All Blog Posts (244)

Creating tension in crime fiction

As part of my work, I am often hired to assess aspiring authors’ manuscripts and one of the recurring themes that crops up in the reports that I write is how to build tension.

Tension is crucial in crime fiction but…

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Added by John Dean on December 10, 2018 at 10:07 — No Comments

Good reviews





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Added by John Dean on December 10, 2018 at 10:00 — No Comments

How landscape inspire writers

As I have said in previous blogs, I have always believed that a writer is influenced to some degree by where they live and work. I know it is a gross generalisation but I am sure that a writer writing in a dark, cold landscape produces different fiction than one in a bright sunny one.…

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Added by John Dean on December 8, 2018 at 19:00 — No Comments

Triggering ideas

I am preparing a writing workshop which focuses on ideas and which will attempt to spark some ideas for stories from those present in the room.

As anyone…

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Added by John Dean on December 8, 2018 at 15:34 — No Comments

Chart success





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Added by John Dean on December 7, 2018 at 9:00 — No Comments

When ideas find you



As I have mentioned in previous blogs, I’ve been doing a lot of teaching on the idea of ideas lately and among the quotes I came across during my research was “People always want to know: Where do I get my ideas? They're everywhere. I'm inspired by people and things around me” from Gwendolyn Brooks, an American poet.

That is certainly true…

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Added by John Dean on December 5, 2018 at 14:19 — No Comments

Book enjoys a good year

A year after being published by The Book Folks, The Railway Man continues to be my best performing title in the Amazon Kindle Top 100 British Detective stories, currently occupying Number 87.

In the book, few tears are shed when an ex-boxer and local hard man is found dead in a disused railway signal box. When DCI John Blizzard is called in to…

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Added by John Dean on December 3, 2018 at 14:41 — No Comments

The thinking behind my online crime fiction course

I recently did a Q and A session for a magazine to promote our online crime fiction course and thought it would be of interest. If you wish to find out more about the course, you can contact me on deangriss@btintenet.com…

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Added by John Dean on December 3, 2018 at 10:00 — No Comments

New titles



The Book Folks have some cracking new books out, including Vengeance Blind by the excellent Anna Willett, a thriller full of suspense and intrigue. You can find out more about all the latest books at…

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Added by John Dean on December 3, 2018 at 9:30 — No Comments

Bud Craig on writing

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Added by John Dean on November 28, 2018 at 15:27 — No Comments

When is too much too much?

Although I am a crime novelist, I recently taught a class on horror fiction, as part of a creative writing course I was running.

The session threw up an old chestnut, one that is often debated by crime writers as well. How graphic do you allow your writing to become? Do you leave it to the reader’s imagination or soak them in blood and gore at every opportunity?

It was an interesting debate and we never really came to a definitive answer. However, there was a leaning towards…

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Added by John Dean on November 28, 2018 at 13:12 — No Comments

Creating good characters in fiction

A lot of my teaching focuses on characters (they are at the heart of my classes, they are, after all, our major tools as writers).

So how do you create them? Here’s some thoughts:

* Maybe base them on people you know but beware of the law. Don’t lift your local vicar wholesale and turn him/her into a cold-blooded killer! Make your characters composites of several people

*Describe their physical characteristics You can do it one bit or slot descriptions in as you go. Describe… Continue

Added by John Dean on November 27, 2018 at 11:41 — No Comments

Your chance to protest at plan to scrap school librarians





A decision to replace trained school librarians with pupils has been criticised. The criticism came after it was reported that Sc…

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Added by John Dean on November 26, 2018 at 15:00 — No Comments

I'm in there somewhere!

I have been having some interesting discussions with crime writers recently about emotion.

Emotion is something of which some writers are…

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Added by John Dean on November 26, 2018 at 10:22 — No Comments

Writing a series

Writing a series brings with it its own challenges -…

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Added by John Dean on November 26, 2018 at 9:54 — No Comments

A spot of villainy

An important part of crime writing is creating villains. The golden rule is to make them credible; you have to make them real and not some clichéd villain lifted from the movies.…

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Added by John Dean on November 21, 2018 at 10:57 — No Comments

Audio books prove popular





I am delighted that the Jack Harris audio crime books Dead Hill, To Die Alone and The Vixen’s Scream, narrated by the excellent Nicholas Camm, are proving popular.…

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Added by John Dean on November 20, 2018 at 10:00 — No Comments

Books doing well

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Added by John Dean on November 12, 2018 at 14:18 — No Comments

Encouraging reviews

It is always humbling when readers post good reviews of your work, as has happened with…

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Added by John Dean on November 12, 2018 at 13:18 — No Comments

Book Week Scotland talks

As part of Book Week Scotland crime writer John Dean will be giving talks at Georgetown Library, Dumfries, at 6pm on Monday November 19 and at 2pm at Stranraer Library on Tuesday November…

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Added by John Dean on November 5, 2018 at 9:54 — No Comments

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