I’ve sat in crown court and watched the ordinariness of the guilty. The bus driver who sexually abused a child, murdered him, and then took it upon himself to befriend the bereaved family and act as their spokesperson to the media.

I’ve seen the misery of the woman, a member of a suburban local amateur dramatic society who, having had an affair with her leading man, when he threatened to call the relationship off, went to the man’s house and bludgeoned his wife to death.

As I write, these people are still in prison, serving their time, their families destroyed for ever. That’s the reality. In books, (well, in many of them) corpses stack up like there’s no tomorrow, the fall-out from terrible deeds dealt with in a few paragraphs or a couple of pages. In reality, it’s not like that at all.

– David Armstrong, How Not to Write a Novel: Confessions of a Midlist Author (2003)

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