A reminder: next month I’m teaching a creative writing course for Curtis Brown Creative in London, Saturday-Sunday November 10-11. The course focuses on crime writing but anybody who wants to work on their chops at writing a novel is welcome to sign up. In the mornings we’ll cover topics like plot, story structure, character, suspense, point of view — all that fun stuff. In the afternoons, guest speakers will talk, including author Steve Mosby, Orion editor Bill Massie, and agents from Curtis Brown. What a deal.
The Curtis Brown blog has an interview with me about where great crime stories come from: Familiar fears and deep dreads.
The kinds of stories that work best in crime fiction have a lot in common with the great stories we learnt since the time we were children. Show me a scary nursery rhyme, I’ll show you at least the bare bones of a solid crime plot. Fairy tales, myths and ghost stories have a lot of the values great crime fiction needs; you could say that writing crime fiction is about couching those deep dreads and terrors and excitements in ways that feel contemporary and realistic to a modern adult audience. Of course, to do that well, you have to be on top of all the modern, topical anxieties as well: the familiar fears that overlie our deeper dreads.
You can sign up for the course online.