I was very excited when the good people at the Faber Academy invited me to create and run a crime-writing course for them. Of course I said yes, but then had to step back and ask myself what are the ingredients that make a great crime-writing course? My first step was to go off to my bookshelves and flick through all the books I had on creative writing, such as Stephen King’s informative ‘On Writing’, and that’s when I saw it – the book I knew was going to push me in the right direction – ‘The Rough Guide To Crime Fiction’ by Barry Forshaw. This gave me an instant and quick overview of some of the key areas that I would need to teach.
I also decided that it was important that I incorporate into the course all the things that excite me about crime writing, so I found myself going to another part of my bookshelf, where I kept copies of my own novels. I pulled off my latest, ‘Hit Girls’, and started unpicking what elements of the crime fiction genre had I included in the book – such as a shocking beginning, where two children are killed outside their primary school, a central character who is a mother who wants to know who was behind the attack that critically injured her son and a badland backdrop, the underbelly of East London where all manner of weeds are lurking in the undergrowth.
So that’s where some the ideas came from and I’m really looking forward to sharing with the participants and as importantly, the participants sharing with me.
Dreda Say Mitchell, author of ‘Hit Girls’.