Monday 2 December 2019

The Trials Of A Crime Writer: Sometimes it's fun


For the start of December, I decided it would be a good idea to talk about the fun side of being a crime writer. I've done this before, more tongue-in-cheek posts than advice, and I've gotten mixed results. I had a few comments that seemed to imply that by writing crime novels for young adults, I'm trying to get them all into a good murder or two. Which made me laugh, but it also made me question how people see the act of writing about crime.

I've talked before about the darker sides of fiction, but I've never really discussed the side effect of writing which is, it's fun sometimes. I don't mean that I wake up every morning and am delighted to be a writer for my job, there are hard parts as I've also talked about. There are parts of the process I adore, and other parts I loathe, and even with the parts I love, there are always some days when that's not fun either. But that's not every day, and it's not all the time. It happens from time to time, and I don't mean that writing is all fun and games, it's a hard job to do and you have to go into it knowing that there will be times that you hate what you're doing, but pushing through will bring you out the other side.

But what does that have to do with crime writing, and what I said above about some of it actually being fun? Quite a lot actually. I've always been a big believer that the darker side of humanity, of fiction, shouldn't be shied away from. There will always be some people who it appeals to for a number of reasons, and some that may even surprise you. The idea that people reading crime fiction are doing it because they want to be super serious is absurd to me. I read it, a lot of it, and I enjoy every moment of it, even when it gets dark and disturbing.

That doesn't mean that there's something wrong with me, nor does it mean that someone who doesn't enjoy reading and/or writing about crime has something wrong with them either. It's just different strokes for different folks. I love trying to put the pieces together and solve the crime before the characters do, and as a writer, I love being the one who knows all those puzzle pieces and slots them into place so that the reader can try and gather them up to see the bigger picture. It's something that has always appealed to me and I can't see that changing any time soon.

My point for this piece is that sometimes, solving a crime that is completely fictional, is a lot of fun. Anyone who's played Cluedo or watched mystery shows on TV can attest that sometimes, it can be a gripping time to spend trying to work out what everything means and why. It's something I very much enjoy and as a crime writer, being told that my job as a young adult author is to turn people away from committing crimes, is a little worrying to me. I don't completely disagree, I don't include violent scenes for the sake of it, and I try to minimise any kind of gore that isn't necessary. I've done this throughout my writing life and will continue to do so.

But surely the point of fiction is that you're supposed to enjoy it, you're supposed to love the time you spend in those pages, and crime fiction isn't any different, no matter what age you are. So for those wondering what the fuss is about, go pick up a book and read for yourself. As always, your mileage may vary, and that's completely okay!

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