A week today I'll be in Paignton, as a guest of the excellent Sleuths Crime Writing Festival.

I'm doing two events, a crime writing workshop in Paignton Library and a talk about the tvdetective books at the Another Chapter bookshop in Brixham.  This Saturday morning finds me working out what to say at both, and happily making a little progress.

The talk is fairly straightforward, just the usual list of strange Hall thoughts and bizarre anecdotes, which many of you have been generous enough to say you find passably interesting or even amusing.

The workshop is rather more tricky.  Firstly, there's the self doubt bit.  Always when I'm asked to talk about how to write a novel, I start thinking - well, who am I to say?  All I did was one day - rather vainly - decide to write a book.  It came as more than a little surprise to get published, then to be asked for more! 

However, I'll do my best, as ever, and so this is what I've decided to try.  It's going to be a quick fire session in which I'll attempt to cover all the major points of a book. We'll start with the importance of a fine opening line, then go onto characters, plots and settings, and also one of the key parts of crime fiction - how to con the readers.

All that in an hour and a quarter!  It'll certainly be a challenge...

I always enjoy these events enormously, and often because I learn as much, if not more, than the poor unfortunates in the audience.  So, if you're coming along, I'll look forward to seeing you, and if you haven't got anything planned for next Saturday (9th April), do think about a visit to the festival.  It's a great event and growing event, and a real asset to the south west.

Back to the preparations then - no weekend lie in for me!  There are more details of the festival on the News and Events page -  if you should fancy a visit.