Graham Smith is the mastermind behind a great creative writing course aimed specifically at crime writers called Crime & Publishment. I was lucky enough to be around for the event last year and was amazed and energised by the entire vibe of the whole weekend. This year I was unable to make it, but Graham has kindly given LifeOfCri.me this fabulous overview of the 2014 event.
Crime and Publishment 2014 The Organiser’s View
Earlier this year I played host to the second year of Crime and Publishment – A weekend of crime-writing master-classes. The event is held at The Mill Forge – the hotel I’m General Manager of and ran from the 7th – 9th of March
Attendees and tutors started to arrive on the 6th, kicking the weekend off with a convivial and relaxed atmosphere in the bar where murder was discussed in all its various forms.
Friday morning saw the other attendees and tutors arrive and after a brief introduction and the ever boring but PC bollocks about fire exits and such like, I split the attendees into two groups and the lessons began.
The first lecture I attended was by the ever-entertaining Zoë Sharp who gave a very informative session on various ways to outline and prepare your novel. (It was during and interview with Zoë some years ago, I learned the method I now use.)
After a break for lunch, I took a short networking session where I demonstrated a few networking techniques and then organised some speed networking. When I started this session, I found it quite odd as I had to shush everyone from their informal networking. However when I started the speed networking I could see the smiles on everyone’s face as they chatted to new friends. Result!
Following the networking, my next lecture to attend was Chris Ewan’s fantastic session on setting where I picked up some great tips on how to involve the setting to such an extent it becomes a character all of its own.
With the scheduled classes almost over for the day, everyone repaired to the bar where more stories were exchanged as old friendships were solidified and new ones forged.
After dinner, I presented the “optional extra” class about building an online presence. This was taken up by around half of the attendees who listened, made notes and asked intelligent questions of me as I tried not to show nerves about making my first ever presentation. However I was well prepared and had the ever-helpful Zoë Sharp assisting me which was great because I had an experienced author on hand willing to share personal experience.
The next day saw two more classes, but to keep the networking and integrating theme going I mixed the two groups up so everyone had a chance to speak to more new faces. I started off listening as Darren Laws from Caffeine Nights gave a very detailed presentation on just how submissions should be made while he explored and exploded some publishing myths.
The afternoon saw another hugely informative session with Michael Malone lecturing us on creating dialogue. He gave us some example situations and we all had a half hour to write the conversation. The standard of this was amazingly high and mine can be found here if anyone is interested.
To finish off the Saturday, the last session was a Peer Feedback one where everyone submitted anonymous contributions which Zoë Sharp and I read out while the attendees made insightful comments. One of the nicest things about the weekend was the way everyone made positive comments and kept any criticism constructive.
After a wonderful night’s networking, the Sunday morning saw all the attendees get an opportunity to pitch their novel to Darren Laws.
The whole write-up above does not begin to capture one iota of the laughter and learning which took place during C&P 2014. Everyone I spoke to or saw across the room were intent on their conversation, making notes on ideas or just laughing at someone’s war stories.
The whole atmosphere of the weekend was generated by the interaction of tutors, attendees and the excellent service provided by the staff at The Mill Forge. (Attendees comments not mine. Although I do agree) I have already taken a booking for C&P 2015 despite still working on the final line-up. Details will be announced at CrimeandPublishment.co.uk shortly.
Crime and Publishment is a fantastic opportunity for all aspiring crime writers, and I certainly recommend it for anyone serious about taking their writing further. It’s fun, informal, informative and a great way to start edging your foot into that doorway to being published.