by Bethany Maines
Writing is both hard and easy. Like a lot of things,
it's a relatively simple process that is accessible to just about
everyone. Sit, type, repeat, and you've got a book. Also like a lot
of things, doing it well is something that takes years of practice and
refinement. And the better you do it, the less the effort is apparent. Good
writer's make writing seem easy. From the effortless flow of a sentence to the
way the plot of a book doesn't strain to contain it's characters, but seems to
come directly from the characters themselves. But what can elevate clunky
sentences to art?
I'll be giving a guest lecture in a few months to some high-school
students on the topic of writing a mystery. I love connecting with kids
and I'm really looking forward to this class, but it got me thinking about how
to teach such a thing. I've been known to teach a variety of things—how
to write action scenes, karate, how to pee in the woods. According to my
daughter, who was four at the time, that last one is not my strongest topic.
But like any skill, there are ways to breakdown each skill and pass on that
recipe to the next person. Even if some small children don't want to listen to
you, not peeing on your underwear is still an achievable goal. As is
writing a mystery. But can I teach someone how to write a good
As I have pondered the ins-and-outs of good writing and mystery's and
teaching I've come to the conclusion and I don't think I can teach someone how
to write well. I can teach someone how to be competent and I can give
them an entire toolbox of tips and tricks, but I think in the end the only
person that can make a writer write well is... the writer. I think that it
really comes down to the practice and ambition of the writer to push themselves
beyond craftsmanship and into art.
I hope I’m on the path to art as I wander through the
forests of words, but I have to admit that on some days, the best I can say is
that I didn’t pee on my underwear.
Aʟʟ Rᴇᴛᴀɪʟᴇʀs﹕ ʜᴛᴛᴘs﹕//ʙᴏᴏᴋs2ʀᴇᴀᴅ.ᴄᴏᴍ/Lᴏsᴛ-Hᴇɪʀ
𝑺𝒐𝒎𝒆 𝒔𝒆𝒄𝒓𝒆𝒕𝒔 𝒘𝒐𝒏’𝒕 𝒔𝒕𝒂𝒚 𝒉𝒊𝒅𝒅𝒆𝒏.
Jackson Deveraux was orphaned, abandoned and imprisoned, but
life is about to hand him a second chance and a new family. Eleanor Deveraux
lost her children in a plane crash and she’s in danger of losing her
grandchildren to the Deveraux Legacy of drugs, abuse and secrets, but life is
about to hand her Jackson. When Eleanor discovers an illegitimate grandson in
prison for armed-robbery she grits her teeth and does her duty—she gets him
out. But being out of prison doesn’t instantly make Jackson part of the family.
And as Jackson and his cousins struggle to find common ground, Eleanor steers
Jackson away from befriending her other grandchildren. She only needs Jackson
to keep them out of trouble—not be their friend. But Jackson and Dominique, the
youngest Deveraux cousin, have other plans and, as his first Christmas as
Deveraux arrives, Jackson sets himself on the path to fixing the Deveraux clan
and getting the family he’s always wanted.
is the award-winning author of the Carrie Mae Mysteries, San Juan Islands Mysteries, Shark Santoyo Crime Series, and numerous
short stories. When she's not traveling to exotic lands, or kicking some
serious butt with her black belt in karate, she can be found chasing her
daughter or glued to the computer working on her next novel. You can also catch up with her on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and BookBub.