Across the books and in person.

Welcome! Since I write two English mystery series, I thought it would be fun to chat about that. And about England. Specifically, Derbyshire, since that is the county I know the best. If you have questions about my books, about mysteries or your own writing, or want to know something about England -- perhaps you're planning a visit -- I'd love to talk with you. Let's start chatting, shall we?

Derbyshire VIllage

Derbyshire VIllage

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Speaking of Clues...

...My two cohorts (Paul Hornung and Wilfred Bereswill) and I will be teaching our 'How to Map a Murder' writing class this November at the St Louis Community College -- the Meramec campus.  Normally we teach a 2-hour four session class, each of us talking about something in our expertise.  Paul, being a police officer, answers questions on police procedure and he and I do tactical demonstrations.  Will leads the class in plotting a murder -- purely fictitious -- and they come to realize it's quite hard to plan a perfect crime!  He also talks about character.  I talk about the various sub genres, types of sleuths, teach descriptive writing and the various types of clues and how to plant them in the story.  That's the usual 8-hour session.
This November, however, we are trying something different.  The class will be a one-session, four hours class on a Saturday morning.  Thus said, I am honing my clue spiel.  I will give the usual opening bit of sub genres and sleuth types, but I will dispense with the descriptive writing segment and talk more on clues.  I thought I'd try a little exercise, too, giving the students a list of clues and ask how someone would lay that in a story.  That might not be possible, just thinking off the tops of their heads, so I may not do that.  But I want to come up with some little exercise.  Maybe a puzzle would work best.  As you can see, I've not got it thought out yet, but I will by November.
Anyway, it should be an interesting session.  Will and I have to whittle our presentations down and eliminate some things, but we'll be in a new area and new date, so we will be broadening our teaching field.
Despite the time constraints, I will do my bean bag toss at the end of the class.  If they fall asleep during my clue talk, perhaps a flying bean bag will wake them up!  We'll see.

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