Dumfries and Galloway Life

Posted: 24th February 2015 by Lucy Cameron in Uncategorized

‘Dumfries and Galloway Life’ March 2015 edition sees me answering ten questions about ‘My Dumfries and Galloway life’

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It was fantastic to be asked and to reflect on the places I have been and people I have met since moving to Dumfries in July 2013. A very proud moment for me.

Watch this space to discover if my 2015 ambitions come true.

In a bit of a Fankle

Posted: 21st December 2014 by Lucy Cameron in Uncategorized

This month I have been lucky enough to guest edit ‘The Fankle.’

‘What’s The Fankle?’ I hear you cry?

‘The Fankle’ is a pamphlet (for want of a more appropriate word) that showcases local writing talent in the Dumfries and Galloway area.

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Every two months there is a theme set for writing poetry or prose. The theme of the  current edition is ‘Just a Minute’

My involvement as guest editor was to look through all the submissions with Sally Hinchcliffe (the lady who makes all The Fankle magic happen) and make the tough decisions about which pieces to use. A hard job, but great to have too many submissions to fit in one Fankle. As guest editor I also have a piece in this edition.

The edition is then printed and folded and sold throughout the Dumfries and Galloway area – You can pick one up in Mrs Green’s Tea Room in Dumfries – And I’d recommend the cakes too!

If you are interested in submitting work for the next edition the theme is ‘Size Matters’ and the deadline for submissions is the 31st December 2014. Have a look HERE for more information.

Not a writer? ‘The Fankle’ is still well worth getting your hands on as it contains interesting and thought provoking work from writers throughout the region.

I really enjoyed the whole experience and the only fankle I found myself in was trying to re-fold the edition after enjoying every piece!

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Autumn Drabble

Posted: 31st October 2014 by Lucy Cameron in Uncategorized

Drabble – ‘A story of exactly 100 words.’

As summer turns to autumn it brings the joy of a new drabble challenge.

In October 2014 I entered a 100 word story into Jack Bates’s Autumn Drabble at flashjabblogspot.co.uk where it has now been published.

The story was to be inspired by the picture below.

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Best Served Cold – Written by Lucy Cameron

They said standing under the lamppost was a mistake, I’d be seen.

They missed the point.

I smile at his peeking shadow. The sleet dissolves on my skin. His brain whirls, racks through the past, searches for a younger version of my face.

From his slumber I’ll whisper

‘Shhhh, don’t make a sound. You know you love it really.’

My nails will scratch his cheek, my breath burn his face. I’ll revel at my reflection in his black eyes as he did to me all those years ago. As he finished. And plunged in the knife. Not quite deep enough.

 

Visit the site on the below link – It is well worth it.

Flash Jab Fiction

(Please be aware the site contains adult content)

 

Having missed the Bloody Scotland Crime Writing Festival last year (even though I live in Scotland) I was determined to get there this year. I could only make the Friday, it would involve a two hour drive home late at night, but I was up for it – And certainly wasn’t disappointed. What an introduction to a fabulous festival.

Bloody Scotland Crime Writing Master Class

Having never been to the festival before I opted for the master class. It was an all day event packed with workshops and other writers. This is a great way to get a flavour for an event, meet like minded people and learn from talented authors and other industry professionals. Christopher Brookmyre’s two hour workshop on his writing tips, how he go into the industry and the technique of, what he calls, the ‘pull back and reveal’ in writing, was superb. Plenty of food for thought and ideas to play with in my own writing. Helen Sedgwick ran a very interesting session on writing a synopsis, really getting us to boil down to the very essence of our stories. Liam Murray Bell had us creating characters, scenarios and conflict before condensing it all down into one opening sentence. My offering was –

‘The day he moved into Aunty’s house, Ryan had no idea how many people had died there.’

There was lunch, coffee, biscuits and networking before a closing panel of Craig Robertson, Jade Chandler and Sara Hunt who talked interestingly about current trends and opportunities in publishing.

