Literary mysteries: The 20 rules for writing a detective novel | MPR News

In the 1920s, S.S. Van Dine put forth 20 rules about detective stories. He said no love interests, no supernatural elements and no crazy twists. Do his rules hold up?

Source: Literary mysteries: The 20 rules for writing a detective novel | MPR News

The Official Page of Rachel Howzell Hall

 

Thanks so much for all of your writing insights at the Johnson County Public Library Writers conference.

Who am I?

Rachel was born in Los Angeles, California fifteen days after Paul McCartney announced the split of the Beatles. As a child, she kept a pen in her hand, writing everywhere—in notebooks, on loose-leaf paper, in her big brother’s prep-school yearbook and on the back of church bulletins. But never on walls, buildings or freeway overpasses. That is graffiti.

For four years, she lived in the forest at UC Santa Cruz. There, she received a degree in English and American Literature, and helped to charter the Pi Upsilon Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Incorporated.

She left Santa Cruz in 1992 and returned to Los Angeles. Since then, she has worked a variety of jobs, including for incredible organizations like PEN Center USA West, American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California, City of Hope and Pancreatic Cancer Action Network.

In 2002, her debut novel, A QUIET STORM, was published by Scribner to great notice, including reviews from O Magazine and Publishers Weekly, with a starred review from Library Journal and also chosen as a “Rory’s Book Club” selection, the must-read book list for fictional television character Rory Gilmore of The Gilmore Girls. She also published two e-novels: THE VIEW FROM HERE and NO ONE KNOWS YOU’RE HERE. In 2014, the first novel in the Detective Elouise Norton series was published, the critically acclaimed LAND OF SHADOWS, which received a starred review in Publishers Weekly and included on LA Times’ ‘143 Books to Read This Summer’ and the UK Telegraph’s ‘Top Ten Crime Books for Summer.’ In 2015, she followed up with the second in the series, SKIES OF ASH. New York Times called Lou Norton “someone you want on your side.” Rachel was also a featured writer on NPR Crime in the City. Currently, she serves on the Board of Directors for the Mystery Writers of America, and

has participated as a mentor in the Association of Writers & Writing Programs’ Writer-to-Writer program.

The next novel in the Detective Elouise Norton series, TRAIL OF ECHOES, will be published in May 2016. She lives with her husband and daughter in Los Angeles, the land of exceptional drought – despite the recent El Nino effect.