Monday, May 18, 2009

CrimeFest, Day IV

Super moderator Martin Edwards acknowledged that the members of his "Edge of Doom: What Pushes Your Characters Over the Edge" panel were previously unfamiliar to him. This may have accounted for the general nature of some of the questions. And this, in turn, let some surprising answers shine through.

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.
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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

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10 Comments:

OpenID bookwitch said...

Martin Edwards is a good moderator, isn't he? Last year he was quite new to me, but I felt he was better than most. (Some I would have paid not to have to listen to again.)

May 18, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

He'd be my choice for the moderator spot on the all-CrimeFest team, a perferct midpoint between letting the panelists ramble and cutting them off. It was interesting to notice the different styles of the different moderators.

May 18, 2009  
Blogger adrian mckinty said...

Peter

You didnt by any chance get Brett's take on the Eoin Colfer Hitchhiker book?

May 18, 2009  
Blogger adrian mckinty said...

Peter,

Good job no one asked Rafe who wrote The Code of the Woosters.

Tak, tsk, tsk, Mr McGregor.

Peter, I hope you'll pardon a little inside ribbing.

May 18, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Adrian, my quizzing of Brett was restricted to his own early days on the Hitchhikers' Guide. His name in the acknowledgments to the book has stuck with me lo these many years as being the quintessentially English moniker.

Speaking of quintessences, my ears are buzzing from the Glasgow and Geordie accents I've heard this week. They make a bracing music.

May 18, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I believe Eoin Colfer completed The Code of the Woosters.

I'm apprehensive about the Colfer Hitchhiker's Guide. I suspect he'll do a good job. Still, I like the Guide, and I love Colfer's work, so I hope the new book turns out all right.

May 18, 2009  
Blogger adrian mckinty said...

I like Eoin too and I will read the book but something about the whole business makes me queasy.

And speaking of queasy so glad you are off to the land of the Ulster fry tomorrow. Is is inauthentic if it does not contain fried: bacon, egg, potato bread, soda bread, sausage and black pudding.

May 18, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I believe I was served authentic Ulster fries in Belfast last year, fine fuel for a day of touring.

May 18, 2009  
OpenID bookwitch said...

Eoin says he has finished the book. It's out in October, and is so fancy that we don't get ARCs.

May 19, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Thanks. I'm picturing covers that display multiple images depending on the angle from which one views it and such.

At a certain level of success and income, a publisher need not take reviewers into consideration, of course.

May 19, 2009  

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