This is the follow up article to my Writing Course post! Read the first installment here…
It’s been a while since I did any sort of studying so it was with some trepidation that I set out to do this Crime Writing Course today. I had no idea what to expect! A room of 12 bookish types trying to write novels? People with 15 books under their belts? A hall full of of people looking at the teacher as if she were the Messiah!
Thankfully from first glance most people looked normal! There were one or two who looked like they were auditioning for Librarian Number One. Some were ‘professional wordsmiths’ (a phrase I love!) – copy writers, journalists etc. Some were self published. Some were poets (and spoke like they were poets).
Within the span of 4 hours we somehow managed to put together a plot and character analysis for a piece of crime fiction. It can’t be this easy surely??
We were given an envelope of props to inspire us on where our “body” was found. From this we were expected to develop a scenario, a couple of characters and their history and who the ‘revealers’ would be. This was a new term for me but a revealer in crime fiction is the person who leads the reader through the mystery. They may be a detective, journalist or perhaps a family member and there may be more than one.
Towards the end we had the challenge of writing a prologue/opening scene to our murder mystery. This is where part of my self imposed challenge came in – would we have to read them out loud? I wrote 2 things down as I wasn’t sure really what I wanted to say. It was a voluntary reading aloud and I sat there quietly listening to everyone else’s gruesome and gripping intros. Mine wasn’t going to be good enough. And then I thought “What the Hell” – how often do you get the chance to have live feedback on your work as a beginner? I read it out. The criticism was that I used the same word too often. I can live with that.
“There are two kinds of people who sit around all day thinking about killing people…mystery writers and serial killers. I’m the kind that pays better.”
― Richard Castle
― Richard Castle