I guess most aspiring writers have read ‘how to write’ books. The burgeoning selection on the shelves at Downie Towers can be a source of wise counsel, a comfort when things aren’t going well and a hopeless distraction when the real way forward to is to sit at the desk and put words on paper.
What I’ve begun to realise, though, is that there’s very little advice around on, ‘How to write your next novel’ or indeed the ones after that.* Maybe we’re supposed to know it all by then? (Maybe everyone else does?)
Anyway, on Friday afternoon it was a delight to spend time in the company of a large number of readers plus Anne Perry, Susanna Gregory and Peter Guttridge – writers who have already faced these challenges and survived. Considering the amount I’d learned by the end of the day, I should probably have paid to be there.
The only disappointment was that a scheduling mix-up meant Andrew Martin wasn’t on the panel. This was a shame because I’d really enjoyed reading one of his ‘Jim Stringer’ novels as homework and was looking forward to hearing from the man himself.
(Jim Stringer, for those who don’t know, is a Yorkshire railwayman in the years before the First World War. I met him and The Wife in ‘Death on a Branch Line’. He’s the sort of character whose voice you can still hear after you’ve closed the book.)
So, that was the Reading Festival of Crime Writing. Now down to some real work before the next chance to pick other writers’ brains – a Mystery Women panel at Heffer’s in Cambridge. This has turned out to be more of a mystery than intended as I hadn’t checked exactly who was on the panel. So it was nice surprise to see this as I strolled past the shop yesterday:
For those without bionic eyesight, it reads,
Monday 21 September at 6.30 pm – Mystery Women Event
An evening with Barbara Cleverly, Ruth Downie, Laurie R King and Manda Scott.
The event’s being moderated by Michelle Spring. This link to Heffers site gives details of how to get tickets – not only for us, but for Lindsey Davis’s talk on the following Thursday. Looks like it’s going to be a good week in Cambridge.
*Anyone want to swap recommendations?