Writing on, and about, an island

The Crime Writer’s Inspiration List

In Books, Crime & Mystery Writer, Writing on February 17, 2012 at 11:37 am

When you’re writing a crime/mystery novel, your focus gets very insular. You get so close to what you’re doing that, I find, it’s really important to occasionally look outside for inspiration.

When I’m stuck or stale, I get inspired by (and this is a work-in-progress list):

Books

The Dark is Rising Sequence – Susan Cooper

The Secret History/The Little Friend – Donna Tartt

Inspector Morse (the whole series) – Colin Dexter

Miss Smilla’s Feeling for Snow – Peter Hoeg

A Place of Execution – Val McDermid

The Ice House – Minette Walters

And Then There Were None – Agatha Christie

Devices and Desires – PD James (the opening scene still gives me shivers)

Death of a Wombat – Ivan Smith and Clifton Pugh

Stasiland – Anna Funder

Anything by Henning Mankell

TV

Twin Peaks

The Killing (Danish version)

Red Riding Trilogy

Movies

Swimming Pool

Let The Right One In (Swedish version)

Lantana

Secret Window

Picnic at Hanging Rock

The Ghost Writer

Music

December – George Winston

Mozart

Muse

PJ Harvey

Places

Bruny Island – I stay at my shack on my own, which terrifies me (and is therefore good for crime-writing).

Tasmania’s East (the empty coastline from Swansea upwards) or West Coast (especially Strahan, Macquarie Harbour and Gordon River), or the Midlands (the wide open farmlands and bleak hills).

Online

I use Ommwriter occasionally

I love Toast‘s online catalogues and Toast Travels

Wallpaper – currently, this Donna Tartt one

Looking at this list, I realise the majority of items on it are notable for their remarkable expression of a ‘sense of place’ – particularly a cold, out-of-the-way, edge-of-the-world place… (hello Tasmania). There are many, many more books, for example, that I absolutely love, but they don’t all make the cut when I need to be inspired in my own writing.

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  1. If these are the inspirations, I can’t wait to read the novel.

  2. Great post today thanks. I really enjoyed it very much.

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