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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 21

Puzzling It Out

Writing Reflection

“In mysteries, the penny-drop comes when the sleuth hears, sees, tastes, smells, touches or otherwise experiences something that, when combined (usually mentally) with a fact or facts gleaned earlier, tells the detective that ’til now, everyone has been following false leads.”

—Thomas B. Sawyer, head writer/producer of Murder, She Wrote

A mystery is about solving a puzzle. Puzzle solving requires thinking, so throughout your novel, and especially after suspense and action sequences, take time to pause, turn down the volume, and let your character (and the reader) think about what’s happened so far and put together the clues.

It’s all about getting to the aha moment when the sleuth realizes the significance ...

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