“The quality of the panel discussions was as good as anything I’ve heard at Harrogate” – Murderous Medway attendee
With five panels of brilliant crime writers, a murder mystery evening and writing workshops over the weekends of 6th and 13th October, this was a must for crime readers and writers alike.
Crime Writers’ Day: Saturday, 6 October 11am-7pm. Rochester Community Hub
Headliner: Mark Billingham in conversation with RLF Patron Lisa Cutts.
11am Panel 1: Crime Seen – Jane Lythell, Hugh Fraser and Julie Wassmer
There’s a reason – several, actually – why crime drama is so popular on television. The thrill of a chase, the whodunnit factor, the edge of seat menace. Our Crime Seen panel at the festival consists of three authors infinitely qualified to discuss why taking crime and thriller books to screen is so successful, as well as give us an insight into the creation of their own work. Read all about the authors here.
12.30pm Panel 2: Real Jobs, Fictional Worlds – Lisa Cutts, Simon Michael and Anna Mazzola.
How do authors get to the nitty gritty of criminal law procedure? Most will speak to the experts – those dealing with real crime day in, day out.
For this panel though, we bring together the experts themselves, whose non writing profession informs their fictional crime writing through first hand experience. Read all about the authors here.
2pm Panel 3: The Real Killers with Paul Harrison
Truth is stranger than fiction – it has to be, since in fiction, everything has to make sense. Loose ends need to be tied up and usually, for a really satisfying read, the perpetrator of the crime is caught by the cleverness of our detective.
But real life crime? There isn’t always a nice, tidy ending and there are few authors who commit to the page the level of depravity to which some real criminals sink. Thus, this talk on notorious people who inspire fictional killers is not for the faint hearted! Read all about Paul here.
3.30pm Panel 4: Crossing the Genres – Christi Daugherty, Guy Adams and AK Benedict.
Are writers restricted by calling themselves crime or thriller writers? Are readers happy to have their expectations subverted when an author produces work that doesn’t fit into their usual slot on the bookcase? And what challenges do authors face when moving into crime from other genres?
On this panel, we have three crime writers with work covering genres as diverse as young adults, fantasy, crime with a supernatural twist and even Dr. Who spin offs in book and audio play form. Read all about the authors here.
5pm Headliner: Mark Billingham in conversation with RLF Patron, Lisa Cutts.
We’re delighted to be joined by prolific, multi talented and entertaining best selling author Mark, whose latest novel, The Killing Habit, has just been published. It continues the award winning series featuring London based detective, Tom Thorne, which includes The Dying Hours, Lifeless, Good As Dead, Time Of Death and Love Like Blood. Lazybones and Death Message both won the Theakston’s Old Peculier Award for Crime Novel Of The Year. Read more about Mark’s amazingly varied career here.
Mark will be joined by our lovely Patron Lisa Cutts, whose generosity – alongside Matthew at Urbane Publications – has brought together this fabulous line up of writers for us. The opening of Lisa’s debut novel, Never Forget, is one of the most stunning beginnings to a literary career ever, and her latest book Lost Lives is due out in November. Read more about Lisa here.
The Curious Case of Cuthbert’s Curse.
Alternate Shadows Theatre Group Proudly Present An Original Murder Mystery Adventure at the iconic Eastgate House.
Saturday, 6 October Various times from 7.30pm.
What caused Explorer and Treasure Hunter Cedric Cuthbert to die of fright?
On the night of a full moon, Cedric awoke the household with a blood curdling scream. By the time the Butler had broken down the locked study door, Cedric was dead, a look of sheer terror on his frozen face and notably, the cursed emeralds from the tomb of a Peruvian Tribal King are nowhere to be found.
Mysterious goings on indeed.
Come along and join in a promenade theatrical experience and help the detective solve this puzzling case.
The adventure takes 50 minutes and there are four time slots available – see ticket page for details.
Murder Most Medway, Tuesday, 9 October
A bonus event organised by writer Joanne Murray saw local writers sharing their crime stories with a Medway slant!
The Three ‘C’s Crime Writing Workshops
Saturday 13 October 10am-4pm.
Workshop 1: 10am-11.45am Concept – What’s the big idea? Blank Page Storytelling
This workshop covers the beginning of writing a successful story whether you already have a story to tell or are literally starting out with nothing at all.
It will cover:
What makes a story?
How are they structured?
Finding the hero.
Finding the genre.
Establishing the setting.
Setting the tone.
Short examples and descriptions are interspersed with exercises to get the story on track from the start. The exercises are designed to challenge assumptions and explore the core elements of the story so what emerges is a solid basis for writing the narrative and developing the characters.
If you have an idea and want to know what to do with it, or want to write a story but can’t settle on the right one to tell, this workshop will lead you to think about the story as a flexible, compelling narrative and make a world in which your characters can emerge and grow.
There are no ‘right answers’ in writing, but there are a fair few wrong ones and if you make sure you have a strong concept to start with then it makes it much easier to avoid the pitfalls and dead-ends that can make it hard to finish a project or make the final draft feel erratic or confusing.
The workshop will help make sure the foundations are solid so the story can flow and satisfy. The approach is friendly, informal and filled with real-world examples to connect the theory with the practice.
Workshop 2: 12noon-1.45pm Compelling Characters – Creating flawed heroes and charismatic villains
Humans are full of inconsistencies. Characters can be contradictory. They can be selfish and generous, lustful and prudish.
Using prompts and a variety of writing exercises in the supportive environment of the workshop, you will create flawed heroes and antagonists with redeeming qualities, and generate new writing that centres on these newly formed authentic characters.
Your tutor: Dorothy Lehane is a lecturer in Creative Writing (School of English) at the University of Kent. She is the author of three poetry publications: Umwelt (Leafe Press, 2016), Ephemeris (Nine Arches Press, 2014) and Places of Articulation (dancing girl press, 2014) and the founding editor of Litmus Publishing. Recent work has appeared in Blackbox Manifold, The Cordite Review, Tears in the Fence, and Journal of Poetics
Research to name a few.
Workshop 3: 2pm-3.45pm Conflict – Interrogate your narrative and drive your plot
In our lives, we face daily conflicts; conflicts with ourselves and conflicts with each other. Such tensions build the rich drama and chaos of human existence and are necessary components of our fictionalised character’s lives also. Interrogating these conflicts through a series of writing exercises, you will enhance your understanding of the various ways conflict can be used to intensify your writing and drive plot development.
Your tutors: Ben Slythe and Graham Guy
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