Murder Most Foul – Aided and abetted by authors and crime advisors, Mel McGrath, Kate Bendelow (also a serving CSI), Neil White (also a prosecuting lawyer) and Graham Bartlett (a former senior detective), you will first be faced with a staged murder scene. It will be your job to control the area around the brutally slain body then to identify, preserve and recover the forensic evidence. Next you will work out how the victim met their grisly end before, like your lead detective might, you will decide how to get the investigation rolling. There will be plenty of red herrings and blind alleys, just like real life!
Then the group will divide and it’s off to the first of two workshops:
1) Fact into Fiction – Kate and Graham will take you through how crime scenes and murders are actually investigated. You will learn the dos and don’ts of writing crime and procedure; what you can get away with and what you can’t. They will spend some time myth busting as well as helping you locate the hidden places where your drama may lie. Kate and Graham have spent decades in the police and will lift the lid on its culture hierarchy and jargon, all essential ingredients to writing authentic characters.
2) A (Re)Search for the Truth? – Neil will help you write compelling and cliché-free courtroom scenes, reflecting the pomp and protocol of the British Criminal Justice System and, of course, the law. You will learn how lawyers and judges behave and think and what happens if you land the nightmare client. Mel will then help you to approach research. She will provide golden tips on how to access experts and the rules around turning all you will learn into gripping drama, avoiding the temptation to inflict your readers to an information-dump.
After a well-earned lunch, you will swap workshops so by the end of the day you will be confident in creating authentic characters and real drama from the discovery of a body to the incarceration of the killer, in a way that will be the envy of many.
NB. No human beings will be harmed for the purposes of this workshop.
The Dragons’ Pen- Four brilliant publishing professionals. Two minutes to convince them that your synopsis and first chapter are worth reading. One audience full of your fellow would-be writers. Our literary version of the popular TV show, Dragons’ Den, is not for the faint-hearted.