All Blog Posts (463)

Bringing the past to life

I have written before about the way that characters evolve and I am being given a striking example of that the more that I write of the latest DCI Jack Harris novel.

Main characters fall into two categories – rounded (also known as changing or dynamic) who change throughout the story, and static (flat) characters who don’t. Both can work well as…

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Added by John Dean on May 28, 2020 at 11:07 — No Comments

Gus Keane is back!

Delighted that my good friend Bud Craig has had his latest crime novel published by The Book Folks.

Making A Killing is a British murder mystery featuring Private Investigator Gus Keane, the fourth book in which he has featured. The ebook is available now, the paperback will come in a few days.

In the novel, a…

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Added by John Dean on May 27, 2020 at 10:07 — No Comments

Course aims to provide creative spark for writing groups during lockdown restrictions

Novelist John Dean is offering online courses for writing groups who may be struggling to meet in person during the current coronavirus restrictions.

Crime writer John, who is based in Dumfries and Galloway and has been a creative writing tutor for twenty years, will run courses that can be tailored to each writing group’s needs.

The…

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Added by John Dean on May 26, 2020 at 9:41 — No Comments

Move along now...

As you may know, I have written blogs on the theme of back story before but the subject has come to mind again because I am well into the latest DCI Jack Harris novel for the excellent people at The Book Folks, which involves the detective revisiting events from his earlier career.

As authors, we need to be careful with back story, because, for all a character’s history is an important part of what they are, every instance of us delving into their past can have the effect of slowing…

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Added by John Dean on May 21, 2020 at 14:15 — No Comments

Decisions, decisions, decisions...

It’s national Crime Reading Month and a lot of writers are producing blogs etc focusing on their craft and I am no exception.

It’s national Crime Reading Month and a lot of writers are producing blogs etc focusing on their craft and I am no exception.

Writing is a complex business, so many things to consider and each novel represents…

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Added by John Dean on May 18, 2020 at 10:22 — No Comments

Surviving lockdown in the writer's world

As part of my contribution to national Crime Reading Month, which due to the virus restrictions has gone online this year, I, like many other Crime Writers’ Association members, have taken part in question and answer sessions about everything from creating stories to surviving lockdown. You can read my replies at…

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Added by John Dean on May 15, 2020 at 11:33 — No Comments

Listen, I'm talking to you...!

As I have said in previous blogs, you can create the finest landscapes, the greatest stories, the most remarkable writing but you can not make your stories live unless you have vivid characters. And that includes being prepared to let minor characters develop if they are telling you that they have a story to tell.

That is happening to me as I…

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Added by John Dean on May 15, 2020 at 9:34 — No Comments

Seeking a new challenge?

Looking to learn a new skill during these times of restrictions?

Added by John Dean on May 12, 2020 at 10:27 — No Comments

Celebrating crime fiction

 

We are heading through May and that means that we are well into national Crime Reading Month.…

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Added by John Dean on May 12, 2020 at 10:06 — No Comments

A place to escape

Quite a lot of the Facebook groups in which I am involved are debating the way in which books have been helping people through the current restrictions, and the media have increasingly been running articles exploring the topic on the back of research showing a sharp increase in reading.

As a crime writer, I have always wondered how readers view the genre, why it is so popular when, as authors, we spend our days making horrible things happen. If real-life is tough, why enter a…

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Added by John Dean on May 12, 2020 at 10:00 — No Comments

Talking about talking...

I have recently been advising an aspiring crime writer on how to improve her work so that she can prepare it for submission to a publisher. One of the things we corresponded about was dialogue and I thought I would reiterate some of my thoughts on the subject.

Dialogue is crucial to any novel. Good dialogue lifts a story, bad dialogue wrecks it. However, writing dialogue isn’t about replicating a real-life conversation. It’s about giving an impression of it. The role…

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Added by John Dean on May 8, 2020 at 9:14 — No Comments

A scream in the night

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Added by John Dean on May 4, 2020 at 11:03 — No Comments

Follow that idea!

