Bendigo Writers Council – February Workshop 2016: Angela Savage on Crime Writing

This was a great talk with many tips and exercises for writers of all genres. Below is only a fraction of the advice Angela gave to our attendees, and should wet the appetite for those who haven’t attended a Bendigo Writers Council workshop before.

  • Focus on your passion. Do what you want, not what other people are doing.

  • In crime, and everywhere, if the story is good enough the exact facts do not matter.

  • Learn about the world, again good general advice, as it will also improve the scope and believability of your writing.

  • If you are excited by it, others will be too. When writing for your audience, remember that you are your first audience, and if you enjoy and are excited by the writing then others should be too.

  • Angela didn’t like her first novel attempt. It was thin on plot and big on self exploration.

  • The drive of any story is in the idea, character or setting/situation. Decide on one for the theme.

  • Crime writing is fun, you learnt things and people read it.

  • Angela’s first book took five years and seven drafts before acceptance by the publishing.

    • It also had 30,000+ words removed at the line edit stage by the publisher. This was because it lacked pace. Angela’s latest book only had 300 words removed.

  • The first draft is only getting the story down. The second, third, and forth draft is writing.

    • It might take 6 months to write, but then 6 years to edit.

    • If you forget something in a redraft, it probably wasn’t that important.

  • To help with plotting look at moments and consider “what if”. Take your character on a walk before story writing. Where does the idea, character or setting/situation lead. Whenever stuck, revert to that.

I took another four pages of these notes.

For more on crime writing contact Sisters in Crime or Brothers in Crime.

For details on the next Bendigo Writers Council workshop see this link:


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