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We’re very lucky to have bestselling author Rachel Ward joining us in Bradford on Avon this July. She’ll be running a crime-writing workshop for anyone over the age of 12. Further details below. Rachel’s eagerly awaited new book THE COST OF LIVING will be published by Sandstone Press in September. Over to you, Rachel!

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I’ve taken to crime writing and am enjoying it more than is decent.

As I’m embarking on my second book in the series of Ant and Bea mysteries (the first one, The Cost of Living, is published in September), I’ve been thinking about crime writing compared to other sorts of novel writing and I’m starting to think that writing crime is like writing only more so. Let me explain:

  1. A book needs a central thread. With other sorts of writing sometimes it’s difficult to identify your thread or threads until the end of the first draft or even beyond that. With a crime book, the crime is the thing and every scene/chapter must contribute to the progression of that thread.
  2. Resolution at the end. I can’t stand books which are left completely open, where it feels like the writer just put down their pen one day and walked away. In crime stories, some sort of resolution is crucial. It may be whodunnit, or if we’ve known that for a while, why? The denouement can be twisted or inverted – for example, if the guilty person gets away with it –  but at least the reader *knows* whodunnit and there is some satisfaction when the final full stop is reached.
  3. Believability. This is key to any sort of writing. If there is a plot twist that seems too improbable, it can ruin the whole thing. Having been to two Crimefests in Bristol, I’m starting to understand that crime readers are very discerning. Your plot has to be plausible or you lose the reader. You can’t allow the plot to get too convoluted or contain too many coincidences.
  4. Show not tell. With any book, it’s more satisfying as a reader to join the dots than be shown the whole picture straight away. With a crime novel, the trick is to show enough to the reader to put them ahead of your protagonist, or at least to make them think that they are. The right sort of clues planted in the right place can make a difference between an okay read and a really satisfying one.

Hmm, not sure if my argument stacks up or not, but I do know that there is much joy to be found in writing within the conventions and traditions of the crime genre. If you would like to explore this, do book into the crime writing workshop I’m running at the Bradford-on-Avon Mini Book Festival on 15th July.

Rachel’s event at Bradford on Avon Library 15/7/17:

2.00pm – 3.00pm CRIME WRITING WORKSHOP 12+ to adult

Got an idea for a thriller? Dip into the world of crime-writing in this inspiring workshop.

Contact the library to reserve your FREE place.

Tel. 01225 863280 or  email: bradfordlibrary@wiltshire.gov.uk

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