• Picture:  Richard Outram
My Week of Crime Fiction Writing
Mon 25 November 2019 / , , / Written by Billie Ingram Sofokleous

Having such ranging styles and such differing stories about how they got published has been a revelation. Katherine Stansfield and Claire Mackintosh are forces to be reckoned with. From a refreshingly honest breakdown of the basic elements of writing a crime novel, including plot, the three-act structure, character and tense. I really enjoyed their hands-on teaching style and giving insight into how they write.

They have been extremely understanding about everybody’s needs regarding the varying levels of writing ability and experience, drawing out the best in all of us. I feel my voice validated by the strong consensus of positivity in this safe space. The content has allowed us to stretch our imaginations, creating worlds and sharing our maps ranging from a realistic world map to my incredibly surreal map of a seagull head shaped island. It has been an ultimate masterclass and extension of a previous course on the same genre as it is my passion project. From a young girl I have loved Poirot and have been hooked on more commercial series recently such as Father Brown, Lewis and Miss Marple and was inspired by their costumes and grand set design when they were transposed into TV.

I have now got a more extensive knowledge through books, plays and films and have a deeper understanding of human kind because of it. I feel it has been best to implement a strict structure upon myself to get the best out of my writing, much like the strict conditions in which a crime are prevalent to succeed. The suspense of keeping the twist hidden has often been a huge problem as someone who likes to share a good ol’ spoiler, laying enough breadcrumbs to keep the audience who will sniff out a clue however small. This practical procedure has been for me and extremely helpful arena in which to operate as I am someone who has also struggled with structure.

The group were a little shy to begin with but when we gathered in the library without our trusty candelabra, anyone could have done it. To all fans of the trope of crime and thriller this has been an assault on all the senses, this course was tasked with the literal plotting of murder and intrigue, weaving words and magic into the very fabric of time.  The readings of their inciting incident were inherently different due to their character’s arc and style of writing.

We looked at the psychological setting as well as external settings of several novels including Ian Rankin’s Hide and Seek. A is for Alibi, Cadfael and introducing me to an array of new books that I am intrigued to read once I get home.