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  • Dani Vee

Benjamin Stevenson: Greenlight – Crime, comedy & media manipulation Episode 57

Debut author Benjamin Stevenson is no stranger to the writing or publishing industry; he also works with high profile writers in his role at prestigious literary agency Curtis Brown. He also has his own stand-up musical comedy show with his twin brother - check out the Stevenson experience.

Benjamin chats with Dani Vee about his debut crime thriller Greenlight, published by Penguin. We chat about his terrifying prologue and how it’s important to hook your reader by opening with something original that will encourage the reader to continue.

Writing the novel is not as collaborative as writing comedy with his brother and was a very different experience. We explore the similarities of writing comedy and suspense and agree that humour comes from a satirically dark place. Benjamin states that comedy and suspense are similar in that they are both pushing the comfort level of the audience and providing a sting or punch line that elicits a reaction in your audience or reader.

Suspense and crime also relies on revealing information at the right time, as Chekhov states ‘If in the first act you have hung a pistol on the wall, then in the following one it should be fired. Otherwise don’t put it there.’

We also chat about the darker side of media manipulation and how in documentaries such as the American documentary series Making of Murderer and Michael Moore even where the truth of a story is told there is way of telling the stories so that bias is created.

We chat about social media and how it has allowed people who may have otherwise been silenced a voice. We also discuss the stereotypes around men with eating disorders and societal expectations of masculinity. When discussing the reality of knowing someone and their flaws, we go off on a tangent and chat about watching Louis Theroux’s documentary on adult films. Eventually we get back on track and discuss suspenseful endings and how Sarah Bailey states that the reader has to have some idea who has committed the crime because the writer has set it up and spent time foreshadowing it along the way.

You’ll also hear birds in the background; they are glorious.