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Writing and Selling Your Mystery Novel Revised and Expanded Edition, 2nd Edition by Sara Paretsky, Hallie Ephron

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Chapter 1

The Premise

“Anyone who ever waited for the great inspiration to strike is still waiting to write her first book or short story. I start with an idea, of course; something that intrigues me. Then I start asking myself three questions: Suppose, what if, and why?”

—Mary Higgins Clark

I used to think that I couldn’t write fiction because I’m not very good at making things up. Where would I find ideas?

Then I stumbled across a terrific idea at a yard sale.

It was at a Victorian house with gingerbread-trimmed gables and leaded glass windows. I was peppering the homeowner (a complete stranger) with questions about their recent renovations, and she asked me if I wanted to go inside the house and have a look around. Of course I did.

I was wandering ...

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