I got an email this evening with the subject line: Homework from Alexandra Sokoloff. I initially thought it was spam but then read the preview pane where Alexandra introduced herself as the Story Structure instructor for next week’s Crime and Publishment.
‘Next week is Crime and Publishment? Next week is the end of February?!’ an alarmed voice shouted in my head. ‘What happened to January?!’
Once I’d got over the fact that the first two months of 2016 had almost disappeared, I began to get excited for my trip to Gretna. The weekend consists of a variety of workshops from brilliant writers like Alexandra, Michael J. Malone, Matt Hilton and C&P’s own Graham Smith. There is also an opportunity at next weekend’s course to pitch your novel to Sara Hunt from Saraband Publishing and I will be taking Fix Me Up to showcase.
I made a promise to myself at the beginning of the year that I’d quietly chip away at my novel, 500 words a day, until it was done. I lasted less than a week doing that. It’s not that I’m lazy, I’m really not, it’s just that I tend to prioritise everything else above my own writing. The only time I write consistently is when I have a genuine deadline, if it’s self-imposed, I disregard it. However, I do still have about 25,000 words written and that’s not an insubstantial amount.
The thing I love about going to workshops and residentials is that I can’t help but get fired up to write. You’re surrounded by people who love stories, who enjoy reading and writing, and want to talk about it. I know the enthusiasm is still there, just buried at the bottom of my to-do list. I love the feeling of coming away from a workshop and thinking ‘I can’t wait to get writing again.’
And, of course, the fact that you get to pitch is an excellent incentive to attend Crime & Publishment. Organiser Graham Smith says Crime and Publishment’s success rate of attendees getting published “is unprecedented for such a short-lived venture and a source of immense pride for me.”
There are only a few spaces left but if you’re quick, you might still be able to bag one!