IT’S not a crime to enjoy reading mysteries, whodunnits and thrillers.
Apparently many of us love detective stories not just on our TV screens but on the pages of books which keep us company day after day.
Friends tell me they like to spend long winter Sunday afternoons and dark evenings curled up with a glass of wine and the latest chiller thriller.
I must have some sort of seasonal disorder because I can happily read mysteries or crime novels in broad daylight.
That’s perhaps because I don’t do the blood and gore stuff at any hour or in any season.
Give me a complex crime story to solve and I’d be thrilled.
Give me one of the current crop of cult vampire novels or one where violence levels and body counts are astronomical then I’d be certain to cross you off my book-sharing list.
For those wanting not just to read, but create, their very own crime novel or thriller, then crime writers Lesley Horton and Zoe Sharp will be sharing their skills at two writing workshops in Kirklees next month.Š In her workshop, Scene of the Crime, Lesley walks would-be writers through a crime scene, presenting a scenario to the group taking them from discovering the body to the point at which the forensic examination is completed.Š
Then, presumably, it’s down to you.
Š Zoe, on the other hand, is the one to guide you on how to write what’s known as a nail-biter – though I never would.
But she’s right when she says that writing a good crime thriller is tough. I worry that she’s been looking over my shoulder as she warns that most work will be judged by its opening, perhaps even its very first line.
Guilty as charged Zoe. If I pick up a book by an unknown (at least to me) crime writer and I don’t get past the first page, back it goes on to the shelf and I trawl until I find one that hooks.
A documentary I caught on TV recently revealed fascinating differences between how the top crime writers approach their work.
One said he knew before he put pen to paper (or presumably hit a keyboard) just how it would all pan out. He would know the plot, the characters and who did what and why.
Another, equally lauded writer said he would know all about his characters before he began writing. But after that, he was as much in the dark as anyone else as to where they would lead him, let alone the reader.
It brought back all those essay writing days in sixth form.
Planning, structure, balanced arguments, supporting evidence, these were the crucial pointers drummed into our heads.
But I could no more write an essay plan than do cartwheels.
For a while, this planning application theory drove my essay writing into the buffers.
Then, with a nod to Baldrick, I formed a cunning plan. Leave a space, write the essay and fill in the plan when it had all come beautifully together.
I’m definitely with writer number two.