Here I sit on Monday, 29th February 2016 reflecting on the whirlwind weekend I’ve just experienced: Crime and Publishment: what a bloody great weekend (pun intended).
In two days, I’ve been in workshops led by writers who I really admire, have met some wonderful people with whom I shared many laughs and pitched to a publisher.
I’ve known Graham Smith, one of the organisers of C&P, for several years now thanks to a number of events and social media. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Graham for the friendship he’s shown me over the years, particularly this weekend. Mr Smith isn’t just a great writer but he’s a nurturing force, helping others to realise their potential and encouraging them to follow their dreams. As an attendee of C&P, I got to witness first hand Graham’s innate ability to not only make people feel at ease but give them the confidence to speak up and contribute.
The people that led workshops during Crime and Publishment this year – Alexandra Sokoloff, Matt Hilton, Michael J. Malone, Graham Smith and Sara Hunt of Saraband Publishing – were engaging, approachable and encouraging. A sense of camaraderie pervaded the weekend, and that included the guest speakers. Everyone ate (and drank!) together and there was no sense that someone was better than anyone else. Even when we weren’t in a workshop environment, everyone was talking about writing, sharing their experiences and giving valuable advice.
Workshops ranged from networking to creating story arcs, writing a compelling synopsis to building a character as well as a very hands-on demonstration from Matt Hilton regarding compelling fight scenes. The announcement regarding next year’s speakers was enough to stun many into silence. I’m not allowed to say who has been booked yet but I can assure you, if you’re into crime fiction, you are going to want to be there!
C&P was a wonderful balance of learning and socialising with other writers. It was an utter joy to meet so many people who were friendly and interesting. Some members of the cohort had attended previous Crime & Publishments but, despite already having established friendships, they welcomed me like an old friend and made me feel really at ease.
As many of you know, I have been working on a crime novel on and off since 2009. I pitched that novel, which is currently sitting at 25,000 words, to Sara Hunt yesterday before making the trip home. The feedback I received was very positive and I hope to complete the novel by the end of this year. It’s incredible how much confidence I’ve gained over the last two days.
I can’t think of a better reason to go to Gretna.