John Dean's Blog (325)

My golden rules for new writers



I was asked the other day for my golden rules for new writers. I replied: “Write something every day because you cannot be a writer if you do not write– it may not always be brilliant but at least you’ve done it.”…

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Added by John Dean on April 18, 2019 at 13:30 — No Comments

Strange Little Girl hits 50

Delighted that the DCI John Blizzard mystery Strange Little Girl (The Book Folks) has hit 50 reviews on Amazon with the response from readers being largely favourable.

You can find out what they said at…

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Added by John Dean on April 18, 2019 at 13:22 — No Comments

Bud Craig's new crime novel well worth a read



I can heartily recommend the latest crime novel from my good friend Bud Craig. A Dangerous Time has just been published by The Book Folks.…

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Added by John Dean on April 18, 2019 at 10:30 — No Comments

Grabbing the reader from those crucial opening lines

Here’s some thoughts on a common theme for me, the need to start 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 plot, some hint of…

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Added by John Dean on April 16, 2019 at 9:25 — No Comments

Reflecting the world in which we live

Crime writers offer a reflection of the world in which they live and you can see that in the themes they select as backdrops for their stories.…

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Added by John Dean on April 15, 2019 at 11:20 — No Comments

Light against the dark

I recently taught a section on humour as part of a creative writing course I am running. Let me say at the outset that I know humour can be scary for a writer who does not have a naturally comic ability. It is certainly the case that a straight-laced, humourless person might well struggle to write side-splitting comedy but if you are an author, that might not be a good enough…

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Added by John Dean on April 10, 2019 at 10:02 — No Comments

Avoiding the cliche trap

One of the big challenges for a writer is not falling into the trap of using clichés, defined by Dictionary.com as trite, stereotyped expressions that have lost originality, ingenuity and impact through over-use. Examples of clichés are often similes, for example cold as ice, black as coal and like a fish out…

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Added by John Dean on April 8, 2019 at 13:27 — No Comments

A thank you to my Canadian readers

Absolutely delighted that a number of my novels, including The Long Dead, are doing well in the Canadian Amazon Kindle charts.

It’s always humbling to be read by people in other countries and I thank my Canadian…

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Added by John Dean on April 5, 2019 at 14:32 — No Comments

CWA brings writers, venues and book groups together in National Crime Reading Month in May

May will be a time for murder and mayhem as National Crime Reading Month (NCRM) makes a welcome return – and the organisers are urging writers and venues to become involved.…

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Added by John Dean on April 4, 2019 at 13:28 — No Comments

Where it all started for Jack Harris

Delighted that Dead Hill (The Book Folks) - where it all started for DCI Jack Harris - is at number 23 in the Amazon Kindle Crime Fiction chart. You can find out who else is there at…

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Added by John Dean on April 2, 2019 at 10:35 — No Comments

Competing demands

Further to my previous blog, which referred to DCI John Blizzard becoming a father and how the experience has caused him to mature as a man, you can find out how he balances the competing demands of the search for a gunman with those presented by a baby…

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Added by John Dean on April 2, 2019 at 10:09 — No Comments

Nobody's perfect

I received a negative review of one of my novels the other day, on Amazon. The writer said that they stopped reading the book (which has received largely positive reviews) because DCI John Blizzard acted in a lewd way, commenting on a woman’s appearance in a manner more suited to the Seventies.…

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Added by John Dean on April 2, 2019 at 9:00 — No Comments

Talk at arts centre

As part of National Crime Reading Month, crime novelist John Dean is to give a talk at Catstrand Arts Centre in New Galloway, Dumfries and Galloway, followed by a screening of classic crime film Brighton Rock.

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

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Added by John Dean on April 1, 2019 at 15:28 — No Comments

Places left on crime fiction course

Best-selling crime novelist and creative writing tutor John Dean, who is based in Dumfries and Galloway, is running an online Crime Fiction Course.

John, author of 17 novels and…

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Added by John Dean on April 1, 2019 at 15:26 — No Comments

Places left on workshops

Best-selling crime novelist John Dean is to run two weekend courses for aspiring writers at his home near Castle Douglas in Dumfries and Galloway and there are plenty of places left.…

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Added by John Dean on April 1, 2019 at 15:25 — No Comments

Catch me if you can

Revealing something of themselves in their writing is something of which many writers are wary, preferring to produce work in which their personality is obscured.…

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Added by John Dean on April 1, 2019 at 14:51 — No Comments

Catch me if you can

Revealing something of themselves in their writing is something of which many writers are wary, preferring to produce work in which their personality is obscured.…

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Added by John Dean on April 1, 2019 at 14:51 — No Comments

Bookings open for festival crime writing workshop

A reminder that bookings are open for my crime writing workshop taking place on my return to Darlington for the Darlington Arts Festival in May.

Title: An Introduction to Crime Fiction – Writing workshop

Event details Best-selling crime novelist John Dean is to run an Introduction to Crime Fiction creative writing workshop. John, author…

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Added by John Dean on March 29, 2019 at 9:10 — No Comments

More thoughts on the writer's tools of the trade

Further to my previous blog on words, they are our tools and, as with any tools, you need to select the right ones for the job.

For me, it is best to keep it simple and effective: write what you want to say. Don’t be tempted to use different words just for the sake of it.

Sometimes it’s not necessary to find alternatives. It can make a…

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Added by John Dean on March 28, 2019 at 14:00 — No Comments

Getting the words right

The use of words is something dear to all our hearts as writers. They are, after all, our tools of the trade and we should wield them with all the care taken by an artisan when using a chisel.

I once came across a web page published by the Now York Times, saying that the titles of every book published in English in and around the 19th Century — 1,681,161 of them - were electronically scoured by American researchers for key words and phrases that might offer insight into the minds of…

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Added by John Dean on March 28, 2019 at 13:48 — No Comments

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Light against the dark

I recently taught a section on humour as part of a creative writing course I am running. Let me say at the outset that I know humour can be scary for a writer who does not have a naturally comic ability. It is certainly the case that a straight-laced, humourless person might well struggle to write side-splitting comedy but if you are an author, that might not be a good enough excuse.Why? Because even if you are not writing an out-and-out comic piece, humour has a role to perform. It can perform…See More
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Margaret Miller is now a member of John Dean Crime Novelist
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John Dean shared their blog post on Facebook
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