Times Crime and Thriller Writing Masterclass

Good morning readers!

In my last post I promised to tell you how I got on at the Times Crime and Thriller writing masterclass. I’ve been looking forward to this ever since I booked it in February and it absolutely lived up to my expectations. The panel of speakers at the event included Sophie Hannah (Writer), Julia Wisdom (Publisher), Jane Gregory (Literary Agent),  Henry Sutton (Creative writing lecturer and crime writer) and Charles Cumming (writer).

I had a bit of trouble finding the right building. The venue was the News UK building. I finally found it but as the only way of identifying the right building was to lie on my back on the ground and look up at the sky, this took quite some time. The class took place on the 17th floor so the views of London were just amazing. Anyway,  I am losing the plot. I mingled with fellow aspiring writers while we waited for the the event to begin.

I’m not going to give you a blow by blow account of what happened during the course of the evening as that may well bore you to death. I am going to cut it all down and tell you the main points that I discovered. So here goes.

  • To be an author is to be alone. The job of a writer is viewed as being glamorous but it isn’t always, it involves a lot of time working alone.
  • Voice is very important. A fresh and original voice is vital to the success of a writer. This can be achieved through practice and determination (but talent is important too).
  • Planning your work early on avoids the need to redraft much later on.
  • Not all advice is equal. Trust your instincts – they’ll tell you who to listen to and who to ignore.
  • Start with the title. Once you have a title you can then write a detailed plan of the novel/story.
  • Write the easy chapters first. This is a good way of getting started. It can also make the harder chapters easier to write.
  • Don’t over-plan. Planning is good but it’s also OK to allow your characters to take you on a different course.
  • Research thoroughly but don’t include all your research in your novel. Imagine your novel is a film set. You have to build the whole set by research but then you may only focus on one small street on the set.
  • Take your favourite novel and pull it apart. Not literally of course but analyse why you love it. What is it about the novel that really appeals to you? How is the novel structured?
  • Read and write EVERY day.


I’ve got one or two short stories to redraft. Once I’ve done that I’ll post them on here.

Bye for now.


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