Sitemap - 2023 - PRESENT TENSE

Setting and symbolism in The Witch Elm

Let's Talk History of Crime Fiction

Tension lessons from a great book and a middling movie

A Fraud’s Guide to An Elusive Genre

Killing people at diners

How Limitations Spark Creativity

Narrative distance part 2: WHERE THE CRYPTIDS FLED

Agatha Christie's working notebooks are a mess—aren’t you glad?

Taking things one idea at a time

Queerness and spice: Andrea Bartz talks about The Spare Room...

Doing it: early and often, or better to hold out?

Narrative distance part 1: I LET YOU GO

Gold stars, red herrings, and writing on proposal: Megan Collins, queen of dark family secrets, shares her thriller (and TikTok) savvy

Clones, gladiators, art thieves, misbehaving spouses, a man swallowed by a whale. What are you waiting for? Pack that beach bag and grab those books!

Domestic suspense that tackles the consequences of "depriving a person of a true understanding of where they’ve come from"

Mystery versus suspense: What HBO’s White Lotus can teach us about how genres work...

Write for Us


Agatha Christie, Life Lesson #4. Going Pro: How Adversity and Dire Financial Need Turned Agatha from Dilettante into Steely Professional

Book report: lessons from judging a lit award

Reverse outlining lessons from an Edgar winner

Hamptons Whodunit: A new East Coast mystery and crime conference

Agatha Christie, Life Lesson #3. “I embarked lightheartedly”: Be Open to Challenges

Notes on the Execution of Good Character

Missing Girls, Monsters, and the Emotional Stakes of Genre

What Your Characters Don’t Know...Could Kill Them

Agatha Christie, Lesson #2: "The importance of books, re-reading, solitude and time"

How to Gone a Girl in 3 Steps

The One with Some Thoughts on Voice (re: I Have Some Questions for You)

Traveling alone for "sacred and unfettered access to reading"

Agatha Christie, Life Lesson #1: “Very few of us are what we seem.”

Noodling on the Mmes. de Winter

SHUTTER: More than a forensic crime novel

Welcome to the Present Tense

Got an interesting question for us*?