Issue 93: Dark and Twisty: Mystery Writing, Thriller, Horror, Twists, Paranormal, Crime


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Issue 93: Dark & Twisty - Writing Mystery, Thriller, Twists, Horror, Crime Fiction, Paranormal, and More

EDITOR’S DESK

    WELCOME TO ISSUE 93: DARK & TWISTY

Readers love a jaw-dropping twist—a shocking surprise that you didn’t see coming; and yet, the entire story suddenly makes sense because the author carefully crafted it from the beginning. A twist so breathtaking that the book is embedded in your heart and soul for years to come. Who doesn’t want that? Both writers and readers do! In this issue of WOW, Our writers not only talk about twists but dissect them for craft elements, examine different types of twists, and explore all the tools that go hand-in-hand with twists: plotting, pacing, tension, suspense, release, downtime, and more. Twists are not easy to pull off, and writing a twist takes all the tools in a writer’s toolkit; so, in this issue, we break out all the plotting tools to help you begin building your novel house.MORE >>

     

FLASH FICTION CONTEST

    FALL FLASH FICTION CONTEST WITH GUEST JUDGE LITERARY AGENT CARI LAMBA

Do you need some writing inspiration? Contests are a great way to spark your creativity, and you may even win a prize! Get your best work together and consider entering the WOW! quarterly flash fiction contest with guest judge, literary agent Cari Lamba with the Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency. Stop by the contest page, download the pdf guidelines, and read all about Kaitlyn’s preferences. The Summer Contest is open to all genres of fiction between 250 - 750 words. Only 300 stories are accepted, so enter early to ensure your spot in the contest. Over $1350 in cash prizes. Deadline: November 30, 2019. MORE >>

     

CREATIVE NONFICTION ESSAY CONTEST

    CREATIVE NONFICTION ESSAY CONTEST

WOW! is proud to introduce our newest essay contest! Writers have been asking us to host an essay contest for many years, and we’ve finally listened. The mission of this essay contest is to inspire creative nonfiction and provide well-rewarded recognition to contestants. The contest is open globally; age is of no matter; and entries must be in English. Your story must be true, but the way you tell it is your chance to get creative. We are open to all styles of essay—from personal essay to lyric essay to hybrid essay, and beyond! Word Count: 200 – 1,000 words. Only 300 stories are accepted, so enter early to ensure your spot in the contest. 1st Place: $500. Deadline: January 31, 2020. MORE >>

     

WRITING WORKSHOPS & ONLINE CLASSES

    WOW! WOMEN ON WRITING CLASSROOM

Whether you are looking to boost your income or work on your craft, we know that education is an important part of a writer’s career. That’s why WOW! handpicks qualified instructors and targeted classes that women writers will benefit from. All of the courses operate online and are taught one-on-one with the instructor and in a workshop. The flexibility of the platform allows students to complete assignments on their own time and work at their own pace in the comfort of their own home. Visit the classroom page and check out our current line up of workshops: creative nonfiction writing, personal essay, memoir, fiction writing, writing for children, screenwriting, playwriting, ghostwriting, freelance writing, blogging, author platform, independent publishing, poetry writing, copy editing, travel writing and more. MORE >>

     

ISSUE 93: FEATURES

  1. WHY WOMEN CRIME WRITERS ARE KILLING IT

Female-written crime has been leading us down some very dark, twisty alleyways of late. Rather than following in the vein of Agatha Christie’s Art Deco murders, women are opting for something far more ominous: the crime thriller. This trend has been most notably cemented by the successes of Gone Girl (Gillian Flynn) and The Girl on the Train (Paula Hawkins). Rosie MacLeod chats with authors Mel McGrath, Cass Green, Sharon Bolton, and Angela Clarke about how they use the fears that drive them as fuel for their stories. MORE >>

     
  2. HOW TO WRITE FICTION THAT KEEPS READERS UP AT NIGHT

“I was in bed exhausted at 3:00 A.M., eyes burning with tears rolling out, but I could not put this book down! It kept me at the edge of my seat...there were so many unexpected & exciting twists & turns.” This was an Amazon review for my novel, Emergence, but echoes what fans say about my paranormal romance Voodoo Butterfly Series as a whole. Obviously, I don’t want anyone to lose sleep—or their job—because of my work, but I do want to keep readers turning the page. I accomplish this in my genre fiction by building a dynamic plot with engaging characters in the drafting process. Then during revision, I sprinkle in the details that make my story pop on the page. Checking for these three important elements (plot, characters, and details) over the course of my writing process ensures that I keep readers’ attention. By paranormal author Camille Faye. MORE >>

