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Comment from the book world in March 2020

March 2020

Advice for aspiring crime writers

9 March 2020

‘Do your homework. This is a very competitive genre and you need to be aware of not only current novels, but current television series and films too. There is nothing worse than working on a story for months only to find out it has already been done. I would also advise that you learn how to write a treatment of no more than two or three pages, because as a writer, you need commissions, be it in publishing, television or film. You will also have to learn how to pitch a plot line if your treatment gets a bite. Importantly, if you do have the good fortune to get a project commissioned, pay for a good lawyer to read through and explain all the contracts you will be asked to sign.'

London Book & Screen Week ambassador Lynda La Plante, author of 33 novels, including The Legacy, Widows and Buried (published in April) and many TV series, including Widows and Prime Suspect in Bookbrunch

Lynda's handsome website

'A controlled psychosis'

3 March 2020

‘Anyone who has ever tried to write a novel knows what an arduous task it is, undoubtedly one of the worst ways of occupying oneself. You have to remain within yourself all the time, in solitary confinement. It's a controlled psychosis, an obsessive paranoia manacled to work completely lacking in the feather pens and bustles and Venetian masks we would ordinarily associate with it, clothed instead in a butcher's apron and rubber boots, eviscerating knife in hand. You can only barely see from that writerly cellar the feet of passers-by, hear the rapping of their heels. Every so often someone stops and bends down and glances in through the window, and then you get a glimpse of a human face, maybe even exchange a few words. But ultimately the mind is so occupied with its own act, a play staged by the self of the self in a hasty, makeshift cabinet of curiosities peopled by author and character, narrator and reader, the person describing and the person described, that feet, shoes, heels, and faces become, sooner or later, mere components of that act.'

Olga Tokarczuk, Polish Nobel Laureate for Literature and author of House of Day, House of Night and Primeval and Other Tales