All Blog Posts (130)

A festival for crime fiction and non-fiction fans

May is National Crime Readers’ Month (NCRM), a unique literary festival held throughout the UK, which promotes the crime genre, both fiction and non fiction.…

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Added by John Dean on April 19, 2018 at 11:00 — No Comments

Crime fiction prize longlist is published

Big hitters including Lee Child, Ian Rankin and Val McDermid feature on the longlist for the most prestigious crime writing prize in the country.

The prize was created to celebrate the very best in crime fiction and is open to UK and Irish crime authors whose novels were published in paperback from 1 May 2017 to 30 April 2018.

2018 marks the 14th year of the …

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Added by John Dean on April 16, 2018 at 15:00 — No Comments

Author to give talk in Wigtown

Best-selling crime writer John Dean is to give a talk to the Mystery Readers’ Group at Wigtown Library in Dumfries and Galloway on Monday 28…

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Added by John Dean on April 16, 2018 at 12:15 — No Comments

How to create strong characters

You can create the finest landscapes, the greatest stories, the most remarkable writing but you can not make your stories live unless you have characters. They are your vehicle to tell the story.

Characters have jobs to do within the story, making things…

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Added by John Dean on April 16, 2018 at 10:52 — No Comments

Crime fiction sales hit the top of the chart

Crime novels and psychological thrillers are outselling other types of fiction for the first time, after television dramas boosted interest in the genre.

In 2017, 18.7 million crime and thriller books were sold, up 19 per cent since 2015. General and…

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Added by John Dean on April 11, 2018 at 11:00 — No Comments

Anthology is published

I can heartily recommend the latest Crime Writer’s Association (CWA) anthology. The CWA anthologies are collections of short stories by members…

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Added by John Dean on April 6, 2018 at 10:10 — No Comments

Triggering a response from your reader

Continuing my theme of evoking reactions in your reader, I think that good writing is about triggers - words, phrases, images, places, sensations - that reach deep into the reader’…

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Added by John Dean on April 6, 2018 at 10:01 — No Comments

Keeping it real

This is an article I have just had published in Red Herrings, the magazine of the Crime Writers’ Association, of which I am a member, which I thought might…

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Added by John Dean on April 3, 2018 at 15:44 — No Comments

Crime writer to give talk at village hall

Best-selling crime novelist John Dean is to give a talk at the Village Hall in Gelston near Castle Douglas, Dumfries and Galloway,in June.

John, whose books regularly feature in the best-selling charts on Amazon, is the creator of the DCI John Blizzard and DCI Jack Harris series.

The writer, who has had 16 novels published and is currently with The Book Folks of London, will talk about where his ideas come from at the village hall from 7pm on Wednesday June 6. Entrance is £3,…

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Added by John Dean on March 22, 2018 at 8:15 — No Comments

Creating momentum

Here’s some thoughts on starting stories by creating momentum right from the off.

The first rule of opening lines is that they should possess most of the individual elements that make up the story. An opening paragraph should have a distinctive voice, a point of view, a rudimentary…

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Added by John Dean on March 21, 2018 at 9:09 — No Comments

A glimpse into the mind of a writer

Emotion is something of which some writers are wary, preferring to produce work without revealing too much of themselves.

However, for many other writers, there cannot be fiction without a sense of themselves in it.…

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Added by John Dean on March 15, 2018 at 12:07 — No Comments

Author to talk at festival

Join crime writer John Dean at the Darlington Arts Festival Literary Day on Saturday May 26. John, the creator of the DCI John Blizzard and DCI Jack Harris series, who has had 16 novels published and is currently with The Book Folks of London, will talk about where his ideas come from.…

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Added by John Dean on February 28, 2018 at 15:30 — No Comments

Crime writing course is launched

Crime novelist and creative writing tutor John Dean has launched an online Crime Fiction Course.

John, author of 12 novels published by Robert Hale, and the creator of DCI John Blizzard and DCI Jack Harris, also runs Inscribe Media Ltd, which is based in Darlington in North East England, which will be offering the course.

The online course, which runs in eight parts and can begin at a time and date to suit the student, will help writers to improve their technique and improve…

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Added by John Dean on January 27, 2018 at 13:45 — No Comments

Where do writers' ideas come from?

For some writers, stories always start with a place, somewhere that strikes them  so forcibly that the story unfolds around them.

Other writers…

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Added by John Dean on January 5, 2018 at 9:44 — No Comments

Raising a laugh

There’s an old saying that if you are not a humorous person, don’t try to write humour.

