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Added: Wednesday 13th September, 2017

Three literary crimes a writer should never commit…

Top crime writers list the mistakes aspiring writers should avoid.

Leye Adenle, author of Easy Motion Tourist

Be highfalutin; unnecessarily grandiose
Use exclamations with reckless abandon
Use clichés like reckless abandon

Stella Duffy, author of London Lies Beneath

Forgetting the book is for the reader.
Letting the writer’s ‘voice’ get in the way of the story.
Thinking there are any crimes a writer should never commit – there is magic in all the mistakes.

Imran Mahmood, author of You Don’t Know Me

Never bore the reader
Never use more words than you need to
Never forget that it is a privilege to write not a chore

Karen Maitland, author of The Plague Charmer

Using what Stephen Fry calls ‘sixth-form words’ that readers have to look up in a dictionary. It jerks them out of the story.
Relying on TV dramas and Hollywood films for facts – DNA results don’t come back to the police in an hour and medieval women didn’t ride side-saddle.
Ending the novel with ‘it was all a dream.’

Mel McGrath, author of Give Me the Child

Underestimating readers – the only literary crime that carries the death sentence.

Nick Quantrill, author of The Dead Can’t Talk

Never start a novel slowly, fight hard against clichés and never refer to a female police constable as a WPC...

Stav Sherez, author of The Intrusions

Being Boring.
Using platitudes or clichés.
Using dialect in dialogue.

Lone Theils, author of Fatal Crossing

Have no sense of humour, spend too much time on describing things that have no bearing on the plot and not to solve the crime in the end.

Laura Wilson, author of The Other Woman

In crime fiction: Not making the stakes high enough or the motive sufficient to the crime, and characters who are generic rather than individual.

Felicia Yap, author of Yesterday

Excessive use of adverbs.
Excessive telling, instead of showing.
Excessive use of speech tags.


All ten authors will be speaking at Noirwich Crime Writing Festival, 14-17 September.