When the event finished at 5pm I headed to the Hotel Colessio for two evening events. If you are ever in Stirling and looking for a place to eat I can highly recommend Hotel Colessio – The food was superb.

Denise Mina and Christopher Brookmyre’ – 7-8p.m – Hotel Colessio. 

My introduction to the festival proper. First we were treated to a twenty minute short story called ‘Puck Knows’ written and read by Christopher Brookmyre – Hilarious, creepy and very clever. It was very special to listen to the author read his own work.

IMG_2440    Christopher Brookmyre.

Christopher and Denise then discussed projects they have just finished and where they see their writing going next. An interesting insight into two established authors.

IMG_2449   Christopher Brookmyre and Denise Mina

I had been kidding myself I would then head home, but up next was…

Mark Billingham and Stuart MacBride – Dead Funny’ – 8.30-9.30pm – Hotel Colessio.

This panel did exactly what it said in the title. The audience were in stitches from beginning to end. The authors created ‘letters from the readers’ to ask each other probing questions. They covered alternative writing projects. Stuart MacBride was brilliant, reading one of his children’s stories, which was pulled for being unsuitable for children! They also talked about embarrassing situations with members of the public, and cooking!

IMG_2453   Mark Billingham and Stuart MacBride.

IMG_2459   Mark Billingham and Stuart MacBride.

Absolutely brilliant. I chuckled thinking about the panel all the way home.

My trip to Bloody Scotland 2014 may have been short, and was most definitely sweet. I look forward to seeing far more of it next year.

 

 

 

Crime comes to Carlisle

Posted: 8th September 2014 by Lucy Cameron in Uncategorized

On Saturday 6th September I attended Borderlines Book Festival in Carlisle. A book festival run over the weekend in various venues including The Crown and Mitre, Tullie House and Carlisle Cathedral.

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It was a wonderfully sunny day, a brass band was playing, the streets were buzzing with happy people both shopping and visiting events. Following a rather fraught drive and dash round Carlisle for change (I’d forgotten most parking is pay and display) I arrived at my first event.

William Ryan – Crime-writing Workshop.

This workshop was billed as ‘constructing characters and perfecting plots’. It did all that and more.

I REALLY enjoyed this session. I would highly recommend a William Ryan workshop. If you have no writing experience you will pick up so many hints and tips you’ll be busy for weeks, make that months. If you’re a more seasoned writer you’ll consolidate ideas, add to your writing tools and be desperate to get that next book written.

I’ve written a book. I’m ready to start my second book so I was worried that the workshop could be a little basic. I couldn’t have been more wrong. I now have many different ways to look at and think about when constructing both characters and plot.

There were twelve of us in the class which was a great number for discussion and group work. The class was lively and William gave interesting examples to illustrate the points he was making. We worked through exercises to develop characters and key plot points.  The sessions were hands on, thinking, developing and interacting as opposed to listening to him talk through slides for the whole session.

In this three hour period we plotted a three act story and created seven key characters – Phew!

I left the event enthused and inspired to get home at get planning for my next book.

William Ryan has written three superb books. Crime (writing) set in 1930’s Soviet Union has never been as good!

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‘Thumbs Up’ to this course. (William Ryan and I)

 

Clash of the Genres: Historical Novelists versus Crime Novelists.

In the afternoon I headed to Clash of the Genres, a panel discussion being held in the Crown and Mitre Hotel. Here William Ryan chaired a panel of Ben KaneMatt HiltonSheila Quigley . They fought it out. Who would be victorious between the genres in the ultimate battle? Okay, so there was no actual fighting (Although Ben Kane did bring along a couple of swords just in case) but a lot of insight into the writers. They talked about what lead them to write, their processes and inspirations.

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Afterwards the authors were signing books. Those of you that have been at writing festivals with me know I love getting books signed!

It was also an opportunity to ask the authors questions about their books. Ben Kane had some great advice around editing. I am inspired to read one of his historical fiction books – not a genre I would have considered before hearing him talk so interestingly about the genre and his work.

