Guest Post: The Ten Commandments of Writing a Detective Novel by Adam C. Mitchell

Welcome Adam C. Mitchell, one of Dragonfly’s most prolific writers. Enjoy this repost from his blog, “Noir Writer, Adam C. Mitchell.” You can find this and other blogs by this author there.

Adam C. Mitchell

As a Noir Crime Fiction writer, I read a lot of noir, both modern and golden age, this writer’s preference being those set in the ’30s and ’40s, and the kingpin of the noir crime caper were my literary idols Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett, these two creative masters both set the foundations and gold standard in my opinion, on what good crime fiction should be! This can especially be said for Raymond Chandler, most notably through the eyes of his most beloved creation, his character Philip Marlowe later played on the small screen by Powers Boothe, a Tv show I can’t recommend enough to those wanting to not just read but see the glory of chandler.

The script lifts a lot straight from his books (a character I heavily based my own private eye Jack Malone on – check out my book The Lost Angel to read about Malone). Marlowe showed a side of Los Angeles back in the 1940s that most crime novels and films of the day refused to show, mainly the everyday people with everyday problems and how they suffered through the greed of others and the city leaning on and over them, pushing them into acts, they would later regret.

Chandler throughout the tradition of crime novels of his time, the so-called ‘Locked Room Mystery’ made famous by authors like Agatha Christie. Instead, Chandler created outward-looking stories and plots that showed the world with its lose ever-changing morals. This genre, the genre of noir crime fiction, (some would also say the golden age of crime fiction –I tend to stand by both labels) was his life’s work and even after his death would go on to influence and inspire future generations of noir and crime writers and authors, this author, in particular, being one of those touched and inspired by this god of the genre. So it’s not a stretch to find out the man who gave his life to a genre, had some very strong often controversial opinions on crime fiction.

Below are what he called The Ten Commandments of Writing a Detective Novel.

*These are taken from a book by him Selected Letters of Raymond Chandler published in 1981 – note this book has been republished countless times and the commandants have been added to and expanded upon but this is the original ten.

1) It must be credibly motivated, both as to the original situation and the dénouement.

2) It must be technically sound as to the methods of murder and detection.

3) It must be realistic in character, setting and atmosphere. It must be about real people in a real world.

4) It must have a sound story value apart from the mystery element: i.e., the investigation itself must be an adventure worth reading.

5) It must have enough essential simplicity to be explained easily when the time comes.

6) It must baffle a reasonably intelligent reader.

7) The solution must seem inevitable once revealed.

8) It must not try to do everything at once. If it is a puzzle story operating in a rather cool, reasonable atmosphere, it cannot also be a violent adventure or a passionate romance.

9) It must punish the criminal in one way or another, not necessarily by operation of the law…. If the detective fails to resolve the consequences of the crime, the story is an unresolved chord and leaves irritation behind it.

10) It must be honest with the reader.

These ten commandments are heavy-hitting left and right hooks to the locked room mystery that was popular in the 1920s-1940s. Chandler delivers a heavy volley of creative punches two of these works in his seminal essay about crime fiction, The Simple Art of Murder (a must-read for any crime author)

In that essay after thoroughly taking apart the murder mystery The Red House by A. A. Milne (yes, the writer of Winnie the Pooh), Chandler fights back against detective stories where the whole point of the plot makes no sense when compared to what would happen in real life in that exact situation. On the matter Chandler says this, “If the situation is false, you cannot even accept it as a light novel, for there is no story for the light novel to be about.”

He goes on to trash other British mystery writers like Agatha Christie who Chandler paints not only as a hypocritical snob but also as boring. “The English may not always be the best writers in the world, but they are incomparably the best dull writers,” he quips. (being a fellow Brit crime writer I have to say if I could go back in time I would happily punch the yank, with a choice quip or two of my own.)

Chandler then offers praise to his hard-boiled partner in literary crime Dashiell Hammett who infuses his stories with a sense of realism. “Hammett gave murder back to the kind of people that commit it for reasons, not just to provide a corpse; and with the means at hand, not with hand-wrought dueling pistols, curare, and tropical fish….He was spare, frugal, hard-boiled, but he did over and over again what only the best writers can ever do at all. He wrote scenes that seemed never to have been written before.” Chandler says.

It’s funny that this quote about Hammet also sums up Chandler.


Adam C. Mitchell on Amazon

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July News

July News and Updates

This is an exciting month at Dragonfly Books!

We have two books for your reading pleasure with another long-awaited book coming at the end of August.

