All Blog Posts (220)

Exploring human passions in fiction

I am developing a talk that examines writers’ fascination with the way people flout convention, be it legal, ethical or moral. The talk has been inspired, in part, by my…

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Added by John Dean on October 18, 2018 at 14:10 — No Comments

Thinking differently

I have always thought - and I know I will be shot down for this in some quarters - that writers view the world differently to a lot of people.

Talking to writers certainly bears that out, though, the way a word, a phrase, an image, an idea can create a train of thought that evolves…

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Added by John Dean on October 18, 2018 at 13:42 — No Comments

Depicting conflict in fiction

I am returning to a familiar theme for this blog because it will form part of my theme for the talks I give for Book Week Scotland in late November (details to be announced).

The week’s theme is…

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Added by John Dean on October 17, 2018 at 10:29 — No Comments

Memories, memories...

I am interested in the journeys that writers take to their chosen way of life.

My passion for writing stretches back to my childhood. I was fortunate in…

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

Dead Hill reviewed more than 50 times

Dead Hill, the first DCI Jack Harris crime novel, has attracted more than 50 reviews on Amazon. The novel is set against a backdrop of illegal birds’ egg collecting in the North Pennines and you can see what the reviewers made of it at…

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Added by John Dean on October 15, 2018 at 14:21 — No Comments

Thou Shalt Kill riding high



Delighted that the latest DCI Harris novel Thou Shalt Kill (The Book Folks) is riding high in the Amazon Kindle best-seller charts and attracting some complimentary reviews.

Telling the story of a double murder in a remote upland community, it can be bought at …

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Added by John Dean on October 11, 2018 at 14:37 — No Comments

And this is me

I was telling someone about my crime writing the other day and it made me sound a right ghoul, reflecting on horrible themes as I do.…

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Added by John Dean on October 11, 2018 at 14:31 — No Comments

So where do story ideas come from?

Just lately, I’ve been doing a lot of teaching, and giving a number of talks, on the idea of ideas and during my research I came across these excellent quotes:

  • People always want to know: Where do I get my ideas? They're everywhere. I'm inspired by people and things around me. (Gwendolyn Brooks, American poet)
  • My standard answer is "I don't know where they come from, but I know where they come to, they come to my desk." If I'm not there, they go away again, so…
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Added by John Dean on October 10, 2018 at 11:25 — No Comments

Celebrating Libraries Week

 …

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Added by John Dean on October 8, 2018 at 10:42 — No Comments

Focusing once more on the golden rules of writing

I…

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Added by John Dean on October 5, 2018 at 16:22 — No Comments

When an idea takes hold of a writer

I have talked to quite a few aspiring writers lately, who although loving short stories have decided to have a crack at producing a novel as well.…

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Added by John Dean on October 3, 2018 at 10:52 — No Comments

When less is more

As the years have progressed, my writing has become more spare, less adjectives, more story.

I have learned the need for this approach from various sources; skilled editors at my publishers, reading good fiction (and bad, you can learn a lot from bad…

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Added by John Dean on October 3, 2018 at 10:35 — No Comments

The Railway Man murder mystery novel - special offer



 

The Railway Man is on special offer at the moment. Veteran crime-solver DCI John Blizzard is confronted with his hardest case yet when a boxer and wide boy is found…

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Added by John Dean on October 3, 2018 at 10:30 — No Comments

new DCI Harris book

Just ordered Book five in the DCI Harris series.

Added by Deborah Kaback on October 1, 2018 at 21:12 — 1 Comment

Don't give your idea away - short story or novel?

Sometimes, I find myself telling a writing student that they ‘have given their idea’ away, by which I mean that the idea for a story is a really good one but that it has been wasted.…

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Added by John Dean on September 27, 2018 at 15:07 — No Comments

Creative writing course to run in Kirkcudbright

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Added by John Dean on September 27, 2018 at 15:00 — No Comments

Music to my ears

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Added by John Dean on September 27, 2018 at 14:30 — No Comments

Death on the Northern hills



What brings hardened city gangland figures to the North Pennines and one of them to his violent death? DCI Jack Harris must find out…

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Added by John Dean on September 27, 2018 at 14:01 — No Comments

Weekend writing workshop – taking inspiration from your surroundings

Seeking inspiration for your writing? Fancy writing in a 160-year-old house on a hill? Looking to learn more about how writers draw inspiration from their surroundings? Like to find a peaceful corner of a garden to write (weather permitting!)? And all with delicious home-cooked meals?

Then this is a reminder that a weekend course at Kettle Knowe near Castle Douglas is for you. Best-selling crime novelist and creative writing tutor John Dean is offering courses for your writing group…

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

Making life difficult for your characters

At the heart of every crime novel is a strong story. But how do you put it all together? Well, at the heart of any interesting story is the way characters overcome obstacles through their own skills…

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Added by John Dean on September 25, 2018 at 13:59 — No Comments

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Depicting conflict in fiction

I am returning to a familiar theme for this blog because it will form part of my theme for the talks I give for Book Week Scotland in late November (details to be announced).The week’s theme is rebellion which for writers means depicting conflict. As you can imagine, I write a lot about conflict!But 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…See More
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So where do story ideas come from?

Just lately, I’ve been doing a lot of teaching, and giving a number of talks, on the idea of ideas and during my research I came across these excellent quotes:People always want to know: Where do I get my ideas? They're everywhere. I'm inspired by people and things around me. (Gwendolyn Brooks, American poet)My standard answer is "I don't know where they come from, but I know where they come to, they come to my desk." If I'm not there, they go away again, so you've got to sit and think. (Philip…See More
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