Although I've always loved mystery and crime fiction more than anything else, I was 'raised' by science fiction writers.  I got in to the Clarion Workshop when I was a complete newbie, and I have a strong network in sf.

But lately I've been trying to build a network of mystery writers, I'm finding it kind of a culture shock.  Among sf and fantasy writers, you have to beat off critique partners with a stick.  I have been poking around various mystery forums and groups looking for someone to trade chapters with.... and I've had zero luck.  None at all. 

It's making me wonder, though, if maybe the heavy reliance on workshopping and critique groups in sf is something of an abnormality.  Is it just that mystery writers sauve and sophisticated professionals who don't have time or need for much workshopping?


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I totally agree with that-I like to know I've planted my clues well yet fairly
In glancing over this discussion, I realize I want to make something clear - I have nothing against sf and fantasy writers as critiquers. The truth is, the sfnal community is one of the most open and generous you'll ever find.

My point in posting here was simply that I wasn't finding the same thing among mystery writers. Which you could say is a criticism of the mystery community. I thought aloud, though, that maybe it wasn't such a bad thing, and I think it ended up as criticism of sf.

What I've found is that, after a lot of prodding and whining on various forums and blogs, mystery writers DO critique each other. They are just more private and wary about it. I do think it's worth seeking out mystery writers for critique, because many areas and techniques are a specialty. Sure any genre might have some books with 80 straight pages of interrogation, or lots of clues to a twist hidden in plain sight, but in our genre, these are not virtuoso acts.

And I do think it's important to have writers of other genres in your circle of close writer friends, too. My best Alpha Reader is an sf, fantasy, YA writer. We have very similar tastes overall - maybe seventy-five percent of the time we're totally on the same wavelength. But it's the Twenty-five percent of the time we're not that makes her particularly valuable.
I helped found a "mystery support group" ten years ago. It's still thriving and most of us are published in the field. When we have openings (rare), we advertise in the local writing groups and ask for chapter submissions. We always receive several and the hard part is turning people down. We meet every other Wednesday after distributing chapters (or query letters or website bios or whatever). I'm surprised to hear other writers don't take advantage of early feedback from motivated readers.


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