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Reading List

Here’s a short reading list to get you started.
Novels that Set the Standard
• Plot
o An Unsuitable Job fora Woman by P_D_ James
o The Chill by Ross Macdonald
o Presumed Innocent by Scott Turow
• Character
o Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
o Devilin a Blue Dress by Walter Mosley
o The No. f Ladies’ Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith
• Dialogue
o High Five by Janet Evanovich
o LaBrava by Elmore Leonard
o Looking for Rachel Wallace by Robert B. Parker
• Setting and Description
o Farewell, My Lovely by Raymond Chandler
o Coyote Waits by Tony Hillerman
o Mystic Riverby Dennis Lehane
• Action
o The Hard Way by Lee Child
o Final Jeopardy by Linda Fairstein
o The Day of the Jackal by Frederick Forsyth
• Suspense
o Where Are the Children by Mary Higgins Clark
o Indemnity Only by Sara Paretsky
o Tell No One by Harlan Coben
o The One I Left Behind by Jennifer McMahon
Debut Novels that Became Blockbusters
• The Black Echo by Michael Connelly
When the Bough Breaks by Jonathan Kellerman
• The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
Classics that Define the Genre
The Moonstone (1868) by Wilkie Collins

The Hound of the Baskervilles (1901 ) by Sir Althur Conan Doyle

The Circular Staircase (1908) by Mary Roberts Rinehart

The Roman Hat Mystery (1929) by Ellery Queen

The Maltese Falcon (1930) by Dashiell Hammett

The Murder at the Vicarage (1930) by Agatha Christie

The Nine Tailors (1934) by Dorothy L _ Sayers

Fer-de-Lance (1934) by Rex Stout

Death in Ecstasy (1936) by Ngaio Marsh

The Big Sleep (1939) by Raymond Chandler

• I the Jury (1947) by Mickey Spillane
Brat Farrar (1949) by Josephine Tey

The Talented Mr. Ripley (1955) by Patricia Highsmith

The Laughing Policeman (1968) by Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö

Indemnity Only (1982) by Sara Paretsky

Twice Shy (1982) by Dick Francis

NESTING INSTRUCTIONS
Virginia Woolf said it most eloquently: HA woman must have money and a room of her own if she
is going to write.” In today’s equal-opportunity environment, that adage applies to men as well.
If you’re going to write, I have buo pieces of advice:
• Setup a space for writing.
• Don’t quit your day job unless you have an independent source of income.
When I started writing, I held on to my day job but reduced my hours so I’d have time to write. I
set up my computer at the end of my bedroom and worked there with spotty results. I’d start
writing and end up straightening my underwear drawer.
When my daughters outgrew the small enclosed sunporch that had been their playroom, I turned
that space into my office. I found that once I had a place dedicated to writing, I’d go in there and
write. If I was in my office, everyone in the house knew I was working and to leave me alone.
If you don’t have a spare room, then at least set up a separate space that no one else uses. Get
a folding screen to close yourself off, and to communicate to friends and family: DO NOT
DISTURB. Then set a schedule
Every writer has a different capacity for churning out pages. Robert B. Parker, who was known to
publish three books in a year and still manage to take six months off from writing, once said that
he didn’t quit until he’d written ten pages each day. He wrote five days a week. At that clip, and
because he did very little revision, he was able to finish a novel in six weeks.
Parker’s pace leaves the rest of us in the dust. I work every day, seven days a week, except
when I’m on vacation or on break bebueen books. My self-imposed, daily minimum is 500 words
that’s barely a page and a half. Not a whole lot. But write 500 words a day, every day, and in
six months you’ve got yourself a completed first draft.
Set a minimum goal for each day, placing the bar slightly above what you know you can do
without breaking a sweat. Then stick to it. Set up a writing schedule that suits your biorhythms. I
get up at 7 A. M _ , make myself a cup of coffee, and start writing. By lunchtime, my spark and
creativity for the day are sapped, and I’m pretty much useless as far as writing a first draft goes
though I can still revise and research.
Be sure you have everything you need right there in your office. A computer connected to the
Internet has nearly eliminated the need for those reference books that were once indispensable,
not to mention trips to the library. The encyclopedia, dictionary, Bible, thesaurus, Bartlett’s
Familiar Quotations, and The Elements of Style (Strunk and White), and more are available in
searchable format on Bartleby_com_ Even so, I own physical copies of each. In addition, I have
several handbooks on English usage, guides to forensics and crime scene investigations, a
collection of books about writing, plus my favorite books by my favorite writers.
Here are a few other essentials for creating a space conducive to writing:
• a comfortable desk chair with good back support
• a generous, well-lit work surface
• an electric pencil sharpener (l love this contraption, and though I rarely write in pencil, there’s
something very comforting about having a container full of sharpened pencils.)
• a computer with an Internet connection
• a reliable printer
• a phone (Yes, it’s a source of interruption, but you won’t have to leave the room to answer it.)
Finally, my office wouldn’t be complete without paper fortunes stuck to my wall, saved from years
of eating Chinese takeout because I was writing all day instead of preparing dinner. I read them
whenever I get discouraged. My favorite is at least a decade old and completely faded:
You will succeed in afar out profession.
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If there’s one place where you can see my regular updates, it’s this one. Welcome to my idea dumping ground. This is my warehouse for all the ideas that I get while I do some other important stuffs. Then I revisit this place at my leisure time to work on those sparks.
Found something useful and want to discuss?
Sure! Feel free to connect.