Tuesday, 23 October 2007

Making Crime Pay

Janet Laurence has sent me an inscribed copy of her latest published by Studymates. This is Writing Crime Fiction – making crime pay. I’m one of a number of crime writers to contribute tips and thoughts. There are plentiful snippets of interesting advice. For instance, Val McDermid ‘talks to her characters, in the car, out shopping, anywhere,’ so as to hear their voices in her head. Natasha Cooper stresses the need to ‘vary the intensity. People cannot live in a state of unremitting drama…’

How useful are books like this? Opinions vary, and in the past I’ve come across a few dodgy bits of teach-yourself ‘wisdom’, but you can always make your own mind up whether or not to agree. Even if you only pick half a dozen thought-provoking ideas out of a book, it surely justifies a couple of hours’ reading. I’m biased, of course, but I do think Janet’s book deserves a look if you want to make it as a crime writer.

My only regret about this book is that working on it may have distracted Janet from her own crime fiction. It’s too long since her last Darina Lisle novel appeared. The good news is that she mentions a current work-in-progress that ‘may or may not turn out to be the first of a series.’ Something to look forward to.

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