I am fascinated by the way the writer’s mind works and particularly how creativity comes about. It may sound odd to say it but sometimes creativity is sidelined in the writing process. Writers get so involved in the craft of writing, pace, point of view, the correct use of words, grammar etc etc that somehow creativity gets bundled to one side.

One of the things that can aid creativity is planning. I have always thought that the time spent thinking in advance of beginning to write is…

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Added by John Dean on May 4, 2020 at 10:46 — No Comments

It's here!

It’s May – and that means its national Crime Reading Month! Due to the virus restrictions, the event has gone online this year and you can find a number of crime writers, including yours truly, talking about everything from surviving lockdown to seeking inspiration,…

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Added by John Dean on May 1, 2020 at 10:34 — No Comments

Challenging your words

I think that one of the golden rules of writing is that every word should do its job and it can make for a brutal editing process for the writer. It’s a process I have recently finished with the latest DCI John Blizzard mystery.

Over the years, I have found my novels becoming shorter. Not because I am not inspired by the stories and the characters that drive them - you wouldn’t put in all that work if you weren’t - but because I am acutely conscious that words must earn their place on…

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Added by John Dean on April 30, 2020 at 10:46 — No Comments

A race against time for Jack Harris

A little reminder that the latest DCI Jack Harris mystery is out and riding high in the Amazon Kindle bestseller charts (it’s also available in paperback).

The Killing Line is published by The Book Folks and is my nineteenth published crime novel. In the book, a schoolgirl is found dead after taking drugs, the second death in a few…

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Added by John Dean on April 30, 2020 at 10:27 — No Comments

Second Jack Harris boxset is published

The second DCI Jack Harris boxset has been published by The Book Folks in Kindle format, including books four to six in the series.

DCI Jack Harris loves the peace and solitude of the rolling hills of the Pennines in the north of England. So, when criminals interrupt his quietude, he makes no qualms about catching them,…

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Added by John Dean on April 28, 2020 at 8:40 — No Comments

National Crime Reading Month Goes Digital for May Lockdown

I am delighted to be one of the crime writers supporting this brilliant initiative.

The month of May sees the return of National Crime Reading Month (NCRM), a unique, UK-wide literary festival designed to connect authors and readers and promote the crime genre.

The festival, which is a major annual initiative co-ordinated by the Crime…

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Added by John Dean on April 27, 2020 at 12:12 — No Comments

Reading rises in lockdown

 

Britons are turning to books in lockdown, with one in three reading more since Boris Johnson told the country on 23 March to stay at home, according to a new survey.

The survey marks the annual World Book Night tonight (Thursday April 23) and saw the Reading Agency question more than 2,000 people in the UK, finding that 31% were reading more…

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Added by John Dean on April 23, 2020 at 10:20 — No Comments

Venturing into film!

I am fascinated about the writer’s ideas process. It is something that I include in my online creative writing courses and, as part of the research, I came across a quote from American crime writer Patricia Highsmith, who when asked where her ideas came from said: “Ideas come to a writer, a writer does not search for them. Ideas come to me like birds…

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Added by John Dean on April 22, 2020 at 13:30 — No Comments

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Bringing the past to life

I have written before about the way that characters evolve and I am being given a striking example of that the more that I write of the latest DCI Jack Harris novel.Main characters fall into two categories – rounded (also known as changing or dynamic) who change throughout the story, and static (flat) characters who don’t. Both can work well as techniques. For the latter,…See More
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Gus Keane is back!

Delighted that my good friend Bud Craig has had his latest crime novel published by The Book Folks.Making A Killing is a British murder mystery featuring Private Investigator Gus Keane, the fourth book in which he has featured. The ebook is available now, the paperback will come in a few days.In the novel, a private detective’s investigation into an affair hots up when…See More
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