CrimeFest, Day IV
Caro Ramsay put a nice spin on the old idea of writers who say their characters are in charge. For her, writing a novel is a collaborative effort, "like writing a script and giving it to actors I know very well."
"The plot," said M.R. Hall, who brought television experience to his novel writing, "has to drive the character to the edge of destruction." To this, Ramsay replied that "Plot drives the writer to the edge of destruction."
Brian McGilloway cited Shakespeare among the writers he admires and made a good case for the Bard's crime-fiction chops. Shakespeare incorporated suspense, tight structure and, of especially timely interest to your humble blogkeeper, "gallows humor following a death." (At an earlier panel, I'd cited Ken Bruen and Allan Guthrie for effective use of humor at dark moments. And Shakespeare and crime has been a recurrent interest here at Detectives Beyond Borders. I invite McGilloway and other readers to have a look.)
And I cheered when Steven Hague added prose style to plot and character as key constituent of crime writing.
Edwards then stepped across CrimeFest's suite of rooms and retained his title at the festival's "Crossfire: Criminal Mastermind" quiz. I was torn between casting my lot with him or with Simon Brett as my choice to win. I chose Brett. Had I chosen Edwards, I'd have won a free pass to the festival next year.
A short Saturday night bar chat with Brett was nonetheless one of my CrimeFest highlights. He was honored for his long and prolific crime-writing career, but he'd worked in radio before he began writing books and was the first producer of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. In the acknowledgements to the book version of The Hitchhiker's Guide, author Douglas Adams thanks "Simon Brett, for starting the whole thing off." I enjoyed the radio broadcasts and the first few books, so it was a pleasure to enjoy a few minutes of Guide and Adams stories from Brett.
Finally, an apology to Rafe McGregor. He, too, was on the team that kicked my own Shots Detectives squad into second place in the pub quiz.
See the complete CrimeFest program here.
© Peter Rozovsky 2009