There’s a line from the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical The King and I,
that goes “… as a teacher you’ll be taught.” I’ve learned that
lesson many times as I’ve taught classes in History or various health
strategies or painting and drawing. I’m learning it again now that I’m
‘officially’ a writer. I’m in the middle of preparing a PowerPoint presentation for my writing group on how to write a mystery novel, and the process of creating the presentation has forced me to consider all the steps involved withcreating a book.
It’s not that you can follow a recipe and arrive at a novel. No – but there
is a structure to a novel. There’s plot and characters and setting and the
mysterious connections that mix them all up and result in a story. Hopefully,
one that people will want to read! If you understand the elements of a novel
you have the tools you need to put it all together, if only you can think of
some ideas to set the whole thing in motion.
I hadn’t planned to do anything like this but when the moderator of our
writing group asked what sorts of topics we’d like to see presented this year,
I raised my hand and said, “How about a discussion on how to write a
mystery novel?” He looked at me and said, without missing a beat, “Great.
I’ll put you down for May 11th.” That’ll teach me!