Guest Blog: Author Morgen Bailey

A big welcome today to Guest Blogger Morgen Bailey –from across the pond, as the saying goes).

Based in Northamptonshire, England, Morgen – with an E –  is a prolific, and award-winning blogger, podcaster, editor, and critiquer.

She serves as Chair of NWG (Northampton Writers Group), which conducts the annual H.E. Bates Short Story Competition. Morgen has written numerous short stories, novels, and articles.

She also dabbles in poetry. Like Morgen, her blog, is consumed by all things literary. And she loves chatting with other writers and readers.

The Dark and Light of Crime Fiction

By Morgen Bailey

When people ask me what genre I write, I say “dark and light”, which to me is crime and humour; my favourites to read. The thing to remember about writing crime is subtlety. A crime can be anything from an old man stealing a Chelsea bun cake (as in my short story The Chelsea bun) to something gory (as in Once Perfect).

Again, though, there was no violence or gut-wrenching description. It was creepy, and more about the characters. So unless blood and guts are what you want to write, less is most definitely more.

Fiction can be plot-lead or character-lead. In crime, most stories would be the former rather than the latter. Of course we need to have characters we care about, loathe, or any other emotion in between. If we feel nothing for him or her (whether a protagonist – the goodie – or antagonist – the guy, or girl, usually dressed in black) then the author has failed –in my opinion anyway.

Depending on what type of crime you’re writing varies how accurate you need to be. Of course there will always be expert readers out there who will take great delight in telling you that a marathon is 26 miles and 365 yards not just 26 miles, so you need to do your homework, But, if you have a theft of a cake you’re going to need less detail than a full-on multi-murder crime scene.

The crime genre has never been more popular. Recently, I came across this really interesting article entitled Why locked room mysteries are so popular.

I had a face-to-face with three agents at the 2011 Winchester Writers’ Conference, all of whom told me that they were after more crime, and historical. In fact, one of them- who shall remain nameless but is revered within the industry – looked me in the eye and said “you’re a crime writer, you need to write crime’ –and I do. I’ve been writing a story a day on my blog since 1st June, and rarely a story goes by without a body in it, in one form or another.

If you’re like me and love writing, then the chances are that you can’t ever imagine ever doing anything else. Isaac Asimov is quoted as saying, “I write for the same reason I breathe … because if I didn’t, I would die” –a little dramatic perhaps, but if we’re passionate about what we do then hopefully, it’ll transfer to our writing and onwards to our readers, and just maybe they’ll email us and tell us what they thought.

I’m off to a crime and humour writers’ conference this weekend –keeping up my year-old tradition of waking up somewhere different on my birthday, this Sunday. So, I might just come back a little more dark, but hopefully a little more light too.

You can reach Morgen at morgen@morgenbailey.com

Check out Morgen’s comprehensive blog, a wealth of writing-related goodies, including author interviews, spotlights, guest blogs, flash fiction, podcasts, and lots more.

 

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