Living up to its name

crime_punishI’m back from the weekend Crime and Publishment writing course, run by Graham Smith at the Mill Forge hotel at Gretna Green.  This was my third visit and as usual it was inspirational, informative, and fun.  Around 25 crime writers crammed themselves into workshops on a variety of crime and/or writing-themed subjects, stuffed themselves with pub-grub, and stayed up until all hours in the bar chatting about knotty writing problems, life, and the business of providing and disposing of dead bodies for the paying public.

As usual, the sessions were eye-opening and excellent.  Not all were 100% relevant to my particular genre, but there’s always something new and interesting to learn.  Like Alexandra Sokoloff describing the importance of an inciting incident at the beginning of a book (I realised I didn’t have one in my current work-in-progress; cue much scribbling to put one in).  Like Matt Hilton explaining the most frequently used blow in a fight (right hand punch to the face, for both men and women).  Like publisher Sara Hunt from Saraband Publishing shedding light on the best way to write a synopsis.  Or like Michael J Malone going back over the basics of writing, and helping me to solve a thorny issue on my latest novella in the process.

This event is really starting to live up to both parts of its name.  It’s always been about the crime, of course, but five regular participants have gone on to secure publishing deals as a direct or indirect result of the contacts made, or information learned, at Crime and Publishment.  I’m lucky enough to be one of them, and know full well that I could never have done it on my own.

Next year’s line-up looks like being even more incredible – so clear some space in your diaries, get your cheque book out, and get yourself to Gretna Green.  It’s more than worth the effort!

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