MYSTERY: How to write and enjoy reading mysteries of all shapes and styles

Event Details

  • Event Date:
    To Be Determined

Event Description

Everybody loves a mystery — but not everybody knows how to write one. That’s not a surprise, since there are almost as many kinds of mystery novels as there are novels themselves. From the classic English “cozy” or “drawing-room” mystery, to the quintessentially American, hardboiled Film Noir thriller, to the scary and gory forensic thrillers and psychological shockers of the past 25 years, tonight IWOSC and a panel of experts will set out into the night to unravel the mystery of what makes a great mystery.

From plot pacing to story structure to the eternal choice between plot-driven and character-driven fiction, our psychological autopsy will leave no stone unturned and no clue behind. For every writer from the amateur “sleuth” to the old pro, this panel should be almost as exciting as a good thriller.

And with straight-ahead literary fiction on the decline, and established literary authors like Rita Mae Brown and Don DeLillo adding second acts to their careers in the mystery genre, we’ll be discussing how to set out on your own mystery writing journey, and how to adapt your stories to the mystery format


  • April Smith is an award-winning screenwriter, story editor, screenplay consultant, and bestselling author of novels like GOOD MORNING KILLER, NORTH OF MONTANA, BE THE ONE, and THE JUDAS HORSE. From 1977 to 1982, she was a writer for the Emmy-winning drama LOU GRANT, and went on to produce and write for its equally acclaimed replacement on CBS, the legendary CAGNEY & LACEY, and six years after that, CHICAGO HOPE. Her TV-movies include TAKING BACK MY LIFE, ERNIE KOVACS: BEHIND THE LAUGHTER, BLACK AND BLUE, BEST KEPT SECRETS, and episodes of the miniseries NIGHTMARES & DREAMSCAPES. The Bronx native graduated with honors from the Bronx High School of Science, magna cum laude from Boston University’s English department, and holds an MFA from Stanford in Creative Writing. She is also an active member of the Writers’ Guild, PEN-USA, and has appeared at several IWOSC programs. For more clues, check out
  • Erica Miner has a passion for writing — and all the arts, with a multifaceted career as an award-winning screenwriter, author, lecturer and poet. A native of Detroit, she studied music at Boston University and the New England Conservatory of Music. Finally winning the coveted position of violinist with the Metropolitan Opera Company — the pinnacle of her field — injuries from a car accident prematurely ended her dream. Miner then drew upon her lifelong love of writing for inspiration and studied screenwriting with authors and script gurus Linda Seger and Ken Rotcop. Her screenplays have won awards in WinFemme, Santa Fe and the Writer’s Digest. She then penned the novel and screenplay of TRAVELS WITH MY LOVERS, winner of the fiction prize in the Direct from the Author Book Awards. The first in her journal-based FOUR-EVER FRIENDS Young Adult series, chronicling four teenage girls’ coming of age in Detroit in the volatile 1960s, was published in March 2009 by Nightengale Press. Currently she is working on the feature screenplay and TV Series Bible for FOUR-EVER FRIENDS, as well as the next novel in the series, which takes place at Boston University. Erica has written both the novel and screenplay of her suspense thriller, MURDER IN THE PIT — which takes place at the Met — to be published in 2010 by Twilight Times Books. Get clued in at
  • Dianne Emley is the bestselling author of the Nan Vining detective series, including hits like THE FIRST CUT, THE DEEPEST CUT, CUT TO THE QUICK, and the brand-new novel LOVE KILLS, which just debuted as a paperback and E-book on May 25th. Her detailed and delightful procedural novels have garnered rave reviews from the toughest critics in the business, including The New York Times, Kirkus Reviews, Booklist, and fellow top-name authors like Tess Gerritsen and Michael Connelly. Open the case at and follow the clues at 

Telly Davidson, moderator, has produced, hosted or served on several IWOSC programs including “Books to Film,” “Trends in Publishing,” “Biographies & Memoirs,” and “Covering the Celebrity Beat.” He is author of the award-winning media tie-in book, “TV’s GROOVIEST VARIETY SHOWS, and completed the novel “Pop Culture.” He has written for NBC and PBS specials, the American Film Institute, and reviewed movies, music, and TV shows for numerous magazines both print and online.