     
  3. AN INTERVIEW WITH D.M. PULLEY, THRILLER NOVELIST AND MASTER STORYTELLER

The genres of crime fiction, mystery, and horror are fascinating and have become immensely popular. As someone who has been turned off from going to bed with nightmares, I finally understood my push-pull relationship to the dark world of horror. There’s something alluring in terms of how the storytelling works. And wouldn’t you know it... I talked with D.M. Pulley for WOW’s dark and twisty issue after meeting her at a Cleveland writing workshop. What synchronicity! D. M. is the winner of the 2014 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award. Since then, Pulley has sold over a half million books worldwide, and her work has been translated into eight different languages. In this interview, Dorit Sasson chats with D.M. Pulley about the writing blunders when attempting to write crime fiction and horror, the key ingredients for writing tension and suspense, uncovering your fears, the differences in the genres of crime writing/horror/paranormal/thriller, her favorite writing craft books, and publishing tips. MORE >>

     
  4. TENSION & TWISTS

Tension and suspense can be described as the sensation of uncertainty and anticipation in the reader. Without them, your reader is uninterested and uninvolved in your story—cardinal sins where any work of fiction is concerned. The best part of a tension and twists are that your readers will invest themselves in it mentally, emotionally, and possibly even physically (if you can make them cry or bite their nails, you’ve got them hook, line, and sinker!). You’ve created a net the readers won’t want to get out of until they know everything, and they’ll feel like they’re leaving a piece of themselves behind each time they reluctantly set the book down—especially that last time when they read “The End.” Award-winning author Karen S. Wiesner shows you how to create tension, suspense, and twists in your fiction. MORE >>

     
  5. STRADDLING TWO WORLDS OF CRIME AND MYSTERY WRITING WITH FRANKIE Y. BAILEY

Frankie Y. Bailey knows crime. She’s a professor in the School of Criminal Justice at the University at Albany and has written both nonfiction and fictional crime and mystery books. Her first published book was the scholarly, Out of the Woodpile: Black Characters in Crime and Detective Fiction, and her mystery novels feature Southern-born crime historian, Lizzie Stuart, in five books, beginning with Death’s Favorite Child. Frankie’s two near-future police procedurals feature Albany police detective, Hannah McCabe in The Red Queen Dies and What the Fly Saw (Minotaur Books). Christy O’Callaghan interviews Frankie about crafting her characters, writing police procedurals and whodunits, plotting and pantsing, her surprisingly easy road to publication, her work with Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime, and her biggest writing influences. MORE >>

     
  6. HOW TO TWIST LIKE AGATHA CHRISTIE

I love Agatha Christie and Golden Age mysteries; and since I started writing a murder mystery myself, I’ve been trying to work out how Agatha did it (or dunnit?!). I’ve had to act like a detective and look carefully at her novels to find clues. So now, I decided I’d share with you how to write a Christie-like plot twist. Learn Agatha Christie’s plot devices and why her twists are so memorable, including “Everybody Dunnit,” “Misdirection,” “Setting and Confinement,” “Stately Homes,” “Transportation,” and more. By Louise Tondeur.  MORE >>

     
  7. ANALYZING THE TWIST ENDING OF SE7EN AND THE SIXTH SENSE

Who doesn’t love a twist ending? The fantastic ones often win awards and keep people talking for years. When writing, how do you present the twist ending, so it has the biggest payoff for your readers? To figure this out, let’s look at two very different hit movies that had brilliant twist endings: Se7en written by Andrew Kevin Walker and The Sixth Sense written by M. Night Shyamalan. Michelle Cornish shows us two very different types of twists: one that uses repetition and a pattern-style setup, and one that uses POV and an alternate perspective. MORE >>

