May Crime Squad Comments

Feeling Creative? I know I am.

I stated in my last article just how much influence the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival had on my own writing career. What I didn’t go into fully was the knowledge, expertise and confidence given me when attending Creative Thursday one year. I was lucky enough to be taught by such fantastic authors as Stuart MacBride, Allan Guthrie and New York Times Bestseller – Joseph Finder.

Their generous sharing of techniques, writing styles and tricks of the trade certainly bolstered my armoury and prepared me for the journey which any writing task embodies. I still feel a little glow from Joseph Finder’s comment of “cool twist” after I read out a short piece I’d completed for an assignment he’d set.

While other appointments kept me away from the Dragon’s Pen pitching session at the end of the day (I didn’t have anything to pitch at that point other than 30,000 words which were nothing more than a waste of pixels) I heard how the panel of experts all got to the heart of the matter with those lucky or brave enough to pitch to them. Those fortunate enough to have this experience may or may not have got a book deal, but I’m sure their writing will have improved due to the feedback they got.

Looking back, I realise just what a talented bunch of people were in that room with me. Among the attendees were bestselling author Craig Robertson, journalist John Dingwall and David Jack Smith who later that day won a short story competition ran by the festival.

Every year since, I have shared many conversations with those who attended Creative Thursday and have been amazed at the high levels of positivity from everyone I spoke to. Conversations with organisers and tutors show the same thing. They’ve loved doing it too.

Because of my positive experience with Creative Thursday, I now run a similar venture at the hotel I manage. To date Crime & Publishment has seen three attendees sign publishing contracts and another has been taken on by one of the top UK agents.

For those interested, 2015 sessions will be led by Shelley Silas, Simon Brett, Gaby Chiappe and Isabelle Grey. They will focus on writing for TV and radio before Michael Dawson, Christine Glover, Allegra McIlroy & Rebecca Watson take their seats for the Dragon’s Pen pitching session.

Creative Thursday set me on the road to publication and it can do the same for you. This year’s classes promise to have the usual high standard of informed speakers and shared expertise. I can’t make it due to work. Why don’t you go for me?

Graham Smith is the author of ‘Snatched from Home’. (Caffeine Nights £8.99)