The Rules Of Genre Fiction Genre fiction refers to books that are published widely for popular appeal.
The fifties and sixties had their westerns and sci-fi. Van Dine, pen name of an art critic and editor named Willard Huntington Wright. Chestertonprovided one is clever and experienced enough to circumvent or disregard them. But the novice detective or mystery writer could certainly do worse than take the advice below from one of T.
It is more — it is a sporting event.
And for the writing of detective stories there are very definite laws — unwritten, perhaps, but none the less binding; and every respectable and self-respecting concocter of literary mysteries lives up to them.
Herewith, then, is a sort Credo, based partly on the practice of all the great writers of detective stories, and partly on the promptings of the honest author's inner conscience. The reader must have equal opportunity with the detective for solving the mystery.
All clues must be plainly stated and described. No willful tricks or deceptions may be placed on the reader other than those played legitimately by the criminal on the detective himself.
There must be no love interest. The business in hand is to bring a criminal to the bar of justice, not to bring a lovelorn couple to the hymeneal altar.
The detective himself, or one of the official investigators, should never turn out to be the culprit. This is bald trickery, on a par with offering some one a bright penny for a five-dollar gold piece.
The culprit must be determined by logical deductions — not by accident or coincidence or unmotivated confession. To solve a criminal problem in this latter fashion is like sending the reader on a deliberate rules for writing a crime novel agents chase, and then telling him, after he has failed, that you had the object of his search up your sleeve all the time.
Such an author is no better than a practical joker. The detective novel must have a detective in it; and a detective is not a detective unless he detects. His function is to gather clues that will eventually lead to the person who did the dirty work in the first chapter; and if the detective does not reach his conclusions through an analysis of those clues, he has no more solved his problem than the schoolboy who gets his answer out of the back of the arithmetic.
There simply must be a corpse in a detective novel, and the deader the corpse the better. No lesser crime than murder will suffice. Three hundred pages is far too much pother for a crime other than murder. After all, the reader's trouble and expenditure of energy must be rewarded.
The problem of the crime must he solved by strictly naturalistic means. Such methods for learning the truth as slate-writing, ouija-boards, mind-reading, spiritualistic se'ances, crystal-gazing, and the like, are taboo. To bring the minds of three or four, or sometimes a gang of detectives to bear on a problem, is not only to disperse the interest and break the direct thread of logic, but to take an unfair advantage of the reader.
If there is more than one detective the reader doesn't know who his codeductor is. It's like making the reader run a race with a relay team. The culprit must turn out to be a person who has played a more or less prominent part in the story — that is, a person with whom the reader is familiar and in whom he takes an interest.
A servant must not be chosen by the author as the culprit. This is begging a noble question. It is a too easy solution.
The culprit must be a decidedly worth-while person — one that wouldn't ordinarily come under suspicion. There must be but one culprit, no matter how many murders are committed. The culprit may, of course, have a minor helper or co-plotter; but the entire onus must rest on one pair of shoulders: A fascinating and truly beautiful murder is irremediably spoiled by any such wholesale culpability.
To be sure, the murderer in a detective novel should be given a sporting chance; but it is going too far to grant him a secret society to fall back on. No high-class, self-respecting murderer would want such odds.
The method of murder, and the means of detecting it, must be be rational and scientific. Once an author soars into the realm of fantasy, in the Jules Verne manner, he is outside the bounds of detective fiction, cavorting in the uncharted reaches of adventure.
The truth of the problem must at all times be apparent — provided the reader is shrewd enough to see it. By this I mean that if the reader, after learning the explanation for the crime, should reread the book, he would see that the solution had, in a sense, been staring him in the face-that all the clues really pointed to the culprit — and that, if he had been as clever as the detective, he could have solved the mystery himself without going on to the final chapter.
That the clever reader does often thus solve the problem goes without saying. A detective novel should contain no long descriptive passages, no literary dallying with side-issues, no subtly worked-out character analyses, no "atmospheric" preoccupations.
They hold up the action and introduce issues irrelevant to the main purpose, which is to state a problem, analyze it, and bring it to a successful conclusion.S. S. Van Dine's rules for writing detective stories Van Dine's rules are available in full in "Twenty Rules for Writing Detective Stories." What follows are 10 to give you a test of his theory.
Subgenres of mystery include hardboiled, supernatural, crime, true crime, amateur sleuth, police procedural, cozy, and more. Be certain of whether or not you are writing a mystery or a thriller.
The Rules Of Thriller Genre Novels Thrillers are designed to do one thing: thrill. Strong characters, tight plots, and an emphasis on action over flowery prose drive this genre to daring storylines.
Find a literary agent who actively seeks crime novels and new writers. This is an ever-growing database of crime agents and agencies. 47 Things Longmire Author Craig Johnson Taught Me About Writing Fiction.
Feb 20, · A detective novel should contain no long descriptive passages, no literary dallying with side-issues, no subtly worked-out character analyses, no "atmospheric" preoccupations. such matters have no vital place in a record of crime and deduction.
6 thoughts on “ 10 Rules of Writing a Novel ” ezrarye July 24, at am. Question for more knowledgeable folks: Whenever I set up to write a story, it ultimately becomes the story of my life.
47 Rules of Highly Effective Bank Robbers [Troy Cook] on leslutinsduphoenix.com *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. What if your father raised you to be a bank robber? Instead of Barbie & Ken, you played with Smith & Wesson? And now you’re twenty-two and ready to flee the nest. Find a literary agent who actively seeks crime novels and new writers. This is an ever-growing database of crime agents and agencies. 47 Things Longmire Author Craig Johnson Taught Me About Writing Fiction. Ronald Knox: 10 Commandments of Detective Fiction. Ronald Knox was a mystery writer in the early part of the 20 th century who belonged to the Detection Club, a society peopled by such legendary mystery writers as Agatha Christie, Dorothy Sayers, G. K. Chesterson, and E. C. Bentley. Among his novels: The Viaduct Murder, Double Cross Purposes, Still Dead.
The Worst Ways to Begin Your Novel: Advice from Literary Agents.