December 23, 2015

Wednesday Writing Wisdom (39) Mary Higgins Clark

Writers must know their characters inside and out. Prior to beginning a story, consider writing biographies of the characters that detail their histories, appearances and personalities.

“Think of someone you know or knew as a child who reminds you of the character you’re trying to create,” Clark says. Then use that person’s mannerisms and expressions as a basis for fiction.

Mary Higgins Clark
(born December 24, 1927)
Curious facts about: 
 Her first book was a biographical novel about George Washington, Aspire to the Heavens, based on a radio series, vignettes about presidents.

She went to college after her children were grown and she was already an established writer. In 1979, she graduated from Fordham University at Lincoln Center summa cum laude with a B.A. in philosophy. To celebrate, she gave herself a graduation party. The card read: "this invitation is 25 years overdue -- help prove it's not too late."

Two of her novels were made into feature films, Where Are the Children? and A Stranger Is Watching. Many of her other works, novels and short stories, were made into television films.


  1. A superb writer and one who has given me many enjoyable hours devouring her books. I completely agree with her assessment of characters. I begin each of my novels with complete character bios and then concentrate on plot.

    I also love that she went to college later in life for an unrelated field. What an accomplished lady!

    1. She's one of my favorite authors, too. I like the way she builds suspense.

      She also wrote a couple of novels together with her daughter. I haven't read those but I read many of hers.
      Thank you for leaving a comment!


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