Creative Writing Courses – What do *you* think?

Creative Thursday is a day-long crime fiction creative writing workshop which takes place each year on the opening day of the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival.

Creative Thursday gives you the chance to hone your novel and short story writing skills with a day-long programme of workshops and seminars led by bestselling crime writers, publishing industry professionals and real-life crime experts. Featuring sessions from some of the UK’s most successful crime authors, the 2011 programme included intensive writing workshops with Dreda Say Mitchell, Allan Guthrie and  Stuart Macbride and a seminar on submissions with author and former editor NJ Cooper and Random House Publisher Selina Walker.

Creative Thursday is completed with the adrenaline fuelled Dragon’s Pen…
Four brilliant publishing professionals. Two minutes to convince them your synopsis and first chapter are worth reading. One audience full of your fellow would-be writers watching how you fare. Our literary version of the popular TV show the Dragons’ Den, is not for the faint-hearted.

The programme for Creative Thursday 2012, which will take place on 19 July, will be confirmed in Spring 2012.

In the meantime, we’d love to hear your thoughts! Below we kick off the debate with some feedback from previous Creative Thursday attendees. So, have you been to one of our Creative Thursday workshops and if so what did you think? Or maybe you’ve been on another Creative Writing course and have some hints and tips on what you found most valuable and would like to see featured in Harrogate?

“I have been attending Creative Thursday at the Harrogate Crime Festival for several years now, and have always found them to be instructive, inspirational and great fun. Creative Thursday has gone through several transformations over this period and, although all have been pleasurable, I think the present format has been the most successful. I am looking forward to this year’s workshops.”
-Chris Longmuir

“I attended the Creative Thursday all day workshop at Harrogate in 2010. The diversity and the standard of speakers and tutors were of a far better standard than any workshop hosted by other festivals I have attended by a bloody long mile. We were treated to sessions by big name crime writers such as Mark Billingham and Stuart MacBride and – more importantly perhaps – they and the other speakers were happy to chew the fat with me and other participants after the session was over, and indeed over the weekend.  Creative Thursday is unique in that one can press the flesh of writers who are successful in the field which participants are keen to work in, and that makes all the difference. I’ve been to so many festivals where writers and speakers ‘jog on’ as soon their session is over.

I loved taking part in Dragon’s Pen. I was fortunate to be chosen to pitch my novel The Missing Link to Jane Gregory, Peter Robinson from RCW and others. I was even luckier when all 4 ‘dragons’ agreed to read my first chapter. Both Jane and Peter have been very patient in waiting for me to finish my novel, which is almost – almost – completed now, a year later. I received some no nonsense feedback from all four on the day and via email since, which I have taken on board and my novel is now all the richer and better for it.

Being a writer can often be isolating and frustrating, so ‘getting out there’ to events such as Creative Thursday, mixing with name authors and professionals who are happy to give you tips and encouragement is important and somewhat of a lifeline. At other festivals I have sometimes felt – as a crime writer – like a poor relation, whereas at Creative Thursday and during The Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival, one becomes part of a barking mad but quite spectacular family.”
– Cath Bore

2 thoughts on “Creative Writing Courses – What do *you* think?

  1. Helen

    I thought the workshops were brilliant, very informative and worth every penny. I met some wonderful fellow writers whilst there and we all keep in contact. I would definitely recomMend it to any aspiring writer. The only downside was that I found it a bit overwhelming and wondered if I would ever get an agent for my work but at least while I am trying it’s keeping me out of trouble.

    I think it would be a good idea if you could offer one on one’s with an agent for maybe ten minutes so that we could show them our query letters or synopsis and see if they meet the grade. I would be willing to pay extra for the opportunity to get some specific advice, tailored to suit me.


  2. Toria Forsyth-Moser

    I really enjoyed the Creative Thursday workshops and hope to attend again next year. Toria