The Question and the Answer: Writing Mysteries (virtual) with Tom Ryan

WEEK ONE: The Question. After a general introduction and discussion of the history and evolution of mysteries and mystery sub-genres, we will jump right into getting started with a killer premise. WEEK TWO: The Investigation. We will examine the mechanics and structural considerations of the mystery genre, while delving into setting, atmosphere, and subtext. WEEK THREE: The Detective. We will focus on characters – witnesses, suspects, victims and villains alike – with special attention on creating a compelling protagonist. WEEK FOUR: The Answer. We will discuss working backward from the big reveal, with special attention paid to misdirection, planting clues, and delivering on the promise of your premise. PLEASE NOTE: this workshop will be a mixture of instruction, discussion and critique. Participants should be prepared to share and discuss their work. Participants are asked to bring a premise or ‘elevator pitch’ to the first class. Examples will be provided in advance of the workshop.

About the instructor: Tom Ryan is the award-winning author of several acclaimed books for young readers. His YA mystery Keep This to Yourself was the winner of the 2020 ITW Thriller Award for Best YA Thriller, the 2020 Arthur Ellis Award for Best YA Crime Book, and the 2021 Ann Connor Brimer Award and was nominated for the Amy Mathers Teen Book Award and the John Spray Mystery Award. His follow-up mystery, I Hope You’re Listening, was the recipient of the 2021 Lambda Literary (‘Lammy’) Award for best LGBTQ Mystery and was nominated for the Arthur Ellis award. Tom and his husband and dog divide their time between Halifax and a probably haunted farmhouse in Cape Breton.

Recommended experience level: Emerging and established writers who have drafted at least one fiction project

Location: Zoom

Dates of 4-week workshop: Tuesdays, Mar 15 + Mar 22 + Mar 29 + Apr 5, 2022 (7:00pm to 9:00pm Atlantic)

Price: At this time, registration for this workshop is restricted to current WFNS members. However, membership is open to all who write or have an interest in writing. (Find out how to join or renew.)

Member Price: $149

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