How to Write a Serial Killer Crime Thriller

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To me, there is nothing scarier than a fictional serial killer. Yes, real serial killers are terrifying but most people are very unlikely to ever come across one and know this. Fictional serial killers, however, are everywhere: there are more book, film and TV show serial killers than there will ever be real ones (thank God).

I’ve come to realise that there seems to be a bit of a formula for writing a serial killer story. It’s not compulsory, of course, just a set of common steps that run through quite a few of them. The steps don’t always occur in exactly the same order. The steps don’t always occur in isolation; sometimes multiple steps are happening at the same time. And the steps are abstract enough that despite appearing in almost all serial killer movies, the stories are still distinct because of the details of each different serial killer, their methods, their victims and the people trying to track them down. Continue reading

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Tell Me If You’ve Heard This One Also…

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I was still reading my dictionary this week. Here are a few more charming but seldom seen words.

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asseverate – to declare earnestly or solemnly, to affirm positively

brisance – the shattering power of high explosives

cavil – a trivial and irritating objection, to raise such as objection or to find fault unnecessarily

daubery – unskilful painting or work

Continue reading

Book Review: A Year Rewritten by Andrew Rogerson

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I’m pausing my year of reviewing Australian female writers to sneak this one in and will return to the promised reviews in August.

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I saw Andrew Rogerson at an open mike night where he read two poems (performed them from memory actually) and as soon as I got home, I bought this book (which he had spruiked). It’s a high concept book of poems where he wrote a haiku a day for an entire year. For those who don’t know, a haiku is a Japanese poem composed of three lines with the first line containing five syllables, the second line containing seven syllables and the third line containing another five syllables for a total of seventeen.

Sounds easy, right? Not even seventeen words, just seventeen syllables a day. (If all writers could get away with this kind of workload, they’d probably be a much happier lot.) But, of course, there’s very little about poetry that is easy, writing it or reading it.

A Year Rewritten is a very short book, necessarily because of the concept. It took less than hour to read and it’s a little like a verse novel with one obvious difference: I had no idea what the story was. There were hints of love and loss and illness but the haikus were quite obscure. Poetry like this is often difficult to interpret, so attempting to string it all together in my understanding as a linear story proved impossible. Continue reading

Spoken Word Night at Bunjil Place

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Last week, I attended the monthly Spoken Word Night at Bunjil Place in the south-east of Melbourne. My sister had attended the previous month and thought I would enjoy it as well.

“Wow,” she said, as we entered the free event. “There are so many more people here tonight. Last time, there were about ten.” It had increased to around fifty on this night. Word was clearly getting around (pun intended).

Anyone could sign up to speak, before the event or on the night, and a feature performer was also scheduled. My sister was considering it until the organisers announced that they were overwhelmed with people wanting to speak and weren’t going to be able to accommodate everyone. Continue reading

Tell Me If You’ve Heard This One Before…

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I was reading my dictionary as I sometimes do and came across some lovely underused (possibly widely unknown) words. I’m always a bit iffy about actually including these sorts of words in my writing because most people will just go, “Huh?” and have to look up their meaning (and that’s in the very unlikely event that they can be bothered).

So instead I will just leave them here to be admired in isolation. Enjoy. Continue reading

Balancing the Need for Medication with the Need for Creativity

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About a year ago, I began seeing a specialist to look into some medical issues I was having, primarily joint swelling and pain and allergy-like symptoms. With a family history of autoimmune diseases, the likelihood was that it was just my turn.

I had blood tests and an MRI. No sign of osteoarthritis. The specialist suspected fibromyalgia (the diagnosis often given when doctors can’t figure out what’s actually wrong). I was put on medication that didn’t do anything but give me blood noses. Continue reading

Book Review: In the Quiet by Eliza Henry-Jones

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I feel like the subtext of this book can be summed up by these lyrics: “You love her, but she loves him, and he loves somebody else, you just can’t win. And so it goes, till the day you die. This thing they call love, it’s gonna make you cry.”

Cate and her husband, Bass, seemed to have had what everyone wishes for: shared goals, shared love, a true partnership. Everyone around them, however, is embedded in various stages of unrequited or inappropriate infatuation and relationship struggles. And part of the reason for this is that Cate is dead. I’m not giving anything away. She narrates the whole book and reveals this in the first sentence. Continue reading