Yesterday, I went to an amazing event at the Traralgon Library with the Sisters in Crime. This was part of the Mystery and History tour with L.J.M. Owen and Lindy Cameron.
It was a fantastic event and I came away with pages of tips on my iPad, as well as winning the door prize for asking the best question – a copy of The Journal of Infinite Possibility.
One of the things I really enjoyed was hearing about the different writing methods of each of the presenters as well as how they came up with the ideas for their mystery novels.
Too often, writing workshops present a single way to write a novel, however, both Lindy and L.J. have completely different ways they write their books. L.J plans her books, and her entire series, Lindy has an idea and starts writing the story wherever it takes her.
Some of the things I learned include:
- It is possible to write a mystery without starting with a plan. Kerry Greenwood does this with the Phryne Fisher novels.
- “Kill your darlings” doesn’t just refer to characters, it could also be a scene that simply isn’t driving the story forward
- Crime fiction is a great way to talk about social injustice, no matter what time period the story is set in
- Make every character the centre of their own story, including every minor character
- Start a mystery with a character and see if it works, if not, try another character
- Authors can cut out scenes and then use them in future books
There are a lot more points, but if you want to know what they are, check out The Mystery and History tour brought to you by Sisters in Crime.
This was a fantastic workshop, and has got me thinking about a murder mystery story I came up with when I was in high school! I had planned the crime, but wasn’t sure how to write the story. So much of the information I learned at this event has been helping and I now have ideas to put pen to paper, at least for a character or two to try to write the story.