Turn a Blind Eye by Vicky Newham
| Synopsis |
A dead girl.
A wall of silence.
DI Maya Rahman is running out of time.
A headmistress is found strangled in her East London school, her death the result of a brutal and ritualistic act of violence. Found at the scene is a single piece of card, written upon which is an ancient Buddhist precept:
I shall abstain from taking the ungiven.
At first, DI Maya Rahman can’t help but hope this is a tragic but isolated murder. Then, the second body is found.
Faced with a community steeped in secrets and prejudice, Maya must untangle the cryptic messages left at the crime scenes to solve the deadly riddle behind the murders – before the killer takes another victim.
Turn a Blind Eye is the first book in a brand-new series set in East London and starring DI Maya Rahman.
| Guest Post |
Tips for writing crime fiction
If you are writing for fun you can do what you like but if you would like to get published, there are a few things which I think are worth doing.
- Study the ‘rules’ of crime fiction. Some hail from the golden age but still apply. For example: playing fair with your reader; providing clues so the reader can solve the mystery; not introducing a new character in the penultimate chapter and then revealing them as the perpetrator. Some rules apply to the entire genre while others apply to certain sub-genres. Other ‘rules’ are opinions.
- Get familiar with all the sub-genres and decide what you are writing so that you can make sure you’ve got your narrative techniques and structure right. For example, pace, point-of-view, tenses and character goals are likely to differ in a police procedural compared to an action thriller.
- If your novel combines genres, that’s fine, but you need to know where your book might sit in the market. Getting clear about this will help you to describe your book to agents and editors. You can do this, for example, by saying it is DCI Banks meets Dr Who; might appeal to readers of x, y and z; combines a psychological thriller with a dystopia.
- Study the market. Analyse what books and authors are popular with which audiences, and think about why that might be. Do they tap into a zeitgeist or world fears? Are they part of a new trend? Make a note of how these books are structured and marketed, and what that says about crime fiction at the moment (and publishing and readers, for that matter).
- Familiarise yourself with the tropes, clichés and stereotypes of the genre. Which do you want to run with and which do you want to subvert?
- Get clear about your plot and whether the story has sufficient depth and breadth to be a novel. Decide whether you want it to be a standalone or part of a series. There are advantages and disadvantages to both. Bear in mind that a lot of agents and editors want something a bit different … but not too
- Given how long it takes to write a book, get an agent (if you’re going that route), get a publishing contract, go through the editorial process and see your book published, it’s pointless to chase trends or try to predict them. If you decide to do either, do it knowing it’s risky. The most important thing is to choose a story which will sustain your interest through countless rewrites, edits and read-throughs.
- Look at which publishers and imprints are publishing crime fiction. Who are their authors? Are their books at the commercial or literary end of the market? Are they digital only, straight-to-paperback or hardback first? If you need to earn a living from writing, consider how each of these things might affect you.
- Mysteries and thrillers are different sub-genres. In a thriller, the story is kicked off by a threat and the suspense comes from whether the protagonist can stop the Awful Thing from happening. In mysteries, the crime kicks the story off and the suspense comes from how long it takes the protagonist (PI, cop, psychologist, whoever) to solve the crime. Lots of books combine the two, especially serial killer thrillers: the protagonist has to solve the first crime and prevent more from occurring.
- Research thoroughly. We know it’s fiction but it’s important to get police procedures, post-mortem details, crime scene investigation, legislation etc as accurate as you can without sending your reader to sleep. The judgement is about what to include and how much.
By Vicky Newham for Love Books Group
| Order Link |
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