Monday, August 17, 2009

How to Write Crime

I've been having a look through How to Write Crime, edited by Marlene Day, which is a self explanatory, but has a point of difference in that it has a number of great crime writers as contributors, including a high number of Australians.

I thought I'd quote from the chapter written by Kerry Greenwood, of Phryne Fisher fame and her chapter Fact into Fiction.

Where do ideas come from?

'Where do you get your ideas from?' you cry. And I answer, 'I haven't the faintest idea.' 'I just take my bucket to the well of stories and see what sort of fish swim to the surface.' 'I dream them.'
I am Lying.
Only because the explanation takes so long. Ideas come from everywhere. Everything that has ever happened to you, gentle reader, everything you have ever heard, read, seen, watched or suffered is material. When you write, you are mining your own mind, dipping your quill in your own heart and writing with your blood. Writers are vultures, eavesdroppers, exploiters of other people's pains and pleasures. We steal our characters and situations from life as brazenly and automatically as a crow picks out a lambs eyes. And we use ourselves just as shamelessly.

This is why it is a risk being a writer's friend, and truly dangerous being their relative!


Kiwicraig said...

Interesting. A fairly honest answer. How old is that book Vanda - it's not one I recognise.

Dave B said...

It's a great answer. I get asked the same thing when people read my short stories. In a couple of occasions I can take people to the exact intersection that spawned the story, or to the exact bar that it was set in.

I had an odd occurence last year sometime when a completely fictitious character I made up - was walking down the street. Nearly exactly as I imagined her except she was a bit older. It was weird.