2013 Creative writing course:
"Writing Crime Fiction"
5 October to 12 October 2013
Meg writes bestselling thrillers that have been translated into 20 languages. The Evan Delaney novels feature a smart-aleck freelance journalist from Santa Barbara, California. Stephen King calls them "simply put, the finest crime-suspense series I've come across in the last 20years".
China Lake won the 2009 Edgar Award for Best Paperback Original.
The Jo Beckett series features a San Francisco forensic psychiatrist. It includes The Liar's Lullaby, The Memory Collector, and The Dirty Secrets Club, which was chosen one of the Top Ten thrillers of 2008 by Amazon, and won the Romantic Times Reviewers' Choice Award for Best Procedural Novel of the year.
The Nightmare Thief, featuring both Jo Beckett and Evan Delaney, won the 2012 Audie Award for Thriller/Suspense audiobook of the year.
The stand alone Ransom River is her 10th novel.
Writing is Meg's third career. A graduate of Stanford University and Stanford Law School, she practised law in Los Angeles and taught writing at the University of California, Santa Barbara. More recently she has taught workshops on crime writing for HarperCollins UK and the Elmbridge Literature Festival. In November 2012 she'll be one of two tutors for the Crime Writing Weekend run in London by Curtis Brown Creative and Orion Publishing. She loves working with students who share the creative spark and love to write gripping fiction.
After living in California most of her life, a number of years ago Meg moved with her family to the UK. Now she writes suspense novels – "a job I'm immensely lucky to have".
You can find out more about Meg on her website, www.meggardiner.com
Meg says: " I'd be very happy to have from you a few pages of your writing before the course starts. I'll read it before we meet and we'll have an opportunity for individual discussions durung the week about your work and your aspirations,
"Below there's a 'rough cut' of the schedule for the writing course at the watermill. It might change around a bit, but these are all the topics we'll cover.
"During the sessions all students will have time to work on the topics we're covering, and we'll review and discuss them. I'll also have one-on-one sessions with each student during the week."
Transportation from Pisa airport, settle in at mill and get to know each other..
Why we love crime: Thrills, danger and justice. What's really at the heart of great crime novels.
Story Structure: How to spin a tale that grips readers to the last page. The basics of plotting: thwarting desire. The essential elements of a thriller.
Heroes, Heroines, and the Hook: Creating compelling main characters and a big idea to hang the story on.
The Antagonist: Why a great villain is the key to successful crime writing. Analysis of memorable villains in crime fiction. Build a bad guy: animating your own creation.
Secrets, Lies and Adrenaline: the inside scoop on techniques for creating suspense, upping tension, and improving pace.
Dialogue: How to get it right. Writing prompt: Love, hate, lust and bullets.
Wednesday - excursion day (everyone goes to Lucca or the Cinque Terre)
A chance for us all to enjoy the stimulus of new, beautiful surroundings.
Designing the Perfect Crime: Story design in crime novels. Genre and sub-genre. Acts, scenes, beats, lines. Creating a powerful opening paragraph.
The Crime Writer's Arsenal: Voice. Point of view. Flashbacks and subplots. Research: the key to credibility. Love scenes.
Revision: All good writing is rewriting. Triage, or a better way of revising. I'll ask you to make a plan for revising your first drafts.
Publishing: Nuts and bolts and lasers. Welcome to the new world of the 21st century. Commercial publishing, self-publishing. Where crime fiction and thrillers are heading.
Farewell breakfast and transport to Pisa airport.