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Keep Them Guessing: The Art of Mystery Writing (Berkeley)

Five Weeks or One Day (not currently scheduled)
$185 members/$215 others   Berkeley

Testimonials for Elaine

Mysteries are one of the most popular and diverse genres in fiction today.  They sell by the millions and hundreds of authors have established long and successful careers in mystery writing. The contemporary mystery offers immense opportunities for the creation of quirky protagonists, unusual settings, stories with social or political relevance, and even for books that put new twists on the genre or that seem to defy the demands of the genre altogether.  Nevertheless, writing a mystery demands certain key skills and a knowledge of what works in this particular area of fiction.

If you want to try your hand at a mystery novel, or have already started but aren’t sure how to pull it all together, this  five-week class  will get you going and  help you stay on track. ” In each class we’ll look at the  different aspects of successful mysteries,” says instructor Elaine Beale . “The key ingredients are a compelling protagonist, a rich and vivid setting, and, of course, a  plausible, keep-them-guessing-to-the-end plot.  We’ll also look at the tools writers use to create page-turners–by the end of the class participants will know what it takes to write a book that readers (and editors and publishers) do not want to put down.”

The class will also provide opportunities for participants to get feedback on their works-in-progress and exercises to help develop the mystery writer’s skills. “It will be fun, hands-on, and engaging,” says Elaine. “By the end of our five classes, my hope is everyone will feel inspired to write and finish their mystery. I want everyone to leave feeling filled with energy and with a new writing toolkit in hand.”

Elaine Beale’s first novel, Murder in the Castro, was published in 1997, and her second,  Another Life Altogether, was  publiched by Random House in 2010. It  received praise  from the Boston Globe, Lambda Literary,  Curve Magazine, the Bay Area Reporter, and Publishers Weekly  among others, and  was featured in Oprah Magazine as one of the ten must-read books of March 2010. Elaine has taught creative writing for more than a decade. She was the winner of the 2007 Poets and Writers California Writers Exchange Award and has an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of British Columbia.


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