Mystery Writing Demystified by Leonard Tourney

Leonard Tourney has been leading a  lively and popular mystery writing workshop at SBWC since 1986. He covers topics important to the mystery genre such as plotting, character development, creating tension and suspense, cluing, and point of view. 

He’s also been teaching writing at the university level for over forty years.

Of his ten published novels, nine have been mysteries.

It could therefore be said that Leonard Tourney knows a lot about teaching writing and a lot about writing mysteries.

What’s not apparent until you spend time in his workshop is that Leonard Tourney is a master of humor. This is not to say he doesn’t take mystery writing very seriously. He does.

Each workshop begins with a focused talk on one area of writing, and questions are welcome. The focus gradually segues into read and critique.  Feedback on the work presented becomes a great opportunity to amplify learning on the writing topic of the day.

Participants in this workshop should come with a willingness to consider new ideas, and actively participate in discussion during the read and critique session. It’s always helpful to practice open-minded listening to the writing of fellow participants and to all the feedback given…especially comments on your own work.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Don’t be intimidated by those you think are smarter and more accomplished than you.  It’s not necessarily so.

Leonard offers this tip to writers of all types of fiction: Complete the first draft as quickly as possible to discover the story for yourself. You can tweak and polish at your leisure.

Leonard Tourney discussing writing with Nicole. .jpg