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"Taking the Mystery out of Writing Mysteries" with Karen MacInerney

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St. Edward's University, Trustee Hall rm. 303
3001 S. Congress Ave.
Austin, TX 78704

5/7/2016 From 9 am to 12:00 PM

$49 for members (log in for member pricing)

$109 for nonmembers

NOTE: This class is SOLD OUT; no walk up registrations will be available at the door.

Before purchasing, please read all policies as noted below and on our Classes page.

Note: Online registration will close at the end of Thursday, May 5. After that you can pay admission at the door with a check for the walk up rate - $59 for members and $119 for nonmembers - as long as seats are available. Thank you!

"There really must be a murder, or at least a major felony -- otherwise, what's the point? Who's ripping off the hand towels at the Dorchester Hotel is hardly the business of a mystery novel." 


"There simply must be a corpse in a detective novel, and the deader the corpse the better."
        —S.S. VAN DINE


"If in doubt, have two guys come through the door with guns."


When it comes to writing mysteries, there are as many opinions about how to construct a good whodunit as there are ways to commit the perfect murder. This much-read, much-beloved genre covers a wide spectrum (from cozy to hard boiled to police procedural and everything in-between) and the writers who spin these edge-of-your-seat tales must be adept at plotting the twists and turns that fans expect and, most especially, the ones they don't expect, with red herrings and all.

This class, taught by an award-winning author in the genre, is for beginning and/or intermediate mystery writers who want to delve into what makes a mystery "work" — and how to write one effectively.  Join Karen MacInerney and learn to commit murder yourself (on the page, of course).

Together, students in this half-day class will plot an entire mystery.  The instructor will go step by step through the process of orchestrating the perfect crime, from structuring the story arc and selecting a victim (or victims), to developing a compelling sleuth and a convincing foe and placing both in the perfect setting suited to the story. In addition, students will learn about today's marketplace for mysteries, including a look at the various sub-genres that make up the mystery category and the defining traits of each.  By the end of the session, students will be well on their way to understanding the basics of mystery writing, the market, and how to find the tone, voice, and other key elements that will get their story-engine humming.


About the Instructor:

Karen MacInerney is the author of numerous popular mystery novels, including the Agatha Award–nominated Gray Whale Inn Mysteries, the Margie Peterson Mysteries, the Dewberry Farm mysteries, and the trilogy Tales of an Urban Werewolf, which was nominated for a P.E.A.R.L. award by her readers. When she’s not working on her novels, she teaches writing workshops, chauffeurs children, and dodges housework. You can find her online at

REGISTRATION BY MAIL: If your browser has difficulty with our website store, or if you prefer to mail in a check, click HERE for a class registration form. The document provides instructions on where to mail it.

NOTE: Tickets are not refundable, but they are transferable. If you purchase a ticket and then find you cannot attend, someone else can attend in your stead. Simply contact us at or 512-499-8914 and let us know so that we can update the class roster. For policies, please visit our
Classes page.



This project is supported in part by the Cultural Arts Division of the City of Austin Economic Development Department. Visit Austin at


Writers' League of Texas classes and workshops are also funded in part by the Texas Commission on the Arts - Investing in a Creative Texas. For more information, go to


The Writers' League of Texas would like to thank St. Edward's University for its generous support and commitment to community, ongoing education, and the arts. Visit