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Authors Intent On Murdering Crime Fiction

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By Theresa de Valence - Posted on 12 May 2013

Members of Crime Fiction group on LinkedIn are collaborating on writing a piece of crime fiction.

Quick Links

Here’s the story so far: Who’s Murdering Crime Fiction? (a pdf attachment at the bottom of the page). Make sure that you read the current story before you read any of the following background stuff.

For authors who want to analyse the ins & outs of the story before writing his/her/their segment, check the Story Analyses.

Your Job If You Choose To Accept It

Each author writes the type of detective, and in the tone, that s/he likes best. One may choose to write from the point-of-view of a charactor who is not a detective (perhaps a villain, observer or sidekick).

If every contributor to the story added a detective or two, the story would become unmanageable. Authors are encouraged to write the continuing exploits of existing detectives and characters.

Unless you’re employing an unreliable narrator (which should be used very judiciously), all the story written so far is true and you’re obliged to consider what has previously happened in your contribution. I.e. please re-use existing characters and events in your story.

You'll note that as chapters are written, we are discovering discrepancies in character descriptions, etc. For now, choose whichever details you like best. This will help us make choices in the editing process.

Rules & Guidelines

Participation in the group is free. Pre-registration with Theresa is required. If you don’t know my email address, send me a note using the Contact button at the top of the webpage and I will send you my email address.

Because of the limitations of LinkedIn, the story will be posted here

Send your contribution to me personally as an email attachment. First off, I'll communicate what I see as discrepancies with the current story. Other than this, I plan to do very little editing—and not without communicating with you, the author. However, in case of dispute, I retain the right to request changes (or to edit) a writer’s contribution. To make this simple, please communicate with me if your idea for the story stretches any of the guidelines posted. Once I have your contribution, I will then prepare and post the html document.

Each author may post a maximum of 1500 words per entry with a minimum of 120 characters (keystrokes)—about the length of a short Twitter post. Authors may contribute multiple entries. Currently authors are restricted to a maximum of 4500 words (but that’s subject to change).

All posts will occur in a designated sequence. If a designated author fails to post her/his entry for 4 days, the next author's story may be posted. The management of the Crime Fiction story reserves the right to insert an out-of-order author into the posting sequence. E.g. if an author divines a great plot twist, s/he may request to be inserted soon in writing order. The management of the Crime Fiction story retains the right to designate the writer order.

Humour is welcomed.

Very minor on-screen violence, no torture.

No erotica, romance OK.

No dead animals. No sentient animals (including fish and birds). Talking to your pet parrot and intimating it can understand you is OK.

Easy on the profanity.

Very easy on the woowoo, no sci-fi.

Story Background

READ THE STORY BEFORE YOU READ THIS BACKSTORY. Many things have changed and you'll wreck your first (and only) opportunity to appeciate the story uniquely. The story is a pdf attachment at the bottom of this page:

Big Lake Conference Centre is a modern conference facility with hotel and restaurant by the lake on the outskirts of St Joseph, a small town policed only by the county sheriff.

Crime Fiction group ( is celebrating its annual conference at the hotel. About 500 members are attending the workshops and parties.

Leading members (Board of Directors) of Crime Fiction group have collected (before-during-after the conference) to negotiate the contested future of the group. Up for debate is what to do with the group now that it has grown to over 2,100 international members. Some thought new members should have published three books before joining. Others suggested requiring potential members to audition, rather like the tactics of traditional publishers. Diehard individualists, of whom there weren’t very many, argued that the group had always been free to join and should remain so.

In the late afternoon yesterday, arguments were stilled by the entrance of a large man with huge white teeth displayed in a salesman’s smile but the smile did not reach his eyes. He introduced himself as George Leverage, a prominent member of Bebuyout Corp and offered $15,000,000 for all shares and management of the group. Tess de Vie, founder of Crime Fiction group, leapt from her seat at the head table and charged up to George. Though considerably shorter, she had no trouble giving George a hard slap across the cheek. "You beast!" she cried, then burst into tears and fled the room.

Rumours were whispered all evening. Some suggested that Lord George (his media moniker) planned to apply a little "spit and polish" and then resell the group to Amazon for billions. Others wondered if the $15M was a payoff for something not mentioned. Still others wondered about the relationship between Tess de Vie and Lord George. Some rumours were juicier than others.

After a well-lubricated evening, guests straggled into the breakfast room. The housekeeping staff began tidying the rooms, knocking softly on the door before entering. Hearing nothing from Lord George, maid Ellen walked into his room. Lord George lay spread-eagled across his bed with blood everywhere and a knife in his chest. Ellen screamed and screamed.


Everyone is encouraged to post links to the story at or

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I suspect that the story changed immediately with the first post, but coming only now to it, I thought that it was clearly stated that: "Hearing nothing from Lord George, maid Ellen walked into his room. Lord George lay spread-eagled across his bed with blood everywhere and a knife in his chest. Ellen screamed and screamed."

Yet the first part takes a man, a PhD in Sociology, who has it be a man in a large ballroom with close to 400 people in it. The next, Amy I believe, goes along with the dead body in the ballroom, head twisted like the exorcist, no mention of the blood and knife, and the guy is no longer Lord George either.

I enjoyed parts of it, but find it disconcerting that it immediately rejects part of the storyline that I had just bothered to read. I'm not bothering to read more. Not sure I can take it. But I think it's a lovely experiment that's sure to be fun, and it will display the authors' ability to write a line and perhaps make a reader laugh at their humor.

Best wishes.

Theresa de Valence's picture

You should try to keep the continuity from where I am, Diane! Har de har har!

The background to the story existed to make sure that everyone was starting from the same spot. By and large, the authors have kept true to this. The murder which you're minding is the murder of Henri X. Blanc which is in addition to the murder of Lord George.

I really do think that you might try to keep reading. There are many balls whizzing through the air, but I do think we have a coherent, continuous story.

If you decide you want to write for the story, there are many reports showing the characters, their presence in the story, story threads and plot points, and more which you can find in the story analyses at:

Thanks for writing.

Hello Diane---

You are right about continuity problems. I even told Theresa that the attempt was a mess. But I had to apologize as she went to work on "the mess." Like a beleaguered mother in her teen-ager's bedroom, she began to bring order to what she found---and like that mother didn't find everything, like a missing shoe. But patience will out.

I hope you will keep coming back as mother's teens slowly bring their assignments to her to be ironed out and placed on the correct shelf of this literary closet. You'll be glad you did. Just consider, you haven't read MY MATERIAL yet.

I love you.

Larry Winebrenner
To Steal an Election

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