Thursday, 19 September 2013

Bloody Scotland Report

Bloody Scotland Crime Writing Master Class
13th September 2013
Held at the MacRobert Arts Centre
In the University of Stirling

I was fortunate to purchase the last ticket for this day of Crime Master Classes. Writers included Alex Gray, Liam Murray Bell and Val McDermid, who all gave the delegates a personal insight into how they started in the realm of murder writing.

There was also time set aside for a panel comprising Publishers and Agents (Jenny Brown, David Shelly and Claire Squires) who were very forthcoming on how to be noticed and the different ways to interest any of them in your work. These included: don’t be too smart, know what your reader likes, and be enthusiastic about your work. Luck plays a great part in many a successful writer being accepted either by a publisher or by agents.

The delegates had plenty of time to ask relevant questions. Some of which were as follows:
  1. I have had 27 e-books published, how can I get an agent and how can I get to meet my readers.
  2. Should you self publish and then try and then get an agent or publisher.
  3. Is an agent really required before you contact a publisher.
The general consensus seemed to be that the publishing companies and the agents were there to put your work into context and to advise and recommend changes or a better way for the writer to go about entering this very competitive market. 30% of the market is now crime, with unique detectives, and remember location is another character. (Don’t send your work to someone who has already got a writer who has characters like yours.)

When sending manuscripts: a synopsis of 50 pages or 2 chapters and a covering letter which should encourage the reader to like the author and make them wish to read more.

First Workshop

Liam Murray Bell (So It Is, Best seller thriller) lasted 1hr 30 mins
Title:  Viewing the Evidence

The purpose of this workshop was to make sure the writer was using the best and the most suitable 'Person' to explore and expand the plot line.

Whose point of view…
  • Ist Person: limited, is it reliable, one person’s view point, intimate, in the present tense, engaging, complicit, imperative
  • 2nd Person: limited, reader, one way conversation, imagined by the reader
  • 3rd Person limited: past tense, new angle, investigative/victim
  • 3rd Person Omniscient: overloaded information

Then the delegates were given an evidence bag and, in partners, were invited to write a plot for a murder - one in the 1st person present and one in 3rd person past.

Second Workshop

Alex Gray
Title: Beginning a Crime Novel

The use of language in a novel especially in the opening paragraph is so important. The delegates examined passages from other well-known writers. Showing the different ways the crime writers handled the language, plot and character, all gives the reader insights into writing a successful crime novel.

The rest of the allocated time was given up to practising how to make the opening paragraphs more insightful thrusting the reader into plot. Alex took time to go round the delegates and suggested how they cut and change their work making it much more relevant.

Hilary Stevenson

1 comment:

Myra Duffy said...

Thanks to Hilary for this succinct report. I hope to get there next year!