I had a great chat with Matt Hilton about his book ‘Preternatural’, a psychological tale looking into demons and madness – Or is it?!? Sounds like it will be right up my street.

Following all the excitement I retired to the cafe to drink tea.

A fab day at the book festival. Well done and thank you to all involved.

 

 

 

 

My Writing Process blog tour

Posted: 21st August 2014 by Lucy Cameron in Uncategorized

Thank you to the talented Tess Makovesky for handing over the My Writing Process blog baton. Take a look at my answers that continue the relay race. I also recommend you have a look around Tess’s site, if you like your humour dark you will love her writing.

Question One – What are you currently working on? 

I am currently working my way through a final draft of my first novel, a psychological thriller with a supernatural twist, titled Night’s Watching. Once this is complete I will be ready to send it off to potential agents and publishers so please do keep those fingers crossed. Alongside this I am in the process of developing characters and plot for my next book which, whilst having similar themes to Night’s Watching, will develop series characters.

Question Two – How does my work differ from others in my genre? 

My work looks at the thin line between reality and madness. I look to combine this with elements of the supernatural in such a way that the reader is left to draw their own conclusions as to whether the supernatural elements actually exist or are in the mind of the story’s characters. I enjoy creating strong, unpleasant characters and then look for redeeming features – They are fun to spend time with, mainly because you can turn the page when you have had enough.

Question Three – Why do I write what I do? 

Currently I am interested in manifestations of ‘madness’. What I mean by this is I like to look at the idea that what one person perceives to be real could be thought of as mad by another. For example, if I told you I was being chased by a demon you would most likely think I was losing it. You could well be right or it could just be that you don’t believe in demons. This is the premise of my first book. I also enjoy looking at misinterpretation and misunderstanding  between characters as I am sure it happens much more in ‘real-life’ than we realise.

Question Four – How does my writing process work? 

I plan, plan, plan before I begin writing. I like to know the beginning and the end before I start, this end may change but I need to have something before I set off. I will brainstorm and ask questions of my characters and plot idea. It is very true for me that ideas and answers come through the process of writing. Having tried, and failed, to write my now (nearly) complete book without a plan I know it works best for me. I break the plan down into scenes, this way if I get stuck with one scene whilst I am writing the first draft I can move on and come back to it. I write, write, write the first draft fast, generating more ideas along the way, then work back through tweaking.

Question Five – What’s new from you? 

I have just completed round one of the NYC Midnight Flash Fiction Challenge 2014. You have 48 hours, a genre, a location and an object to write 1000 word story. I was given romantic comedy, a corn field and a bowling ball which for a crime writer was indeed a challenge. It was ultimately very good fun indeed and not a drop of blood in sight. It was great to let my mind wander and write comedy. It has also sown the seeds for a new character.  Wish me luck for the second round in October.

And now to hand you onto the delightful Kriss Nichol for the next lap. Thank you .

 

 

 

 

Business Cards

Posted: 15th August 2014 by Lucy Cameron in Uncategorized

I have had some business cards designed and printed.

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They were designed by a friend, Anna Price. I am very pleased with them. You all know next time you see me one will be winging your way – If it hasn’t already.

 

 

Where to begin to write about the Theakston Festival 2014? The outstanding and well organised venue? The fun and informative panels? The addition of a beer tent? The book tepee? The chance to chat to dozens of crime readers and writers at the bar? All of the above and much, much more is what makes Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival one of my favourite times of year. This year it may even bump Santa off the number one spot.

I’ve picked five highlights from the festival to tell you about, not an easy task, but I’ve struggled on. Five is a direct correlation to the number of hour’s sleep I had whilst at the festival and the number of days it has subsequently taken me to recover.

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‘The Venue. How good does that look?’

