Saturday, 08 September 2012
Together we write crime!
He is the BBC’s Crime Correspondent for the South West. I am a fairy with a purple obsession. Today, we have been writing crime!
*ahem* Sorry about that. I’m a little overexcited. You see, today I’ve been to a crime writing workshop at Barnstaple library. It has been too many months since I did anything with my writing, so I was hoping to use this as an opportunity to recharge and re-engage my creative brain cells. The workshop was from 10am-4pm and only cost £5, so, to be honest, I was not expecting it to be anything special, other than a useful opportunity to engage with other writers.
My expectations were surpassed. The day has been lots of fun, very informative and inspiring. It has also provided hopes of a new writing group, and has fired me up to rewrite the beginning of one of my novels! Let me tell you a bit about what made today so special…
The workshop was taught by Simon Hall, who is, as I mention above, the BBC’s Crime Correspondent for the South West, as well as a local author. He divided the day into four sessions with breaks in between for refreshments. Each session involved looking at one aspect of creative writing in a bit of detail (with a focus on the crime genre) and joining in some writing exercises to practise each. During each break, he also posed riddles and puzzles to get us to do some lateral thinking and, as he said, to make sure we came back! Not that he needed to worry about anyone sneaking off – we were all fascinated and enjoyed ourselves throughout. Towards the end of the day, he gave some tips on getting published, before finishing with a Q&A session that was interesting to listen to, although I didn’t ask any questions.
During the sessions, my mind filled with ideas for ways to improve my novels (especially my first murder mystery). Some of Simon’s suggestions were new to me, and even the familiar advice was given a fresh perspective. I particularly liked his character iceberg – I have used a variety of character profile formats in the past and have found one or two I like, but this could really enhance my understanding of some of my characters and their motivations. His friendly, approachable manner also helped the group to gel quickly, and everyone joined in the discussions and read out what they had written in the writing exercises.
I was pleasantly surprised to bump into a friend from NaNoWriMo, and was delighted to hear lots of excited chattering about the prospects of a new writing group starting at the library. I hope that this has been the start of lots of brilliant stuff happening, both in my writing and in the North Devon area!
Thank you, Simon Hall and Barnstaple library!