     
  8. WE SPEAK FOR THE DEAD: THE CREATION OF A WRITING CONFERENCE ALL ABOUT CRIME

Can you imagine attending a police academy? One where you get to see and touch police equipment, examine evidence and a grave with a forensic anthropologist, learn the art of interrogation, mingle with FBI agents, and more? That’s what Renee Roberson did by going to MurderCon, a four-day conference for writers put on by the Writers’ Police Academy. Renee chats with the founder of the conference, Lee Lofland, a former law enforcement officer and author of Police Procedure and Investigation: A Guide for Writers, who shares how he created this conference that’s so important to crime writers who want to write authentically. Renee also chats with Sherry Harris, an Agatha Award-nominated author and president of Sisters in Crime, about her experiences attending the conference. If you’re a crime writer, a conference like this is gold and something you probably won’t find elsewhere! MORE >>

     
  9. THIS WRITER’S FAVORITE THRILLER TWISTS: FROM GONE GIRL TO THE PARTNER

If you’re a thriller writer stuck on your next work or can’t find an idea that excites you, studying thrillers you’re a fan of is bound to ignite the inspiration you need. I picked my favorite twists from four thrillers. I (re)read these books at lightning speed, envied the writers’ imagination and skill, and learned quite a few lessons on how to pull off even the most insane twists. (To get the best experience from this article, I recommend reading the books in their entirety. And since I’ll feature many spoilers, you might want to return to the article after reading: The 500 by Matthew Quirk, The Partner by John Grisham, The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins, and Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. By Pinar Tarhan. MORE >>

     
  10. MYSTERY MARKETS THAT PAY WRITERS

Mysteries and thrillers make up the second most popular genre of books after romance. The subgenres span from cozy to noir, hardboiled to police procedural, thriller to suspense, paranormal to spy, and more! If you write short form mysteries, you&rquo;re in luck. We’ve listed a number of paying markets that don’t charge submission fees. Happy submitting! MORE >>

     
  11. SUMMER 2019 FLASH FICTION WINNERS

The results are in! After careful deliberation our honorable guest judge, literary agent Kaitlyn Johnson with the Corvisiero Literary Agency, has made her final decisions. Read the winning stories of the 750 words or less Summer 2019 Flash Fiction Competition. MORE >>

     
  12. Q4 2019 CREATIVE NONFICTION ESSAY CONTEST WINNERS

Check out the results of our latest essay contest! Read the winning essays of the 1,000 words or less Q4 2019 Essay Competition. MORE >>

ISSUE 92: FEATURES

  1. I WANT TO WRITE A SERIES. NOW WHAT?

Following a series can become a relentless obsession and it’s the hallmark of why readers read series, why writers write them, and why publishers publish them. The mania is spreading. So, how do you get started? Whether you’ve been pondering starting your own or you’ve finished a first book and don’t want to let go, there are a lot of things to work out when writing a fiction series. By Karen S. Wiesner. MORE >>

     
  2. JESSICA BELL: PEEKING BEHIND THE CURTAIN OF INDIE AND SELF-PUBLISHING

Being successful in indie or self-publishing isn’t as simple as printing words on a page. In Christy O’Callaghan’s interview with Jessica Bell, she explains the importance of being an “authorpreneur” and the need for both good writing and good business practices. Not only is she prolific in her creative pursuits, but she exemplifies the word hustle.  MORE >>

     
  3. HOW TO FINANCE YOUR SELF-PUBLISHING EFFORTS THROUGH CROWDSOURCING

Let’s face it: Making a decent living writing only through projects that excite you is hard. Many writers have day jobs or dabble in part-time work. Some are freelancers. Quite a few have been successfully utilizing crowdfunding to bring their works to life, which enables them to finance their projects via the help of supporters, who in turn get exclusive rewards depending on the level of their support. Fascinated by the concept, Pinar Tarhan talked to eight writers—Melissa Frey, Amy Zellmer, Bethany Atazadeh, Joanna Penn, Maxima Kahn, Ksenia Anske, Katie Li, and Jas Rawlinson—who have mastered Patreon, Kickstarter, and Chuffed. They touched on what drew them to each platform and shared their tips on how they create content and rewards for supporters of different financial levels and market their crowdfunding campaigns. MORE >>

