The annual Crime and Publishment three-day course has become a firm favourite for would-be crime authors. Organised by author and reviewer, Graham Smith and held at The Mill Forge in Gretna, the event has enjoyed considerable success. So far, ten attendees have gone on to sign publishing contracts. Not to be sniffed at.
This will be the second time I’ve been invited by Graham to teach a couple of workshops. This year, they will be on the subject of Getting Your Fights Right. As the name suggests, they will focus on how to write convincing action and fight scenes.
My fellow MurderIsEverywhere blogger, Caro Ramsay, is also teaching at this year’s C&P. Caro is an osteopath as well as a top crime writer, so she will be explaining the joys of Breaking Bones For Fun. Between us, we should have a cracking time. (All puns intended.)
Crime and Publishment takes place this year from Friday, March 8 to Sunday, March 10. There’s a residential option, of course, so those staying at The Mill Forge have the chance to mix and chat with the authors and instructors away from the classroom. I’m really looking forward to taking part.
I came to the conclusion years ago that I need to write faster. Actually, I should qualify that by saying, ‘faster without degenerating into rubbish’ because I’m sure I could rattle out thousands of words a day, if I wasn’t bothered about which words…
The quality of what I do is always uppermost in my mind, however. It’s the thing I worry about most (probably) as I write. I’ve heard all the advice that says you can fix a page but you can’t fix a blank page, but find this hard. Once I’ve written a scene, I find it incredibly difficult to pick that scene apart and slightly alter the slant of it. Far easier to point it in the right direction to start with. (In this case, the word ‘easier’ is used in its loosest sense—in the same way that it’s far easier to prevent the glaciers melting in the first place than it is to reverse global warming. You get the idea.)
The result of this is that I tend to manage around a thousand words on a good day when I’m in the midst of a book. I have writer friends who can apparently produce ten times that amount. And yes, amazingly, they are still my friends!
Some of them use dictation software to achieve this. I’ve tried this method, but my somewhat mongrel accent seems to utterly confuse it, plus the delay between words spoken and some form of them appearing on the screen is disconcerting. I find myself quickly distracted.
Read the rest of this post over on Murder Is Everywhere.