On Saturday, I went to a special Crime Writer’s of Canada event called, Making Crime Pay, in a public library in Victoria.There were about 36 of us in the audience and we introduced ourselves: one reader, one editor and a hodgepodge of people who confessed to be writers at different stages of their careers (including seven of us from the local Vancouver Island RWA chapter).
We formed a mysterious motley crew of individuals who love murder. <g>
In the morning panels of B.C. authors (listed below) gave talks about crime writing. During lunch we had one-on-one blue pencil sessions and in the afternoon the authors talked about their books. I learned a lot from the sessions, and even more networking.
My Blue-Pencil Session
The highlight of my day was a blue pencil session with multi-published author Lou Allin. It was fantastic. She’d reviewed my five pages (i.e., the first five in my Vancouver Romantic Thriller– Black Cat Blues) and came prepared for our discussion. She went over the piece with me, gave me a list of resources she recommended and talked about the different publishing venues. Then Lou said I could e-mail her any questions I might have. Ever felt like you’ve been touched by lightening? I am beyond-words-grateful for her help and encouragement. About Lou Allin:
“Born in Toronto, Canada, Lou Allin grew up in Cleveland, Ohio, where her film-booker father relocated. She received a PhD in English Renaissance Literature for her study of the murdered spy, Christopher Marlowe. With jobs scarce in the US, she returned to Canada, finding herself 250 miles north of Toronto in Sudbury, the Nickel Capital. At Cambrian College as a professor of English, she taught boring but occasionally useful courses to students of business and criminal justice.”
“…Her new series stars RCMP Corporal Holly Martin. And on the Surface Die begins with a drowning near the village of Fossil Bay. She Felt No Pain explores the death of a homeless man. Twilight is not Good for Maidens finds the island beaches stalked by a serial rapist and killer.” (taken from her website “bio”)
Top Ten Things I Learned – at the Crime Writer’s Event
- think in scenes (not in a chronological narrative)
- let the setting speak to you
- don’t let your characters become so quirky they are caricatures
- Twitter = digital cocktail party (a fun way to meet strangers)
- Facebook = behind the scenes look at the author (how many chickens are in your back yard?)
- make budgets for money and time
- start “buzz” six months before you release a book
- give things away (e.g. short stories with a first chapter of your next book attached)
- identify your interest groups (e.g., for me sailors because of the boating scenes in my story) and market directly to them
- become a publishing slut – always promote
Lou Allin, E.R. Brown, Chris Bullock, Benni Chrisholm, Joan Donaldson-Yarmey, Leanne Dyck, Debra Purdy KOng, Ken Merkley, Phyllis Smallman, Robin Spano and Kay Stewart
Book covers – if you click on them they link to their page on Amazon.ca
…And then there were the anecdotes. Like the one about the adventurous writer who went to Nelson BC (where 80 percent of the income is BC Bud related) and tried to find a Grow Op specialist. Ah the life of a writer. You never know where it will take you.
I’m joining the group (Crime Writers of Canada) for two simple reasons:
- the members are interesting knowledgeable and passionate about writing
- the discussions were exciting
What about you? Do you have a favorite mystery or mystery writer’s group? Love to hear from you.
Quotes to leave you with on Monday Morning:
“…Chuck Close (“Inspiration is for amateurs — the rest of us just show up and get to work.”), Tchaikovsky (“a self-respecting artist must not fold his hands on the pretext that he is not in the mood.”) E. B. White (“A writer who waits for ideal conditions under which to work will die without putting a word on paper.”), and Isabel Allende (“Show up, show up, show up, and after a while the muse shows up, too.”),…” (Maria Papova, Brain Pickings)
Have a great Monday
p.s. Leanne Dyck wrote about the same conference several days later. Her comprehensive post can be found here.