Creative Thursday

  • Thursday 18 July 2024 | 9.00 am – 5.45pm
  • Location | The Old Swan Hotel, Harrogate
  • Ticket: £115.00 (includes a two course lunch and break refreshments)
  • Please note that all transactions are subject to a £2.50 booking fee. A maximum of six tickets can be booked at one time.
  • Please note – If you purchase a ticket for this event you do not need to purchase a separate site pass.

Wherever you are on your writing journey, whether the first page or the final draft, Creative Thursday has what you need to make that dream come true. Covering all aspects of the business – including giving you the chance to pitch your book to those at the top of the tree – Creative Thursday is immersive, instructive and invaluable.

The day is set to let you tap into a wealth of knowledge and experience shared by bestselling crime writers, editors, agents and publishers, and to make sure you leave armed with everything you need to turn your great idea into a great book.

Schedule of the day*:

  • COMING UP WITH A KILLER HOOK | 9.15am – 10.30am
  • THE PITCH | 10.30 – 10.45am
  • COFFEE BREAK | 10.45am – 11am
  • WORKSHOPS (Group A: Workshop 1 / Group B: Workshop 2) | 11am – 1pm
  • LUNCH BREAK | 1pm – 2pm
  • WORKSHOPS (Group B: Workshop 1 / Group A Workshop 2) | 2pm – 4pm
  • COFFEE BREAK | 4pm – 4.15pm
  • DRAGON’S PEN | 4.15 – 5.30pm
  • CLOSE OF CREATIVE THURSDAY | Finishes by 5.45pm

* Please note that the schedule is approximate and may change slightly to fit the panels and workshops.

Join a panel of acclaimed crime writers as they unravel the mystery behind crafting gripping opening hooks. Delve into transforming simple ideas into mesmerizing plots that keep readers on edge. Discover their secrets as they dissect killer hook anatomy, revealing techniques to captivate from the first line. Learn how master storytellers navigate plot development, weaving suspenseful threads to ensnare readers. Your masters of the dark arts will be Penny Batchelor, KL Slater, Adele Parks and William Shaw. The panel will be chaired by Ruth Ware.

Great idea – check. Killer-hook – check. But how do you sell your idea to publishers, editors and agents? N.J. Cooper delivers a whistlestop tour of the dos and don’ts for pitching your ideas to industry professionals. Warning… please pay full attention as you might be lucky enough to be selling your own idea to, gulp, industry professionals in The Dragons’ Pen, later in the day.

Unleash your pen’s power in an exciting writing workshop led by thriller writer Isabel Ashdown and Sam Eades, publisher at Orion Publishing Group.
Dive deep into originality as they challenge your crime narrative’s every aspect. From characters to plot pacing, they’ll expertly navigate storytelling’s labyrinth. Craft characters that defy clichés, delving into multi-dimensional personas driving your narrative. Engage in discussions and exercises, exploring personality nuances and breaking storytelling conventions. With Isabel and Sam, defy stereotypes and transform your writing into suspenseful tales. Leave inspired, armed with a draft passage ready to blossom into a gripping tale of your own creation.

Unlock the secrets of criminal investigation with former homicide detective Russell Wate.
Gain exclusive insights into high-profile cases like the Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman murders. In a three-part workshop, delve into murder investigation fundamentals, using real-life detective strategies. Analyse crime scenes and profile suspects like a pro. Russell shares his methodology for crafting gripping crime fiction, drawing from real-life experiences. Exchange literary ambitions and receive invaluable tips on crafting authentic mysteries that resonate with readers.

Okay, you’ve done the hard work (and it’s been fun!). Now let’s put what you’ve learned to the test. And wow, what a terrifying test it is… In front of you are four brilliant publishing professionals. In the chair is number one bestseller Mark Billingham. In the audience are your fellow writers. You have two minutes to convince them that your synopsis and first chapter are worth reading. Are you ready? You’d better be. This is our literary version of the popular TV show, Dragons’ Den, and it’s most definitely not for the faint-hearted. Step up, show them what you’ve got and sell it. The potential prize is everything.
With Francesca Pathak, Pan Macmillan; Phoebe Morgan, Hodder & Stoughton; Jon Wood, RCW Literary Agency and Madeleine Milburn, The MM Agency.

Ticket Collection: All tickets for the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival are to be collected from our on-site box office, located at the entrance of the Old Swan Hotel, from 3.00pm on Thursday 18 July 2024. The box office will remain open throughout the Festival weekend. Collection of tickets prior to 18 July will not be possible.

NB: Guests taking part in Creative Thursday will be able to access the Old Swan Hotel to register from 8.00am on Thursday 18 July 2024. More information will be sent out nearer to the Festival.

All events will be at the Old Swan Hotel, Harrogate, HG1 2SR. Please note that there is no parking available at the Old Swan Hotel.

For more details, view our #TheakstonsCrime FAQ here

With thanks to our tittle sponsor: