Last week I attended Graham Smith’s Crime & Publishment creative writing course/ workshop weekend at The Mill Forge. I first attended last year, with a prologue and a few pages of the first chapter …and nothing else. However, I came away inspired and motivated to write my FIRST crime novel …and guess what.., I bloody well did it!! Read my post from last year HERE
This year, I swallowed my nerves…just about …and decided that I would take the plunge and pitch my debut novel: A Perception Of Justice to the force of nature that is Karen Sullivan of Orenda Books! I know, right? WTF was I thinking!? More about that later though – let me give you a brief run down of the weekend, because if any of you are interested in writing – this is a great place to start! I came, I saw….I gave my pitch! BOOM! 👊🏻💥
What did the weekend entail, you ask?
It was a weekend packed full of knowledge from the following individuals in the crime writing/publishing community:
Genre Expectations: Russel D. McLean
Author and aficionado of all things crime fiction, Russel D. McLean highlighted reader expectations for the various sub-genres of crime fiction
Getting to the Heart of the Story: Craig Robertson
Bestselling author and former journalist Craig Robertson showed us techniques to help us with our research
Knowing your Characters: Michael J. Malone
Award-winning poet and author, Michael J. Malone discussed various character tropes and stereotypes along with readers’ expectations of them
Social media for Authors: Paul Teague & Graham Smith
A short workshop designed to help us get noticed on social media and attract readers
1-2-1 Surgeries: Various Speakers
The opportunity to pick the brains of the speakers on a 1-2-1 basis to solve that thorny problem with plotting, characters or setting
Synopsising your Novel and Preparing your Pitch: Karen Sullivan (Orenda Books)
We learned what publishers and agents are expecting from people who pitch to them. A great story can be ignored because of a poor pitch so they had Karen Sullivan to explain exactly what she is looking for
Pitch your Novel: Karen Sullivan (Orenda Books)
A five minute opportunity for us to pitch our novel directly to Karen Sullivan! 😱
I was up at 5 am Sunday morning working on my 5 minute pitch to Karen Sullivan after taking on board what she was looking for….and I got the card! What does that mean? It means that Karen was interested enough in what I said to ask me to submit to Orenda! Fingers crossed she likes what she reads! 🤞🏻
I have to say that I learned SO MUCH from each of the workshops and took away a whole load of notes which I will be using to help shape my second novel…that’s right, I am outlining/writing Book 2 – with ideas also for Book 3 and Book 4! 😱 While I’m waiting for my edits back from the fabulous Emma Mitchell and feedback from the remaining beta readers, I’m drafting my cover letter & synopsis so I’m ready to submit! OMFG!
But it was not all work ..we got to play too! The evenings were spent meeting new people, catching up with old friends, talking crime and writing and so many laughs. In fact, poor Michael J Malone nearly laughed himself to death, while Russel McLean was wary but also curious when this lovely lady starting talking ….
Don’t be fooled by that innocent look either! 😂 Unfortunately for you, or maybe fortunately… #WhatHappensInGretnaStaysInGretna 😉