Michael J Malone, Crime Writing – 11th September, 2013

‘Michael J. Malone. Our very own star of crime. Good introduction?’

‘There must be a body. Early. The deader the better.’ MC900436323

The notes I took Wednesday night make entertaining reading. I’m going over them again to alleviate the boredom of a train journey to Glasgow undertaken in weather best described as ‘dreich’.

Atmospheric setting vital.’

The girl opposite me briefly looks up from her iPhone. Was I muttering aloud, again? She looks startled, but that may just be because her eyebrows have been sculpted into veritable Gothic arches. She probably looks startled all the time. I find myself wondering if she would make an intriguing corpse.

What does this character need?  How badly does he/she want it?’

There is a rustling noise as the girl opens a packet of M& Ms. Somehow she manages to do this one-handed whilst texting. I notice there is a phone number written in violet ink on the back of her right hand. Do people with iPhones really still do that?

Realistic characters have inconsistencies.’

‘Detective archetypes. Misfit? Addict? ’

As I search through my bag for some nicotine gum, a disembodied female voice announces that the next stop is Paisley. Right on cue, a dog whines, causing my partner to snigger. My subsequent witty comment about Pavlov goes over his head.

Sidekicks are useful as foils.’

 ‘Listen to conversations.’

The two lads behind me are arguing. I don’t understand a word. If I want to write Scots dialogue, I really have to learn to tune in. I listen for another five minutes before it dawns on me they are speaking Polish.

‘Showing is better than telling. Usually.’

‘Avoid clumsy expositions.’

And this is the point where I remember I’m supposed to be writing a blog for the website.

‘Michael not keen on unreliable narrators.’

Claire Biss




  1. Dorothy Gallagher

    Very entertaining, Claire, just wondering how you’ll put all of that together in your Novel competition entry, a good star, I’d say,

  2. Liked that a lot. As I’m supposed to be doing a 12+ novel, most of the conversations I hear on the train are unsuitable. They are all asterisking unprintable. What do they to dogs in Paisley? Probably better not to know.
    I can’t be there tomorrow so will some kind blogger be able to provide notes? Perhaps you always do this. But I’m new!

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