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Here’s an idea if you’re stuck for ideas for your next crime fiction blockbuster: “the B movie inspiration game”. I’ve just invented it and the rules are simple…

  1. Find a B movie poster. There are gazillions of them out there on the Interweb.
  2. It has to be a film you’ve never seen before. Apart from encountering this poster for the first time you mustn’t know anything about the film. This can be difficult if you’re a huge fan of B movies or certain stars or directors, or if it’s an adaptation of a pulp fiction novel you’ve read. Or – worst of all – if the poster tells the whole story.
  3. Now imagine what the film would be like if it was a crime novel, set right now. In your own country. With your own characters.
  4. Try writing its opening lines, or the blurb on the back of your imaginary book.

It’s not meant to be serious – just a fun way to get the imagination going.

To inspire you, here are 10 gorgeous posters from the crime / noir / mystery stuff that Republic Pictures used to crank out, all from the 1940s to the mid-1950s. I might try doing one of these blurbs myself (if I do, my effort will end up in the comments below), because I’m particularly taken by the idea of a “post office investigator”…

Mr-Valentine

Girls-of-Big-House

Headline-Hunters

Blonde-Bandit

Inner-Circle

Post-Office-Investigators

Fugitive-Lady

Blackmail

Insurance-Investigator

Grisslys-Millions

If you do take this any further, please chase down the actual movie (or at least find out about its plot) to make sure that your own ideas aren’t just a straight rip-off.

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