I’m a candidate for an MFA in creative fiction at Fairfield University. The program places a clear emphasis on literary fiction (think James Baldwin, not James Rollins.) So I was shocked when my mentor (short story writer Al Davis), recommended that I read a genre mystery – Scottish writer Denise Mina’s Field of Blood – as part of my literary training. “She uses a lot of literary elements,” he told me.
Al was right. Field of Blood is a thriller and a mystery, but it was beautifully written. It was recommended to me, I think, because it’s about a reporter, and at the time, I was working on a piece about a journalist. But I recommend it to anyone, not only because of all the lovely Scottishness in the book, but because it’s a very well-told story. Below the page break is the craft essay I wrote for Al about one of Mina’s literary elements: description.