Well, it is only part-true. It is certainly the case that a straight-laced, humourless person might well struggle to write side-splitting comedy but if you are an…

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Added by John Dean on December 4, 2017 at 14:55 — No Comments

Writing conflict

Why is conflict important in writing? Because stories need things to happen and that usually comes out of conflict - characters argue, fight, feud etc.

It is through seeing characters in conflict that we see them at their truest, when their guard is down, when they are fighting something.

You can develop a character through conflict: the meek little parlour…

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Added by John Dean on November 8, 2017 at 15:42 — No Comments

A sense of place

It is crucial if you write about a place that the reader can experience it. 

You have choices: do you write rich and vivid prose to paint a word picture or do you keep it minimalist - describe a tree in a park and we all see a different tree and a different park?  Perhaps we only need to say it is a tree in a park?

Whatever you do, do not make it too long, you do not have a lot of words to play with in a short…

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Added by John Dean on November 8, 2017 at 15:40 — No Comments

Mentoring for writers

Novelist John Dean is running an online mentoring and writing workshops programme for aspiring authors.

John, who is based in Darlington, in County Durham, North East England, and has had twelve crime novels published by Robert Hale, of London, is a co-director of Inscribe Media Limited, which is running the programmes.

John, who also runs creative writing courses in Darlington, said: “Writing can be a lonely pastime and our programmes help…

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Added by John Dean on September 28, 2017 at 10:09 — No Comments

Engaging the reader

What makes good writing? I think good writing is good writing because it triggers responses in its readers. Readers say ‘I have been in that situation, ‘I know someone like that’, ‘what a terrible thing to be faced with’ etc etc.

If readers feel like that, it means that they are being drawn into the story. They stand next to your characters, they fear for what is about to happen, they simply must know what is on the next page.

If a reader does…

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Added by John Dean on September 28, 2017 at 10:06 — No Comments

Building momentum from the off

Here’s some more thoughts on starting stories. The cardinal rule is to include most of the individual elements that make up the story, early on. An opening paragraph should have a distinctive voice, a point of view, a rudimentary plot and some hint of characterisation.

The best way to begin is at the first moment of something interesting happening, which is more likely to grab the reader‘s interest.

If you feel compelled to begin a story with…

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Added by John Dean on September 21, 2017 at 11:21 — No Comments

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John Dean posted a blog post

A festival for crime fiction and non-fiction fans

May is National Crime Readers’ Month (NCRM), a unique literary festival held throughout the UK, which promotes the crime genre, both fiction and non fiction.NCRM is designed to bring together writers and readers in order to promote the genre as a whole and writers specifically.It is co-ordinated by The Crime Writers’ Association, which was founded in 1953 by author John Creasey and which also runs sister organisation the Crime Readers’ Association.I am delighted to be taking part in NCRM and…See More
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Crime fiction sales hit the top of the chart

Crime novels and psychological thrillers are outselling other types of fiction for the first time, after television dramas boosted interest in the genre.In 2017, 18.7 million crime and thriller books were sold, up 19 per cent since 2015. General and literary fiction titles, which have led the market for the past 20 years, sold 18.1 million copies.Women are driving the boom, accounting for 53 per cent of crime and thriller sales. The market last year was worth £117 million, according to figures…See More
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Keeping it real

This is an article I have just had published in Red Herrings, the magazine of the Crime Writers’ Association, of which I am a member, which I thought might interest When you talk to writers, one of the subjects that evokes some of the most passionate  debate is the blurring between reality and fiction.There are those writers who argue…See More
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A glimpse into the mind of a writer

Emotion is something of which some writers are wary, preferring to produce work without revealing too much of themselves.However, for many other writers, there cannot be fiction without a sense of themselves in it.For some authors, there is always part of them peering through, their fears, their hopes, their aspirations, their take on life. They may not say ‘and this is me’ but it is there all the same. For many authors, writing has to be a deeply personal art.Of course, it is not all…See More
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Author to talk at festival

Join crime writer John Dean at the Darlington Arts Festival Literary Day on Saturday May 26. John, the creator of the DCI John Blizzard and DCI Jack Harris series, who has had 16 novels published and is currently with The Book Folks of London, will talk about where his ideas come from.Price: Free event, no booking requiredPlace: Library Room at Friends Meeting House, SkinnergateDate and time: 26th May 4pm-5pmFull programme details at…See More
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