Sunday, February 8, 2009

The Mystery Writing Community

blog6 Writing can be an isolating experience, but it doesn't have to be. There are ways to get plugged in to the writing community: join a group, read a forum, sign up for a listserv, etc.

Organizations (national): The Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime (which is not just for women.)

Absolute Write has a great forum for mystery writers.

The Writers Write website offers links to mystery research tools: "finding crime resources;" "crime and police procedure;" "forensics;" "government sites;" "types of crime;" "equipment, weapons, and poisons;" etc.

Mystery Readers International has links to mystery-related publications and bookstores, and has a journal you can access online with articles on topics like "academic mysteries," "ethnic mysteries," etc.

The Bloodstained Bookshelf publishes lists of recent and upcoming mystery releases.

There are several Yahoo Groups you can join for more contact with other writers, as well as research information and other support: 4 Mystery Addicts, Murder Must Advertise, Crime Scene Writer, Wicked Company, Weapons Info .

The most popular listserv focused on the mystery genre is Dorothy L. (as in Dorothy L. Sayers.) To subscribe, send an e-mail to with the message "subscribe Dorothyl (first name) (second name)" (with your name and without the parentheses).

You can check out a couple of newsgroups related to mysteries, too. and . Once you get used to the layout of Usenet groups, you can find interesting articles, topics, and information.

Facebook also has groups devoted to mysteries. Search for ""Sherlock who?" The Ellery Queen Appreciation Society!", "The Golden Age of Detective Fiction," "MWA (Mystery Writers of America)," " Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine," and (for all writers) "Poets & Writers."

The Mystery Writer's forum ( has useful links on everything from forensics (including crime-scene cleanup, drugs and poisons, and crime scene investigation) to forgery and hacking.

Writers Net and Writing World offer forums and articles to help connect writers with each other and with resources and information.

Here are two sites that will help you protect yourself from unscrupulous people who prey on writers (yes, they're out there): Writer Beware blog, and Preditors and Editors.