Sometimes, you just have to renew your writer-fu.
The Luscious one and I spent this last weekend in the crimelicious surrounds of CrimeScene WA, the annual crime writers convention at the Rydges hotel, where we spent our time drenching our third eyes in the minutiae of blood spatter analysis, trace evidence, clue trails, and all manner of crimey-wimey goodness. The conveners presented a stunning lineup of subject experts, including the lies of Professor Simon Lewis, Dr Mark Reynolds and Hadyn Green, and the depth and styles of their presentations left those of us who contributed to the writer stream looking a little like shambolic amateurs: their professionalism and skill was astonishing, and quite honestly, made my own contribution to the running order (participation in a critiquing panel with Juliet Marillier and Alisa Krasnostein) a slightly disheartening experience.
Writing panel: Marianne de Pierres, Stephen Dedman and Robert Schofield talk settings, Australian locales, and why Kalgoorlie trumps Macau.
Apart from an opportunity to spend a weekend in a delightful hotel with my beautiful wife, and to catch up with some friendly faces we hadn’t seen in a while, highlights of the weekend included stunning presentations on the identification of trace evidence and the science of blood splatter analysis, a presentation on the chronology of the Lindbergh kidnapping that was so arresting the audience gladly gave up our lunch hour to finish it when the flood of questions forced the presentation over time, a hypothetical wherein the guest speakers revealed how they would kill each other– and Humphrey B. Bear– and make it look like an accident, and a presentation on professionalism by Marianne de Pierres that brought home to me just how I’d allowed my discipline and well-being to slip in recent months.
I love these ‘how to’ presentations: Hadyn Green talks the audience through the Lindbergh kidnapping.
Luscious and I have returned home with renewed zeal for our careers: now that Master 8’s Rumination Syndrome is being managed with a long-term strategy, and Miss 11’s breathing problems have been diagnosed as bronchial asthma and she’s receiving the proper management, Lyn is able to put serious effort into her desire to move her career away from speculative fiction and towards crime– part of the reason we attended the convention was to enable her to do some groundwork, and Marianne de Pierres is a particular inspiration– and I’ve walked away with a renewed sense of purpose towards not only my works in progress but the direction I want to steer my career towards.
CrimeScene was an absolutely fantastic convention: intimate, well-balanced between industry and writing expertise, friendly, and with an open and transparent duty of care towards the attendees, presenters and hotel (the convention’s harassment policy, for example, was not only clearly articulated but displayed in several high-profile areas; something I’ve rarely seen at other cons). It’s been a long time since I’ve enjoyed a convention so much that I’ve chatted to the conveners about my plans for next year while the convention was still running, but I certainly did so here.
I can’t wait for 2014.