Friday, May 26, 2006

Crime Writing Workshop: Reflections

Now that I've had a few days to absorb the lessons I learned at the workshop, I thought it would be a good idea to detail a couple of the more interesting ones.

I'll start off by saying that I don't think there was any single concept that I hadn't read about in one of my millions of books on writing. And before you lay into me about being more addicted to learning about writing than actually writing, well, don't. I loves me writing. And me reading. So it only makes good sense that I would love reading about writing too.

Camera angles:

In this age of visual entertainment, with lowered attention spans and increased visual cortexes, as writers we should pay at least some attention to the use of filmic techniques in our writing. Long pans for establishing shots, extreme closeups during emotionally intense situations, cutting from scene to scene.

Marele said that one of the more common mistakes she finds in rookie writing is the use of a single camera angle throughout the novel. It can get to be claustrophobic. The reader has to be able to breathe and rest at points, something which ties in to the whole pace of the novel.

Sound and Theme:

Probably not a technique you would use a lot, but this is something I had never come across before. I've known for some time that the sound of words can have a big influence on the readability and believability of writing, but I'd never thought to connect the sound of the writing to the subject.

One example from my notes is this little snippet from THE LIFE AND CRIMES OF HARRY LAVENDER: "The hi-tech heart spasming out of control."

Say it out loud and you'll see that the rhythm and sound of the words relates to the subject. A subtle technique, but I think even the most casual reader would be unconsciously affected.


Bet that heading makes you think I'm going to write about the importance and power of endings in the structure of crime novels.


Just trying to end the post.


Sandra Ruttan said...

Actually, I find endings tricky. Very tricky. There's only been one time that the first ending I wrote to a ms, I was happy with in principle. I still had to do some tweaking to it, but it was - to me - a satisfying ending.

I think it took four goes with the other one.

Camera angles - excellent point. Matching sound of words and subject can be very tricky, but when done well works exceptionally well. Sounds like this was good for you. Thanks for sharing about it.

Daniel Hatadi said...

I guess endings and beginnings are both extremely important. Get the ending right and the casual browser in a bookshop will buy the book. Get the ending right and they'll buy your next book.

Hey, thanks for thanking me for sharing.

Sandra Ruttan said...

Doesn't it make you feel like you've been a well-behaved boy in Kindergarten today?

Daniel Hatadi said...

Yes, Mrs Ruttan. Thank you Mrs Ruttan.

Sandra Ruttan said...

AHHHH! Even when I was teaching, I never got called Mrs. Ruttan.

Either "Miss Sandra" or "Mrs. (insert married name)" or, in one on one, Sandra. And I always felt sorry when surnames were required because these poor kids I worked with (who had speech delays) had enough trouble with Sandra. Never mind my surname!