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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 14

Dramatizing Scenes and Writing Chapters

“Usually, when people get to the end of a chapter, they close the book and go to sleep. I deliberately write a book so when the reader gets to the end of the chapter, he or she must turn one more page. When people tell me I’ve kept them up all night, I feel like I’ve succeeded.”

—Sidney Sheldon

On the first day of a class I once took on writing fiction, the instructor said, “The most important single piece of advice I have for anyone trying to write a novel is this: Write scenes.” Months later, when I really got what he was talking about, I wrote those words on a Post-It and stuck it to my computer.

Write scenes. In other words, don’t tell the story. Show it. Bring it to life. Make it unfold ...

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