Monday, 6 July 2009

Winchester Conference

It's surprising how intense a single weekend can be. This one was occupied by the Winchester Writers Conference, and what a weekend it was!

Things didn't start well. I had arranged a couple of one-to-one meetings, the first with a literary agent who I'd sent some material to in advance. It's impossible not to get excited when someone like that reads your work - will they like it? In this case, there were a number of negative points, and I found my hopes crumbling as I listended to criticism for the miserly 3 pages of crime novel I'd been permitted to send. But then, as the agent launched into an observation about the vicious way my killer dispatches his victims, my gloom abated somewhat. I asked her why she felt it was vicious... when the killer had not even appeared in the 3 pages she (allegedly) read!

That meeting was disappointing, but things improved. Later that day was my first workshop with established crime writer Lesley Horton. Her class was extremely useful, and she was a wonderful speaker.

Later on Friday night, a number of us gathered for the Midnight Read, an opportunity for anyone to read out anything to their fellow writers. Some wonderful characters stood and read (or even sang!) their latest work and, along with the entertaining eccentricities, there were some genuinely good stories told.

Saturday and Sunday were exciting, inspiring, and informative. After a captivating opening talk by Michael Morpurgo, we went off to our lectures for a day of literary learning. It was all useful, but two further sessions led by Lesley Horton were pure gold for anyone working on a crime novel.

It was great to spend time with other writers, and pleasing to see so many faces from the Taunton's Creative Writing course there. Martyn and Chris identified some excellent contacts for my children's picture book (who I then stalked and spoke to) and it was brilliant when we heard that Julia and Phil had both made the competition shortlists.

By the end of the conference, I'd learned a great deal, made some very useful contacts, and even been told how to poison someone. You don't get that every weekend!

1 comment:

  1. Great post Fergus. By th eway - Kate just found out she got a Highly Commended for the Short Story competition which is more good news!