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Why are we Interested in Crime?

Writing.ie | Guest Bloggers | Crime Scene

Louise Phillips

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My name is Louise Phillips, and six years ago, when I began writing, I had no idea that one day I would be writing crime fiction. Perhaps it’s a little bit like how some people believe, the writer doesn’t find the story, but rather the story finds them.

I can’t speak for other writers, but for me very soon into my writing journey, I realised I had an insatiable desire to delve into the darker side of who we are as human beings, often writing about those who’d been touched in some negative way by others, or events – people changed to a point whereby afterwards, their lives were never quite the same.

Arlene Hunt when speaking at the recent Crime Night at Hodges Figgis, said, when she was writing her new novel The Chosen, that she wanted to explore the fall out of crime, an aspiration which certainly many of us can connect to.

What makes someone carry out an evil act? How do we as members of society understand a world where evil exists? How far would we go, if we were pushed?

In many ways, I feel that by writing and reading about crime, we are all trying to grasp an understanding of a force which is often unsettling, scary, but nevertheless, an integral part of human existence. David Canter, one of the top UK Criminal Psychologist, in a recent television documentary on ‘The West Murders’, said of possibly the most horrendous and deeply upsetting crimes of our time, ‘The value of studying people like Fred West, is that it enables us to understand more about the dark side of ourselves, a fuller understanding of what it means to be human.’

The latter is a bold statement, and one which many of us would struggle with. However, even if we believe Fred West to be a monster, he’s a human monster, and how we live in a world which undoubtedly includes people like him, the pinnacle of our perception of evil, is difficult.

As writers and readers, we soak in the world around us, good and bad. For the most part, really great crime novels explore humanity, the light and shade of life, through good characterisation of victim, hero, the forces of good and bad around us, and the events and emotions caught within the parameters of a fictional world. It is not real life, but it is another means by which creatively, we can explore ourselves.

Over the next while via this blog, we will look at this topic together. When I started my website www.louise-phillips.com a little over a year ago, I had no definitive plan in relation to content, other than I knew I wanted it to be about books, writing, and a little bit of human trivia fired in for good measure. I don’t have a plan for Crime Scene either, other than to say, it will evolve as a community platform, to discuss reading and writing about crime, whilst focusing on the ethos ofwww.writing.ie , to encourage your participation, and make the whole exploration all the better for it.

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