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Vienna | 22.2.2008 | 10:49 
God, what's happening in the world! A reality check on the web.

Chris, DaddyD, Zita

 
 
"Heroines are expected to be virgins"
  If you ever thought about becoming a crime writer then join the club. The list of authors is endless, but the list of really successful ones is very limited. In fact, Elizabeth George (author of the hugely popular Inspector Lynley mysteries) gave us some advice recently. Roughly it went along the lines of: don't expect to be famous or even get published, but write for your own enjoyment. In fact don't sit there trying to second guess the market for the next "Da Vinci Code". Highly paid publishers are doing this all the time in New York and London and often even they fail in that quest. If you feel inclined to put pen to paper and crime is your fascination, find characters or backgrounds that really appeal to you and you alone. Then, writing will be a pleasurable pastime. And who knows, others may just start to latch on to your particular twist.
 
 
 
  This Saturday's Reality Check is all about the boom in crime fiction novels and all you need to know about being a crime writer. How to get started, what kinds of things you should bear in mind if you are serious about putting your ideas down on paper.

As well as Elizabeth George, we get thoughts from Louise Welsh ("The Cutting Room"), Joy Fielding ("Heartstopper") and Ruth Rendell (Inspector Wexford mysteries). But I think one of the most interesting things I discovered (for myself anyway) in helping to stitch this programme together is a quote from Marie F Rodell who back in the 1950s put together a guide for budding US crime authors entitled: "Mystery Fiction, Theory and Technique" She wrote and I quote:

"Sexual perversions, other than sadism, are definitely taboo. And sadism must be presented in its least sexual form. Homosexuality may be hinted at, but never used as an explicit and important factor in the story - all other perversions are absolutely beyond the pale."

 Elizabeth George
Foto: EPA /APA
 
 
Sexual joking is permissible
  Even references to normal sex relationships must be carefully watched. Except in the 'tough' school, unmarried heroines are expected to be virgins (A tearful and truly repentant Magdalene is sometimes possible.) A certain amount of sexual joking between married characters is permissible, so long as it is not crude, do not use Anglo-Saxon monosyllables, and do not refer too directly to the sexual act. And of course the entire list of possible clues, motives and methods dependent on the natural functions or the sexual act are out of the question. Abortion, however, is considered legitimate mystery material if it is handled carefully and condemned."

So keep that in mind for your next epic - about the spurned lover coming up the hill, swinging an axe! Reality Check can be heard on Saturday at 12 midday. Or click here to download the podcast after the program.

 
 
Reality Check Special Podcast
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Links für [iTunes] und [xml]
 
fm4 links
  They call her "The Queen Of Crime"
Elizabeth George in Vienna, a Reality Check special by Jill Zobel.
   
 
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