery

The traditional mystery is sometimes referred to as a cozy mystery, as I explained in last month’s The Mystery of Mysteries post on the 12 steps to writing a traditional mystery. However, that seems to be more of a U.K. designation. In the U.S., cozy mysteries have special elements that differentiate them from traditional mysteries. …
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The Mystery of Mysteries: 12 Steps to Writing Traditional Mysteries

Last month, I gave you some homework to be prepared for writing your mystery. If you haven’t yet completed it, there’s still time. To write the mystery that fits your needs, you need to answer these questions. Now on to today’s category: the traditional mystery. Traditional mysteries are reminiscent of mysteries written during the Golden …
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