Fifteen members and guests took part in our February meeting at the Greenbrier Library in Chesapeake on the 8th. Speaker, author, and Mystery by the Sea member Jayne Ormerod presented “For Gawd’s Sake, Put Some Clothes On!”, offering informative (and hilarious) information on the do’s and don’ts of writing a mystery.
Jayne’s skeletal sidekick, Jane Bones, was on hand for the event. During the presentation Jayne “dressed” Miss Bones. She explained how the items of clothing represented the parts of a mystery novel and how they can be used to tell the story. For instance, affixing a scarf to the skeleton’s neck helps authors remember to give their sleuths a strong link to the mystery.
Here is just a sampling of the words of advice Jayne gave to authors and aspiring authors alike:
- Know your characters inside and out, including the villain
- Good plots come from good conflict – always look for ways to create conflict to ratchet up the tension (and reader interest!)
- Use a storyboard and chapter checklists to keep yourself on track
- Treat the setting of your mystery like another character and spend time developing it
By the end of the evening, presenter Jayne Ormerod had decked out her skeletal sidekick, Jane Bones, with a set of fancy new duds and inspired her audience to go forth and write!