August 25, 2015

Writing the Detective Novel

Have you ever wanted to write detective fiction? Here's some assistance from two experts.

First Raymond Chandler offers Ten Commandments for writing a detective novel, available here from Open Culture.

His first rule: 1) It [the novel] must be credibly motivated, both as to the original situation and the dénouement.

Also check out Father Ronald Knox's Ten Commandments for writing detective fiction, here. 

He begins:  The criminal must be someone mentioned in the early part of the story, but must not be anyone whose thoughts the reader has been allowed to follow.  Agatha Christie broke that one quite famously in The Murder of Roger Ackroyd.

Of course, if writing detective novels, or any fiction, were that easy, anybody could do it. Reminds me of the old joke about the aspiring writer who asked a publisher how long novels are supposed to be. Intending to be helpful, she responded, "Oh, about 70,000 words or so." "Great!" he said. "Then I'm done!" 

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