O'Reilly logo

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

Stay ahead with the world's most comprehensive technology and business learning platform.

With Safari, you learn the way you learn best. Get unlimited access to videos, live online training, learning paths, books, tutorials, and more.

Start Free Trial

No credit card required

Chapter 17

Creating a Sense of Place

“In many cases, when a reader puts a story aside because ‘it got boring,’ the boredom arose because the writer grew enchanted with his powers of description and lost sight of his priority, which is to keep the ball rolling.”

—Stephen King

Mystery readers are looking for great plots and interesting characters. If you include too much detailed description of places and things, the reader is likely to skip ahead, looking for action.

Still, a strong sense of place can catapult your novel from just okay to great. Readers relish revisiting the settings as well as the characters in some of today’s best-selling mystery fiction. Examples include Carl Hiaasen’s Miami, Craig Johnson’s Wyoming, and Donna Leon’s Venice. ...

With Safari, you learn the way you learn best. Get unlimited access to videos, live online training, learning paths, books, interactive tutorials, and more.

Start Free Trial

No credit card required