Wow. What a day. Unlike previous years, when the Get Writing conference was just down the road, attending this year’s event involved getting up at 6AM before hitting the motorways for three hours. Such is the price one has to pay for being surrounded by fields.

It was wonderful to see all the old Verulam Writers’ Circle bunch again. I do miss them. (See bit above about fields etc.)

Anyway, I managed to get through my workshop without too much mishap, and – more importantly – without running out of things to say. No idea if anyone got anything out of it or whether it was perceived as an incoherent and self-indulgent ramble. The group seemed to join in well, though, which is usually a good sign, and I did manage to conclude by showing the notorious MRS DARCY YouTube trailer. OK, I may have tipped over into self-indulgence at that point, although I’m sure there was a good reason for it at the time.

Ann Cleeves was an excellent keynote speaker, being exceptionally modest about the extent to which luck had played a part in her current success. She did, however, omit to mention the other side of the coin, which – and I’m sure this must be the case – is that luck can only work for you if (a) you work hard to create the opportunity for luck to strike and (b) are fully prepared to seize the luck by the scruff of the neck when it presents itself. She was also very approachable and we had an interesting chat about dialogue attribution in the foyer.

I also managed to sneak into David Roden’s screenwriting workshop, which was a revelation. It was a condensed version of a four-hour lecture, illustrated with clips from all manner of television shows, and even for a fiction writer like myself, it was an important reminder of several key things that I’d either forgotten or failed to learn. Absolute gold dust.

I even succeeded in selling a few copies of both MRS DARCY and DOT DASH, including one to a chap who wasn’t in the conference at all, but was sitting at our table outside the bar afterwards. Now that’s marketing.

There are loads of pictures of the event appearing on the Get Writing and Verulam Writers’ Circle Facebook pages. Go and take a look and kick yourself if you weren’t there.