Already in pre-order on Amazon Kindle and available in paperback, the latest romance from Starla Hartless is the first in a series of cougar love stories. Book one, “Dear Libby…”, will be released on Kindle on July 4th. Order before then and you can get it for the introductory price of $.99! This is a HOT Summer Read!

http://bit.ly/couluvSH

“Sparks fly when older advice columnist, Sadie Broward, meets the grandson of a publishing magnate from New York City. Jake Stark is sent by his grandfather Richard to the small town of Sweetwater, Tennessee to interview one of the candidates for a position in the family’s national publications. Sadie feels Jake is looking down his nose at her and her town. Jake inserts himself uninvited into her life. When she travels to New York City to meet the Board of Directors of Stark Publications she is unprepared for the adventures that follow. She meets Pepper Vandenberg, Jake’s purported fiancee to be. Is Jake using Sadie to make Pepper jealous or is there more to their passion than what happens in the bedroom? This is a story about chance encounters leading to unexpected liaisons. When Fate steps in, common sense flies out the window. A steamy romance from one of the author’s of “Carved Wooden Heart”.

“This book gives hope to all cougars, there is a special someone out there. 5-stars!” Michelle Martin

“A 5-star book that kept me reading all night even when my glasses steamed up!” Elizabeth Horton-Newton, Co-Author “Carved Wooden Heart”


“Song of Simon” by author C.A. Sanders is being re-released with a new cover by designer Rachel Bostwick through Dragonfly Books! A fantasy to be enjoyed by adults young and old, it will be available to pre-order for $.99 July 8th through July 14th. The price will go up July 21st so grab it now! Treat yourself to an exciting adventure this summer!

“Life was never sweet for Simon. He lived in suburban New York, dodging high school bullies and strumming his guitar. Things were about to get much worse. Simon is drawn into the land of Algavar, where High Priestess Teretha has imprisoned their god in amber. He falls into a holy war led by Ilyana, a renegade priestess who claims to be the Messiah. Simon agrees to accompany Ilyana on a quest to kill Teretha, and he sinks hip-deep into the violence and despair that permeate Algavar. Will Simon become the hero Ilyana believes he is, or will he lose his soul in a bloody world so different from his own?”

5-Star Reviews

Thought-Provoking And Entertaining, A must read coming of age tale, Vividly extraordinary!, Vivid Fantasy, Excellent Plot


Coming at the End of August!

“Beer, Women, and the Written Word” by Adam Mitchell

A raunchy semi-autobiographical tale that is sometimes funny, sometimes painful, and a great read beginning to end. Harry Block is a writer who struggles to write a number one best seller while drinking, working in a grocery market, having sex with women, and getting into crazy situations at every turn. A rollicking tale of mishaps and mayhem in Britain.Think James Joyce meets Tom Jones in the 21st century.


Author Elizabeth Horton-Newton has released three of her most popular Electric Eclectic Novelettes in paperback format through Dragonfly Books! “Old Habits”, “April Showers”, and “Chattanooga Choo Choo” can be found on Amazon, sized perfectly to fit in your purse, backpack, or carry-on.


Don’t forget August 1-4 author Elizabeth Horton-Newton will be at The Indie Bookfest in Orlando, Florida. Get your tickets here!


Elizabeth will be on two panels.

Look for her in Room 2

10-10:45: What Makes Romance Sweet? What’s the difference between romance that smolders and romance that flames?

11-11:45: Is Hot Romance Still on Fire? Have we cooled our love affair with super sexy love stories?


BOOK SIGNING

Elizabeth Horton-Newton and Neil Douglas Newton better known as the Crazy Writer Couple will be at McKay’s Bookstore 230 Papermill Place Way, Knoxville, TN 37919 on Tuesday, September 3, 2019 from noon to 3 PM.  Come by and see them!  You can also find them on YouTube!


If you do miss her at this event you can catch her at the

Georgia Indie Author Event – Sweet As a Georgis Peach on October 5th, 2019.


Event Address:
Forsyth Conference Center – Lanier Technical College
3410 Ronald Reagan Blvd, Cumming, GA 30041, USA
www.forsythconferencecenter.laniertech.edu/

Have you entered the Dragonfly Books Big Publishing Contest yet?

https://dragonflybookstn.com/2019/06/17/dragonfly-books-big-contest/

Steamy Cougar Romance

Available NOW for pre-order on Amazon Kindle.

“Sparks fly when older advice columnist, Sadie Broward, meets the grandson of a publishing magnate from New York City. Jake Stark is sent by his grandfather Richard to the small town of Sweetwater, Tennessee to interview one of the candidates for a position in the family’s national publications. Sadie feels Jake is looking down his nose at her and her town. Jake inserts himself uninvited into her life. When she travels to New York City to meet the Board of Directors of Stark Publications she is unprepared for the adventures that follow. She meets Pepper Vandenberg, Jake’s purported fiancee to be. Is Jake using Sadie to make Pepper jealous or is there more to their passion than what happens in the bedroom? This is a story about chance encounters leading to unexpected liaisons. When Fate steps in, common sense flies out the window. A steamy romance from one of the author’s of “Carved Wooden Heart”.

