Tuesday, 29 January 2013


I've been sharing my love of the new detective drama Death In Paradise over at Robin Jarossi's Crime Time Blog.

Some viewers think it's naff but I like it because it's good fun. It's just one of many I've watched lately which includes Ripper Street, Whitechapel, Lewis, The Killing and Borgen. I'm also into criminals and detectives these days as I teach crime literature, creative writing, and I'm trying to write my own novel.

Today's sessions at the WEA held at Fydell House, Boston, were again great fun and I hope the learners had a good time too. It did end up a bit of a mixed bag this week with creative writing nudging into literature and literature worming its way into creative writing.

Both sessions looked at characters, themes and plots and both looked at the 3 act structure. I felt that would be useful for readers doing literature to understand how the novels they are reading are put together especially as Val McDermid's Trick of the Dark is specifically divided into three parts, while The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler and DCI Banks by Peter Robinson are not although they obviously follow that important structure.

The writing group looked at how to effectively critique their own and others' work. It's important to help shape the story as it progresses through drafts and keep it on track. This technique will, hopefully, be of benefit to the writers who are members of writing groups. We also looked at step plans for scripts as one writer had in mind a five minute short he wanted to create but it was a bit rushed at the end of the two hours which veritably flew past and there won't be another session.

I have five very keen learners but sadly not enough to ensure the course runs on after this first two weeks because we do need at least 8 people to make it viable for the not-for-profit WEA which must at least break even. We may be able to keep it going under other arrangements, or pick up and try again next term when the weather will be better and word about the course has time to spread.

Meanwhile, those who love crime as much as I do will join the literature group. We all decided that three novels are a bit much to study in 8 weeks. Even the most avid readers agreed. Reading them side by side could cause more confusion than clarity so it's something that does need to be addressed. I think it would be a very interesting experience to study the books from both a reader's perspective and a writer's. Are they really that much different? Perhaps they'll sit as uncomfortably as DI Poole and his setting in Death In Paradise. Perhaps not but we'll soon find out.

Anyone interested in joining the crime literature class in Boston or the creative writing class then please feel free to get in touch and for more details.

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