     
  4. 6 PROGRAMS THAT AUTHORS SHOULD START USING TODAY

A difficulty for authors is knowing what programs are best to use, especially when investing money. The six programs in this article—Book Report, Publisher Rocket, Book Brush, Book Funnel, Book Marketing Tools, and Book Review Targeter—are ones that author Kia Carrington-Russell has used and would recommend to you to help you with your marketing goals and to gain more readers and book sales.  MORE >>

     
  5. THE REALITY OF SELF-PUBLISHING IN TODAY’S PUBLISHING ENVIRONMENT: INTERVIEW WITH VIKI WINTERTON

Writing and publishing a book in today’s ever-changing publishing landscape is a challenging endeavor. How an author decides to bring one's work into the world is now a complicated publishing and business decision. Given there are so many ways to get published, Dorit Sasson decided to ask Viki Winterton, founder of Expert Insights Publishing, questions about self-publishing and promotion to help authors understand the issues in terms of what is the best chance of success for your book. Viki and Dorit discuss how to decide if a traditional publisher can offer you more than you can offer yourself with self-publishing, as well as the importance of creative control, building a platform around your book, and more. MORE >>

     
  6. HOW TO USE SMALL AMAZON CATEGORIES FOR BIG SALES

Want a number one bestselling book? Instead of thinking big, an even better idea is to think small. Very small. In the entertainment business, it’s called niche. On Amazon, this magical world is simply called categories. And using the right one may help you climb the charts to number one. By Jane Ford. MORE >>

     
  7. AN AUTHOR’S GUIDE TO BOOK BLOGGERS

Authors, have you ever asked a book blogger to review your book? If handled in a professional, mutually supportive way, a book blogger can be part of a long-term relationship of support and growth for an author. So, before you Google search “book bloggers” and email one hundred random ones, asking if they can review your book, there are a few things you should keep in mind. To build this guide, I reached out to the book blogging community and asked for their insights, too. Hopefully, after reading this, you will be able to successfully approach book bloggers and gain some much-needed attention on your book. MORE >>

     
  8. FROM GRIEF AND REJECTION TO SUCCESS IN SELF-PUBLICATION WITH WRITER/EDITOR PATRICIA A. NUGENT

Making the choice to self-publish is a big step and a massive undertaking. Patricia A. Nugent not only self-published one book but went on to edit and self-publish an anthology and has done well with both. Christy O’Callaghan and Patricia discuss why she chose self-publishing for her book about caring for her dying parents, what it was like to work as an editor, how she has sold more copies than she ever imagined, and much more. MORE >>

     

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Why Women Crime Writers Are Killing It
How to Write Fiction That Keeps Readers Up at Night
D.M. Pulley, Thriller Novelist and Master Storyteller
Mystery Markets that Pay Writers
How to Twist Like Agatha Christie
Frankie Y. Bailey: Straddling Two Worlds of Crime and Mystery Writing
Tension and Twists by Karen S. Wiesner
We Speak for the Dead: The Creation of a Writing Conference All About Crime
Analyzing the Twist Ending in Se7en and The Sixth Sense
This Writer’s Favorite Thriller Twists: From Gone Girl to The Partner
How to Finance Your Self-Publishing Efforts Through Crowdsourcing
How to Plan a Fiction Series by Karen S. Wiesner
Jessica Bell: Peeking Behind the Curtain of Indie and Self-Publishing
6 Programs that Authors Should Start Using Today
Viki Winterton: Self-Publishing in Today’s Publishing Environment
How to Use Small Amazon Categories for Big Sales
From Grief and Rejection to Success with Writer/Editor Patricia A. Nugent
An Author’s Guide to Book Bloggers
Michelle Dim-St. Pierre Helps Us Explore Hybrid Publishing
Lyric Essays and the Power of Language to Transform: An interview with Chauna Craig, editor of Atticus Review
Switch it up! Literary Magazines Seeking Unusual and Uncommon Stories
Elena M. Stiehler, Editor of The Sonder Review
Historical Fiction in Verse: Marilyn Nelson, Stephanie Hemphill, Melanie Crowder
To Submit or Not Submit? Interview with Becky Tuch, Founder of The Review Review
On Lyric Essaying and Casting On
Utilizing the Media with Marybeth Niederkorn
Three Types of Lyric Poetry to Fire Up Your Writing Practice
Pitch this Exceptional Breed to Get the Best Freelance Clients
 
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