52 books in 52 weeks: Writing Crime Fiction

I set myself the goal of reading and reviewing 52 writing guides over the year. Here is book 15.

The first thing Writing Crime Fiction by Rosemary Rowe advises you to do is ALL of the exercises in this book – and there are plenty.

The second thing it tells you to do is to work on something fresh for the purpose of these exercises …

However, later in the book, the author does say that readers may work on something they already have in progress now that they’ve done all of the other exercises.

I love these writers’ guides from Teach Yourself Books. Some fall into the “get started in …” category while others, like this one, fall into the “creative writing masterclass” category.

Of the entire series, this is one of the shorter books, coming in at just over three hours to read the whole book from cover to cover. Obviously, joining in with the exercises will take much longer.

Topics covered include genre, setting, character, dialogue, structure, viewpoint, editing, etc.

The first few exercises are what I call exercises-for-exercise-sake. But from the middle of Chapter One the exercises start to build on each other with ideas for those who aren’t sure where they’re going just yet,

I’m not sure I see the point of the workshop exercises in many of the Teach Yourself books as they’re more of a comprehension exercise. True, this will exercise the writing muscle, but for me, I’d far rather be expending time on something that at least has the possibility of turning into something I can send out.

If you have a burning desire to write something but have no idea what exactly you want to write, then this is an excellent resource for getting the writing juices going. Personally, I’d like a few more write-along exercises that can be applied to new or existing material.

However, I do recommend the book for any level of writer at any point in their career, as we can always learn something new and fresh. And it might kickstart a stalled project.

Writing Crime Fiction  is available on Kindle for £8.99 ($11.38), and in paperback for £12.99 ($16.99 – although at the time of writing, the US paperback was out of stock).