story, science, technology and creativity

Reporting from CrimeScene 2012: time with crime-writing authors and forensics experts

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Seen at CrimeScene 2012

Bring a whole heap of amazing crime fiction authors into a room with some incredibly interesting forensics people, and then dust for prints. Or something like that.

The CrimeScene conference was held over two days and featured some of Australia’s best writers, all of whom were superb. Funny. Generous with time and advice. Inspiring. All the things I love in a meet-the-author session.

Check out the line-up!

Katherine Howell crime writerEx-ambo and two-times Davitt Award-winning Katherine Howell was fabulous and took time-out from her sixth Ella Marconi novel to share her tips on

– writing great characters (make them compelling),

– using setting (feel free to drop in some setting-specific lingo, even if your audience won’t understand the word…they’ll work it out from the context), and

– suspense (Howell did her Masters thesis on building suspense, so watch out: don’t start reading Katherine Howell and expect to be able to stop).

Forensic tourist’ and bestselling author of the Mak Vanderwall novels, Tara Moss, delivered a great session on her writing journey, including

– the importance of research (be prepared to be choked unconscious, set on fire, hang out with the FBI),

– the need for dedication (be prepared to fly across the world to grab your one chance) and

– being a woman (be prepared to be judged first on your appearance, then your mothering skills, and finally your writing). I am a regular reader of Tara Moss’s blog and applaud her work for and writing on feminism, UNICEF, breastfeeding and more. Check it out for a thought-provoking read.

There were also sessions by David Whish-Wilson, author of  Line of Sight, short-listed for a 2011 Ned Kelly award (David can write as many as 250,000 words in a first draft, then whittle it down to the required 80,000 or so!), and Alan Carter, author of Prime Cut, winner of a 2011 Ned Kelly Award.

I also had the pleasure of meeting Sarah Evans, who writes romance, comedy, crime and rom-com crime, all while attempting self-sufficiency on a rural hobby farm.

I caught up with Stephen Dedman, who was nice enough to pretend he remembered me from the Perth Writer’s Festival, even if he didn’t.

And saw Felicity Young, whose new historical mystery series (featuring Britain’s first female autopsy surgeon) is being published with Harper Collins in Oz and Penguin in the US.

Told you it was an awesome lineup!
And that’s only the writers!

There were also a host of forensics specialists, covering everything from frozen pig-meat bullets (they won’t really work) to forensic astronomy (where we took a virtual ride through space and time to view our galaxy from the outside…spin out!).

Every session I attended was brilliant. The presenters pitched at exactly the right level. The science was fascinating, the case studies were gripping. SciTech, eat your heart out.

The sessions were small, intimate in cases, which meant we had all the time in the world to ask specific questions and get detailed replies. Next year, we might not be so lucky! Let’s hope so.

Thanks to the organisers and speakers for a great weekend!

Author: cristyburne


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