The most frequent question I have been asked lately is; how on earth did you actually get published?
There have been many contributing factors; belief, hard work and researching the market – tailoring my own brand of drama to crime-fiction.
There was one key weekend which also massively helped.
A crime-writing weekend. A masterclass from internationally published authors. Two nights, three days, of mingling with tutors, fellow writers all in a charming location in Gretna Green at “The Mill Forge” hotel.
It is organised and run by Graham Smith, a well-respected reviewer for Crimesquad and now also a published author with Caffeine Nights. By day he runs the hotel and by night he writes his novels.
I won “Crimeandpublishment’s” inaugural crime-writing competition in 2013 after a particularly troubling period in my writing career. My prize was an all-expenses weekend at the workshops where more than anything, I learned firstly that I was good enough to keep going and secondly how to really hone my writing.
The weekend usually has several tutors. Writers are split into two groups and spend Friday and Saturday in tutorials. Lunch is provided although evening meals are an additional cost. The food is cracking, the company first-class. The classes cover a broad range of topics, each year something different;
Authentic fight sequences
Showing not telling
Pitching to agents / publishers
What makes good crime writing?
On Sunday morning, there is an opportunity to pitch your novels either to an agent or a publisher. It is worth noting that to-date five writers have landed writing contracts.
Having attended several courses and paid a lot of money during my twelve years as a writer, I found Graham’s course to be friendly, welcoming and hugely informative. Attendees are taught the basics as well as more in-depth sessions for seasoned writers. Nobody is left feeling inadequate and the evenings are spent in the bar, mulling over ideas, sharing stories and forging relationships with like-minded writers – often it is these relationships which are most valuable. Did I mention the setting? Quiet, relaxed, beautiful!
At £275 for a weekend, it is a bloody bargain. If you are serious about your writing, want a perfect setting with internationally published tutors AND the opportunity to pitch to a publisher or agent – what an earth are you waiting for? It worked for me – I’m personally endorsing it.