Crafty Writer’s Book Club Launch

It’s a new year, so time for a new initiative: the Crafty Writer’s Book Club. Unlike most other book clubs or reading groups, this will focus on learning the business and craft of writing.

At the beginning of each month we will nominate a book to read from the current bestsellers’ lists, then, at the end of the month we will discuss the book and see how the author put together a top-selling product. We will look at creative writing techniques such as plotting, characterisation, style and structure and see what we can learn, as well as considering the book’s genre and market placement. Although I will be leading the discussions, my hope is that you all will be willing to contribute and that we can learn from each other’s views on what makes (or does not make) the book tick. If you have not already done so, you may want to work through my free Introduction to Creative Writing course, which will give you a foundation from which to start commenting.

val-mcdermid-the-grave-tattooAs more people join the club, there will be a chance for you to nominate books for each month’s discussion. But to get the ball rolling, I suggest we read The Grave Tattoo by Val McDermid. This mystery thriller is a departure from McDermid’s usual taut psychological thrillers such as those in the ‘Wire in the Blood’ series and is a much gentler read.

Dr Jane Gresham, a Wordsworth scholar, is on the trail of a ‘lost’ Wordsworth masterpiece, allegedly based on the ‘true’ story of the Mutiny on the Bounty. But when each of the people Jane interviews turn up dead, in the order she interviewed them, she realises that she is not the only one after the document and that her rivals will stop at nothing to get it.

If you’d like to join in, you need to get your hands on a copy of the book through your local library, bookshop, or you can buy it direct from the Crafty Writer Bookshop. I’ll kick off the discussion towards the end of the month, so you’d better get reading!

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10 comments on “Crafty Writer’s Book Club Launch

  1. Sue Brady on said:

    Hi Fiona,

    I enjoyed your Introduction to Creative Writing course last year.

    This is a great idea.
    I have often wanted to join a book club but I am a carer and find it hard to get out.

    By a stroke of luck I brought this book before Christmas.
    I already started to read it but somehow lost interest around page 100. I will pick it up again now.

    Thanks Fiona

  2. Fiona Veitch Smith on said:

    Well we can certainly look at why you lost interest around page 100! I thought it flagged in places too, but more of that in our discussion at the end of the month. We can learn from the negatives just as much as the positives.

  3. Jennifer Greenhill-Taylor on said:

    sign me up! i just ordered the book. I’m all enthusiastic.!!!


  4. Meg Stokes on said:

    Got the book from the library today, Fiona – it was actually on the shelves. Looking forward to the discussion.


  5. Fiona Veitch Smith on said:

    Looking forward to it as well, Meg.

  6. Zainab on said:

    Hi Fiona,
    I got the book last week, but I have been feeling reluctant to read it. The Lake District is my favourite place on earth and I would hate to think of murder, corpses and death every time I camp there. Gosh you can really tell I’m a children’s writer, can’t you!

  7. Pingback: Book Club reminder at The Crafty Writer

  8. Karen M on said:

    Hi Fiona

    This book club sounds great. I ordered the book at my local library but they’ve only just phoned to say it’s available. I’ll do my best to read it over the weekend! Thanks for this inspiring website, I’ve enjoyed working through some of the coursework.

  9. Dave McColl on said:


    I like the idea of the Book Club and would like to join in. I’ve anticipated it continuing and bought (through your site) The Book Thief.

    Best wishes


  10. Fiona Veitch Smith on said:

    Thanks David. We were due to discuss The Book Thief at the beginning of March, but due to illness I was unable to do so. We will now be discussing it starting Monday 28 April. I’ll do a separate post on it.

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