Dragonfly Books – BIG CONTEST

Two author contestants will be chosen as winners. 
The PRIZE? 
A full year, 12 MONTHS, of complete publishing services: editing, formatting, cover art and promotion.
We will promote on all social media.  Hash tags on all posts.
Our mission is to give new indie writers exposure in the market.
We are writers ourselves and want to promote the world of indie writers.

Book can be any genre
Book does not have to be professionally edited
Book cannot be under contract to another publisher
One entry per author
All entries must be submitted by Sept. 15, 2019 at 11:59PM Eastern time
Formats: MOBI, EPUB, Word, PDF either digital or hard copy
Books can be submitted via email (DragonflyBooks@outlook.com) Remember to put contest entry in the subject line.
Or P.O. Box
Dragonfly Books, P.O. Box 26283, Knoxville, Tennessee, 37912

Books Can Be Any Genre!

Winners to be announced Jan. 1, 2020
 The manuscript submissions will be read by three judges who will choose the winners.

Three Judges

Here’s how to enter:

1.Submit a work of fiction, maximum 90,000 words by mailing it to Dragonflybooks@outlook.com
2. Send a brief bio (100 words or less)
3. Send relevant links on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, etc)
4. Leave a comment on this post. Use the #Dragonflybooks hashtag
5. Tag one friend who is not a writer in the comment.. One tagged friend will win a secondary prize of a dragonfly pendant.
6. Click on the dragonflybooks.com link below to actually enter the contest! It will take you the main page of the Dragonflybooks website where you will be able to enter your first name and your email address which will enter you into the contest and add you to our mailing list

http://www.dragonfly-books.org/contest.html

https://youtu.be/eQtjqD7zQWI

Summer Reading, 2019. Win a FREE Dragonfly Book!



Every summer, lists come out recommending great books for summer reading. We’ve put together links to some of the sites with these lists. What’s the number one book on your summer reading list? What will you take to the beach or lounge by the pool reading?

We’d love to know what book you would recommend for a summer read. Romance? Fantasy? Thriller? Non-fiction? Add your suggestion in the comments and be entered into our Summer Reading Giveaway. Your name will be entered into a random drawing and if you win we’ll let you choose one of Dragonfly Books collection of E-books for your summer reading. Contest ends July 15th, 2019.

Of course we will start off with the New York Times. Have you read any of these? Do you plan to?

Yahoo even has a list!

https://news.yahoo.com/must-read-books-summer-2019-130000350/photo-p-season-no-excuse-being-130000364.html

What does Esquire Magazine recommend?

https://www.esquire.com/entertainment/books/g27633229/best-summer-books-beach-reads-2019/

Good Housekeeping has an interesting list which even includes a sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale.! It’s a bit of a cheat though since the book won’t be released until September 2019.

Don’t forget to leave your Summer Reading choice in the comments for the chance to win a Dragonfly Books selection!



View From The Sixth Floor by Elizabeth Horton Newton — Kathy’s Reading Korner

I have actually read this book several times. I yearn for a sequel! This is a tender story about a retired school teacher and her late husband’s best friend on a quest to find out the true story of the JFK assassination as the 50th anniversary of the day approaches. Olivia has always accepted the facts as presented and never questioned any of it until an encounter with a strange man in the grocery store who asks if she thought Oswald did it.

Having never thought about it much she decides to do a little research. She reads several books, watches documentaries on tv and finds she has more questions than answers and so decides she wants to go to Dallas. When she tells her friend and neighbor Bill about her plans he does everything he can to talk her out of it but Olivia is determined and so Bill makes plans to join her on the journey that will change their lives.

I too, always accepted the facts as presented about the assassination until I read this book. I began to look at things differently too!

Elizabeth Horton-Newton is an awesome story teller. Her characters come alive and you feel as if you know them. Olivia’s growth is something I particularly enjoyed watching. I was also thrilled to read a love story that didn’t involve twenty somethings but was a mature relationship that grew from a good friendship.

This is one of my very favorite books and I highly recommend it! I give it 5 0ut of 5 stars!

Book Riot’s Deals of the Day for May 26th, 2019 — BOOK RIOT

Although we aren’t affiliated with Book Riot we wanted to let readers know about these deals!

 

Sponsored by We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal and Fierce Reads. These deals were active as of this writing, but may expire soon, so get them while they’re hot! Today’s Featured Deals The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer by Siddhartha Mukherjee for $3.99. Get it here, or just click on the cover image…

via Book Riot’s Deals of the Day for May 26th, 2019 — BOOK RIOT