Monday, January 11, 2010

GUEST: Kim Smith

Today, please welcome my guest, Kim Smith... the post is great, the book sounds like a lot of fun, and I'm sure it'll be fun!

Kim Smith is the hostess with the mostest for the popular radio show, Introducing WRITERS! on Blog Talk Radio. Her show has been hailed as the most fun, most relaxing, and best show for an author to let their hair down and talk shop. She is also the author of the zany, Shannon Wallace mystery series available now from Red Rose Publishing, and many romances short and long.

Planting Clues in a Mystery

I started writing mystery novels because I love puzzles. It may take me a month to put one together, but I enjoy every step of the way. It’s satisfying to find that one piece that was missing for so long.

I learned to write mysteries first by reading them, (and believe me, there is one to fit every taste out there today), and then, by writing one myself. In my opinion, writing a mystery is a lot like gardening. It’s all about the planting. You have to plant clues, raise suspicions, create rabbit tunnels.

I am the “I-Don’t-Have-Any-Idea” sort of writer. That means, I write the entire book from my hip, never knowing who the guilty party is until I get pretty far into it. Then, once the killer unveils himself, I go back and plant clues to point the reader to where they need to go.

Usually I do not plot ahead of time as I feel it stilts my writing. I don’t like to write “toward” a definite conclusion. I want to know the general direction and head off just like a whirlwind adventure at the mall. I don’t know what I am going to get, but when I get there and see it, I will know.

There is no right or wrong way to write a mystery in my opinion. Some people use outlines and some do not. I do not. I want to try and make the book into something that will make the reader slap their forehead and say “aha”! I try to make it something they knew about, but didn’t put the thoughts together until I point it out at the end.

In the immortal words of Janet Evanovich (I am reported to write like her) I work really hard to make the writing look simple. My adage has always been KISS, keep it simple, silly.

I have learned through the process that it is important to withhold information from my amateur sleuth, or detective, but it is suicide to keep this info from the reader. Keep the reader involved and you will have them from first page to last!

You can visit Kim’s website at:


  1. Thank you for having me on your blog today!

  2. Thanks for being my guest today, Kim. I've sent out some promo, asked to have it passed around. I aplogize for lack of intro, I'm on my way to the hospital, so I can't be here until later today. I am sorry. Thanks again for being here.


  3. t is important to withhold information from my amateur sleuth, or detective, but it is suicide to keep this info from the reader.

    A big ten-four on that! I hate the technique of keeping things mysterious because the author refuses to reveal information. Wears my teeth down, it does. :-)

    And I admire you for writing mysteries. I'm not smart enough for puzzles. LOL

  4. This is a wonderful spot. I love mysteries so I will be picking up your books very soon!

  5. Sounds like a great story!! I love mystery/suspense too! It's like sending your imagination out on a wild goosechase! Especially when just enough clues are left, like bait to keep you drawn in!

    Oh, and the missing puzzle piece is usually under the table. That's where mine end up anyway! hehe


  6. Hello to everyone! SW-good to see you here! Puzzles are fun, usually time-wasters, but fun!
    Brigit, I hope you enjoy them as much as I have writing them. Mysteries have always been a fav of mine!
    Colleen, thank you for stopping in. Mysteries are one of the mainstays of genre fiction, and always so much fun to read!

  7. Great post Kim! And so informative too. Mysteries are great fun to read. Good luck with yours and thanks for sharing so much here!

  8. Keep making those rabbit tunnles!

  9. Great article Kim. You and Marta can be my mystery writing mentors. I just can't create a realistic bad guy to save my life; and clues, don't even get me started on those.

    I love mysteries, have for decades, but writing one--that's a whole other ball game.


  10. Hey Kaye, Marta, and Cheryl! LOL, writing the mystery can be a bit "mysterious" can't it? But I always read a lot of them and reading them helps to understand the best way to make things work in one. Especially those pesky bad guys!

  11. I loved the KISS adage.
    Keep it simple, silly are words to live by!

  12. What an intelligent, interesting, and informative post! Thank you for sharing your ideas, Kim.

  13. Hey Suko and Anita! So glad to see you here :) and yes, KISS is the best thing I ever heard :)

  14. Denysé, what a wonderful guest you had in Kim Smith! I look forward to visiting Fantasy Pages again.


  15. Thank you for stopping in at my stop!

  16. Thank you for stopping in at my stop!

  17. Kim Smith & Denyse - you're both awesome - thanks for promoting writers!


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