1. The new beer tent.

These items are in no particular order, honestly. It just happens that the one connected to beer is first. An addition to the festival this year (The festival just keeps on getting bigger and better) was the beer tent. This allowed for minimum time spent queuing for a beverage. It also became a superb place both to get some shade from the scorching sun and shelter from the occasional storm. Here I could put on a wig and have my photo taken as part of a promotional book give-a-way and summon up the courage to approach my favourite authors.

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‘Wig is for the promo photo, not to ‘glam it up’ to chat to fellow crime writers, honest.’

2. Seeing old friends and making new ones.

Three years ago I bought my first weekend rover ticket to the festival. This is an access all events and accommodation package (Highly recommended). At this time I knew no one. If this is you, don’t be afraid. Crime readers and writers are so welcoming and friendly you won’t have a moment to yourself. I now have friends I meet there on an annual basis and keep in touch with throughout the year.

 3. Breakfast with Ann Cleeves.

My rover package included accommodation at the Old Swan Hotel which is where the festival takes place. This is also where a lot of the authors stay. A couple of friends and I were lucky enough to be asked by Ann Cleeves to join her for breakfast. Ann was keen to hear our thoughts and feelings on the festival and ran her thoughts and ideas for future festivals past us. It was great to be made to feel that our opinions mattered. Ann is a wonderful and generous lady and it was a delight to share a pot of tea with her.

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‘Beer and crime writing. Does it get any better?’

 4. The panels.

There were far too many good panel discussions to possibly mention them all. With great difficulty, and yet no difficulty at all, I have chosen “Keeping It Real” the Sunday morning panel hosted by David Mark with Stav Sherez, Chris Carter, Stuart Neville and Tim Weaver, as one of my highlights. It was a thought provoking discussion about the differences between real life crime and crime fiction. It included ideas such as ‘real life murders are often biennial and pointless, in fiction they can’t be’ and ‘fiction has to make sense but real life doesn’t’.’

Second to this was “In Space, No-one Can Hear You Scream” on Saturday afternoon. Hosted by Steve Mosby with Lauren Beukes, Sharon Bolton, James Smythe and Lavie Tidhar it looked at crime writing that crosses genre, which is something I am very interested in. Here was the message to write the book you want to write, or would like to read, and worry about the genre later. If your book is good enough people will want to read it.

 5. Leaving the Fan Girl behind (Almost) to become the writer (Almost).

This is the first year at the festival I won’t have been spotted standing open mouthed with awe at the edges of the bar known only to stammer, ‘oh my god it’s Mark Billingham, Val McDermid, Denise Mina, Steve Mosby, Chris Ewan, David Mark, Tom Wood, Craig Robertson …’ and so on. Not quite as much anyway. I openly pitched myself as a writer, which I am. I am a ‘baby writer’, having only been writing seriously for a year. As I approach the toddling stage I am pleased to say I did far less stammering and far more actual conversation.

Hot tips for next year –

Take more photos. Pack less (It will allow more room for all the books I accept I will buy/be given. Sleep lots before the weekend and rest the liver well. Read, read, read and write, write, write.

I head back to the day job with renewed vigour and enthusiasm for my writing. I know there is a superb network of support out there wanting me to succeed. Thank you to this years chair, Steve Mosby (If you haven’t read his books you really should) and all of team crime 2014. I look forward to seeing what 2015 has in store.

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Character description

Posted: 8th July 2014 by Lucy Cameron in Uncategorized

I am currently attending a very interesting creative writing class at the University of West Scotland.

Last week we focused on character. The task was to write a short piece of character description (funnily enough).

I was very pleased with my piece – especially when it got top marks.

Take a look at it under the ‘Short Stories/Flash Fiction’ tab.

 

Watch Again – 5 Minute Plays now on NTS Site.

Posted: 2nd July 2014 by Lucy Cameron in Uncategorized

Last night the National Theatre Scotland finished up-loading all of the 5 minute plays.

If you haven’t seen it watch ‘Me?’ on the following link.

It’s well worth it – If I do say so myself.

‘Me?’ – Lucy Cameron.