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The Irony of Crime Writing

I was totting up how many people I've murdered / killed / maimed / blackmailed / kidnapped / tormented etc this week, and it's quite a number. 

(For the benefit of any law enforcement agencies reading, I emphasise this is all part of my crime writing, ie. FICTIONAL (put the handcuffs away, please.))

But nonetheless, this impressive tally of misery does always make me think about the great irony of being a crime writer. 

Crime is such a popular genre, yet it's so unpleasant! And people love talking to me about what horrors I'm planning next. 

Take this example. I'm sitting in the corner of a pub, here in hometown Exeter, Devon, where the staff know me well. They're aware I'm plotting a new crime wave for my next novel, and for my tray of thought inspiring ales they send over... 

ales arsenic and poison.JPG

I didn't get much work done after that. I was too busy giggling. But it's an example of a great quirk of the writing world. 

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Love and Hate Behind the Scenes

Writing is all about relationships, for me. 

Whether it's with your characters, readers, publishers, agent, libraries, bookstores or whatever, the author is at the centre of it all. 

But there's one relationship which can be a real love-hate story. And that's with your editor. 

I'm currently going through the editing process for my young adults' novel, and wow, have there been some swings in feeling. 

The lady in question, who I shall refer to as Codename B, sent me the latest edits a couple of weeks ago. Bear in mind this is after several months of us working together on the book. 

At this point, I was feeling very loving towards her for all her patience and dedication, but most of all for the excellent ways she'd spotted to improve my scribblings. 

So, I opened the email... expecting just a few more minor amendments... nothing much at all... and found... 

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Getting into Character

I've discovered a powerful new way to help writers bring our characters to life. 

I'm just back from the wonderful Swanwick Writers' Summer School, where I've been teaching novel writing and having a fantastic time (many thanks to all who came on my course and everyone I met - a truly joyful bunch of people. It was a brilliant experience, a real highlight of my year.)

Apart from the teaching, I was also, somehow, lured into taking a part in the end of week play, a pantomime version of Romeo and Juliet - 

Play Cathy and me.JPG

I was Tybalt, escort of the lovely Juliet, played by the brilliant Cathy Grimmer. As you can see, we did our best to make it look passably Shakespearean and I tried to act to the best of my (limited) abilities. 

Which involved getting into character, as both supportive cousin to Juliet and man of action - 

play swords.JPG

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Feeling it

There's a certain something that sets a writer apart. 

I was having a pleasant evening out with my friends this weekend, celebrating a birthday. We were walking along the river in Exeter, heading for a pub (surprise, surprise), and rounded a corner to a beautiful view - 

moon blog.jpg

A full moon had stopped by to cast its reflection into the river. My friends passed a few comments on how pretty it looked and carried on. But not me. 

This wasn't a moment to waste. I wanted to feel it a little more. 

So I stood there, taking a journey to explore the senses. And was so very rewarded for it. 

I started to notice flitting shapes, dark ghosts in the night. A posse of bats had come to check out this intruder into their midnight world. I felt the breeze from their wings as they wheeled past in a wonderful display of aerobatics. 

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