Crime Fiction and Writing Triggers

Facebook – and Chandler’s Ford Today

My latest Chandler’s Ford Today post is Part 1 of a great interview with crime writer, Val Penny. Her new book, Hunter’s Chase, is now out in paperback and ebook and is the first of her Edinburgh Crime Series. We discuss what drove Val to crime (!) and why she thinks crime fiction is so popular. She also shares some top tips for writers. Part 2 next week.

Facebook – From Light to Dark and Back Again

I have a very soft spot for stories told from alternative viewpoints, especially fairy tales. My first published story was A Helping Hand in Bridge House Publishing’s Alternative Renditions anthology (many moons ago now) and tells the Cinderella tale from the viewpoint of the youngest stepsister.

In From Light to Dark and Back Again, I take Goldilocks’ viewpoint as my angle in the tale, Health and Safety, (though between you and me, I still think she comes across as the kind of character you wouldn’t want to take into a posh giftware shop given the chaos she caused with one chair and one bed in the Three Bears’ house!).

One great thing about using alternative viewpoints like this is you can explore why that character has behaved the way they have. You can explore their justifications for their actions. The great thing is they don’t have to be right! (It can be even more fun when they’re not but they really think they are. You really get to know what they are made of exploring this kind of avenue).

Fairytales with Bite – Writing Triggers

I mention this topic as part of my interview with crime writer, Val Penny, on Chandler’s Ford Today this week looked at what triggered her wish to write.  It is one of those questions I often ask writers I interview and the results are always fascinating.

Also, it is interesting to note that, while there can be similarities, I believe most writers have triggers to begin writing that are unique to them.  Mine were turning 30 and having given birth to my son, two major life changes that made me face up to the fact if I wanted to be a writer, I had better get on and write then!

I also love writing triggers in the form of opening lines, photos, closing lines etc that encourage you to write something around them.  They can make you really work your imagination.  The theme for competitions can also act as good triggers (and can be useful for writing practice even if you don’t enter the contest.  If you do and win it or are shortlisted, even better though!).

I find the ideal opening line writing trigger is one that can give you all kinds of possibilities to work with.  For example, I would find the line “He refused to cry again” a lot more interesting to work with than “The starship crashed into a crater”.  I could write stories on both and have fun doing so but the first one you could set in any time, any world come to that.  The second is an immediate sci-fi or fantasy story, which is fine, but you are getting your genre and setting in one go here.  (That can be useful when I want triggers for my flash fiction though and that is when I will want a line that does a lot of work for me!).

Let creativity spill out - image via Pixabay

Let the creative process flow! Image via Pixabay

The fantastic world of books must include non-fiction too - image via Pixabay

The wonderful world of writing should include non-fiction, which benefits from creative techniques too. Image via Pixabay.

Feature Image - Facts and Fiction - image via Pixabay

What writing triggers will help you create your new worlds? Image via Pixabay

The old fashioned notebook and pen still have major roles to play in interviewing - image via Pixabay

Can’t beat the notebook and pen for quick notes. Image via Pixabay,

20171015_233807.jpg

Some of the books I’ve appeared in and FLTDBA of course. Image by Allison Symes

This World and Others – Popular Fiction – Do You Just Write What You Know Will Sell?

The short answer is “no”!  This topic came about thanks to this week’s Chandler’s Ford Today post.  This is Part 1 of my interview with crime writer, Val Penny, and one thing we discussed was why crime fiction is so popular and what drove her to crime (!).

I think crime and horror are probably the two most popular genres in fiction.  There can be crossover and within each genre there is a wide range of sub-categories.  But does this mean you should just write to these two genres, say, because you know there is a proven market for them?  Absolutely not!

You have got to believe in what you write.  You have got to love what you write (at least most of the time!  I appreciate when you’ve been through the sixth rewrite, you may feel a tad tired about the whole thing!  We all do!).

You have got to love your characters, and love those you love to hate. I also believe that if you don’t write what is your “driving fictional instinct”, what you do come out with will be just a poor imitation of the markets you are trying go get into and that will show.  Whereas if you love what you write, that will also show.  It is where your writing voice will come through loud and clear.  Good luck!

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My Goodreads blog post this time is an expanded version of my Facebook post for From Light to Dark and Back Again.

Goodreads Author Programme – Blog

I have a very soft spot for stories told from alternative viewpoints, especially fairy tales. My first published story was A Helping Hand in Bridge House Publishing’s Alternative Renditions anthology (many moons ago now) and tells the Cinderella tale from the viewpoint of the youngest stepsister. It was great fun to write and, due it being the first thing I’d written that was accepted for publication (thank you, Bridge House!), it will always have a special place in my heart.

In my flash fiction collection, From Light to Dark and Back Again, I take Goldilocks’ viewpoint as my angle in the tale, Health and Safety, (though between you and me, I still think she comes across as the kind of character you wouldn’t want to take into a posh giftware shop given the chaos she caused with one chair and one bed in the Three Bears’ house!).

One great thing about using alternative viewpoints like this is you can explore why that character has behaved the way they have. You can explore their justifications for their actions.

The great thing is they don’t have to be right! (It can be even more fun when they’re not but they really think they are. You really get to know what they are made of exploring this kind of avenue).

You can also prove the truth of the old saying “there are two sides to every story” by exploring what the other characters think! They just have to be strong enough to carry their own story.

 

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