Secrets and surprises

I've just got back from a (richly deserved, I think you'll agree?) holiday.  And from this, I've concluded two things -

Holidays are good in that they exist.  They're less good in that they come to an end.

However, I had a splendid time. As with my dear friend Dan in the tvdetective books, I tend to holiday close to home, usually in Cornwall, Devon, Dorset and Somerset.

The reasons are twofold - being frightened of flying (and I mean proper scared - wanting to open the plane door and get out, despite being 30,000 feet up) rather scuppers any hope of going much further afield.  Plus, I just love the south west.

Walking is a preferred pastime, and not just to the pub.  And where better than here for some fine walking? I've just followed some new trails, around the Roseland in Cornwall, and Falmouth too, and it was wonderful.  The only thing missing was a dog like Rutherford to take along, but that day will come.

One of the finest gifts a holiday bestows is the time and space to do some thinking. The working week can get so busy and tiring that there's precious little space left for much, apart from the basic art of survival.

I used some of the respite to work on ideas for the latest teaching I'm doing; next week (June 22nd/23rd) at the Winchester Writers' Conference.  I like to vary the lessons, and I've come up with a couple of exercises I hope are going to be both fun and thought-provoking.

They're on two themes - secrets and surprises.

Surprises, or twists, are so important in crime, and I think I've found an entertaining way to make people think originally in order to try to create them.  I try to put at least a couple of surprises in each of the tvdetective books, and not just the fact I've actually written the things!

The secrets part may get a little edgy, as it digs into the danger zone of our souls, but I think (hope?!) it'll be worthwhile.  It's my view that keeping secrets is a fundamental of human existence (The Judgement Book is all about secrets and was highly enjoyable to write for that), so it's certainly worth exploring.

No more about the exercises here - I don't want to spoil it for those of you coming to Winchester. I'm greatly looking forward to the conference, it seems a feast of writing fun. If you're interested, there's more on the News and Events page -

So, I'd better get back to planning it all, but first a favourite song for this blog.  Today, it's Wrapped Around Your Finger, by The Police.  A great tune, for the enigma of the music, but also the age-old, but no less intriguing story of master and apprentice...