Crime writer’s masterclass for students

editorial image

Best-selling author David Mark, best known for his DS McAvoy crime fiction novels, delivered a writing masterclass to students at St Helens College.

The event was organised in advance of their upcoming GCSE English Language mock exams, aiming to inspire and develop their writing techniques in preparation.

During the session David demonstrated the art of writing language for effect, as well as teaching students how language evolves.

David started by depicting his background and its relevance to his novels, including his debut novel, Dark Winter, which became one of Richard & Judy’s Book Club picks in 2012.

He enlightened students that he hadn’t come from a particularly academic background, but rather his love for writing stemmed from his time in journalism, were persuasive writing was a large part of his daily job.

David spent more than 15 years as a journalist, including seven years as a crime reporter with The Yorkshire Post, with the streets of Hull soon becoming the setting for his novels.

He explained how his writing is heavily influenced by the various court cases he covered, which went on to inspire the emotional context behind his work.

He revealed to students the technique behind his work, illustrating how he uses manipulation and persuasion to stimulate a desired emotion from his readers.

Putting play into action, David encouraged student involvement by introducing them to a passage from his work, where their task was to identify what David’s intentions were as a writer. The aim of the practice was to get students to look beyond a piece of text, familiarising them with writing techniques and evaluation skills which they can translate into their own work, a vital component to English Language GCSE.

A St Helens College spokesman said: “A session like this is perfect for getting the students to express their thoughts and feelings in a piece of writing.

“David thoroughly engaged the students, talking about his own background and its relevance to his work. This is perfect for the students as they’ll need to understand how these factors tie into their own work during their GCSEs.”

David added: “I want more people to read. Reading helps to broaden their minds, as I believe no mind is ever full. The value of this session was to get across to students how to understand a writer’s intentions, which is a crucial technique for GCSEs, this is the perfect opportunity to ask an actual writer what they intended. The session is a benefit to both, it reminds me of the kind of minds that I’m trying to reach.”