This post is by Val Chapman a member of Whittlesey Wordsmiths.
I enjoy a lot of different subjects to read about, but if I had to choose, my preference is for psychological thrillers or crime novels, often the gorier the better.
Why is it then, that I have never even attempted to write one?
I know “they” say “write about what you know”, but to my knowledge, I’ve never murdered anyone, and wouldn’t know how to get away with it or solve it if I had, so how could I write a “murder mystery”?
My musings are almost exclusively in the ‘light and fluffy’ section.
I tend to write as I speak, so nothing too taxing there then!
Oh, wait, that may be a clue to the answer to my question!
I’ve never been keen on hard work….
I do admire those people who are committed enough to their craft to travel the country, if not the world, researching, checking, and researching again to make sure any writings are as plausible, and as factually correct as possible.
Maybe it’s because I just write for my own amusement, so I don’t need it to be too accurate or truthful. I just like to have a beginning, a middle, and hopefully an end. I tend to prefer my stories to make the reader say “ahh” instead of “huh?” when they’ve finished reading.
And that’s often how I tend to plan.
Start at the end.
If I have an idea where the story will end, I can plot how to get there.
And I like to be given an idea to work on. (See? Get someone else to do the thinking, -hard work-)
Left to my own devices, I’m not sure I would ever have started this very enjoyable hobby I now have.
Which is why I’m very grateful to all of the members of Whittlesey Wordsmiths. With their encouragement, I’ve really had fun exploring my imagination a bit, and have even started writing a little differently at times. Now, I don’t always have to find the ending first. Sometimes I’m even brave enough to just jump in and see where it takes me.
I even occasionally prefer to write rather than read.
Who knows, I might even ramble on enough to write a whole book!
I just need an idea……………..
Inspired by a visit to the coast, I wrote the first few sentences of my novel on the beach. Then I formed characters who would play the major roles and started a file for each, noting details that I might wish to refer to later.
I imagined conversations that would take place throughout the novel and wrote these in some detail. They have formed the skeleton on which the story will hang.
As I create the scenes which lead up to each of these conversations, I feel a sense of freedom to meander teasingly slowly or rush ahead, hopefully carrying my future readers with me.
After spending several years writing an autobiographical account of my childhood, I am savouring this opportunity to enjoy the liberation brought by writing fiction; the chance to just introduce another character, explore a location that I have just invented, or introduce a twist that neither the characters or I saw coming.
I now have a beginning, an end and a lot of loose bits to tie up in the middle, so onwards to the beach.
In 2017 the U3A hosted a one day writing course in Ramsey. Alison Bruce a talented Cambridge based crime fiction author ran the course.
I enjoyed the day immensely and was disappointed that I was unable to attend a recent talk by Alison at Whittlesey Library, hopefully I will have better luck next time.
Whilst at Ramsey I bought a copy of Alison’s first novel Cambridge Blue. As with so much in life it often takes me a while to do something, reading Cambridge Blue was a case in point, I should have read it sooner.
The story set in and around Cambridge, is gripping and convoluted crime fiction with a satisfactory conclusion, it is for me flawless. Cambridge, parts of it certainly, are more familiar to me than many places, so I was able to relate to the locations described so well in the book. Cambridge Blue introduces a young detective Gary Goodhew, tackling his first murder case. He is a likable hero who we will no doubt get to know even better in future novels. The characters are believable, well observed and well drawn.
I have bought the second in the series, Siren so am certainly game for more from this talented author.
On Monday evening some members of our Whittlesey Wordsmiths writing group attended a talk at Whittlesey library. The guest speaker was Alison Bruce, a Cambridgeshire crime fiction writer who gave a humorous and informative talk on her novels and experiences with publishing. She answered our questions and was very encouraging. Thanks to Alison !