Monday, April 29, 2013

The joys of conference

This, I'm afraid, is going to be rather a short blog.  After two days at the Crime Writers' Association Conference, with two shockingly late nights in the bar,  I am less than sparkling today.  It didn't help that after I had gone to sleep last night, there was noisy and prolonged banging on a door nearby; someone had clearly  gone up to bed earlier then fallen asleep and didn't open the door when their partner came upstairs. A sound sleeper, clearly, who slept on peacefully through all the noise; everyone else all along the corridor was wakened, though!

It was an excellent conference.  The Lake District showed us all its mood - a sudden hailstorm, as we had a reception on a boat on Lake Windermere, beautiful sunshine the next day and to day the traditional soft, soaking rain and mist, dramatically broken by spells when the majestic hills came into view.

It was a splendid mixture of laughter with old friends, long talks with new members at the conference for the first time and talks that were both amusing and informative.  I learned things I didn't know about the Golden Age of Crime Writing (courtesy of Martin Edwards, whose own excellent books I commend to you) as well as fascinating facts about firearms.  The longest shot ever fired by a sniper (in Afghanistan) covered a distance of 3079 yards - almost 2 miles.  The astonishing thought was that it would take approximately ten seconds to get there and the bullet would arrive at the same time as the sound - and of course by then the target might have moved away.  Theough he didn't.

I discovered something interesting about the writing process too.  I always start writing longhand, before I transfer to the screen; it  seems to me that  it makes my connection with the material much more immediate - it sort of feels as if I can 'hear' better what my characters are saying.

Apparently, that's not as wacky as it sounds.  A neurologist explained that there is a difference in brain activity when writing creatively by hand compared to writing on a machine - the connection is stronger and more direct.   I'm quite prepared to go with my gut feeling even if I don't have a reason for it, but it is nice to have my instinct confirmed.

And now I'm going to go and sort out the washing, catch up with my emails, make a couple of phone calls and then go to bed early!


Frankie Y. Bailey said...

Sounds like a lovely conference, Aline. The perfect location and things to learn, writers and readers to talk to.

Aline Templeton said...

One of the best, Frankie, I think! I came back feeling both rested and energised - the perfect combination.