Friday, December 2, 2011

New England Crime Bake X

I recently attended the tenth annual New England Crime Bake—Crime Bake X—convened recently in suburban Boston (Dedham, to be precise).

Comparing notes and experiences with other writers was probably the most enjoyable and helpful aspect of the weekend.

Barry Eisler and Nancy Pickard were Guests of Honor. Past honorees have included Sue Grafton (2009), Harlan Coben (2008) and Robert B. Parker (2004).

Eisler is the author of “Requiem for an Assassin” and “The Detachment,” among many others. He was a participant on several panels. On “Top Guns: Five of Mystery’s Best Discuss the Keys to Success,” he was joined by Pickard, Donald Bain, Renee Paley-Bain and Michael Palmer.

Eisler encouraged the authors in attendance to remain open to suggestions and criticisms.
“You can’t be too possessive of your words,” he advised. “[They] may not be perfect.”

By the way, Eisler’s web site,, is chock full of excellent tips and links for writers.

During that panel, Bain talked about his writing schedule that consists of 10 pages each day, seven days a week—a good way not to lose writing momentum, he explained.

Palmer is a practicing physician who has written several thrillers. He was among the authors who conducted a “master class.” His was about “Creating a Thriller from Alpha to Omega.”

Other authors participating included Gerry Boyle, Margaret McLean, Lynne Heitman and Hank Phillipi Ryan. Phillipi Ryan has a large following in the Greater Boston area and New England. She is the author of four mysteries and is also an on-air reporter for WHDH-TV, the NBC affiliate in Boston.

I found the weekend very enjoyable and informative in an informal and relaxed way. Crime Bale shop talk included various ideas and opinions about publishers, web sites and the debate of Kindle vs Nook. (Even though I’m still confused about which one, if any, to get! Any suggestions?)

And it was great to be among other writers and authors who have all fought the battle of the blank page—be it paper or electronic.

Along these lines, Michael Palmer confessed still to having anxiety whenever he begins a new novel, and drew knowing laughs when he reminded the Crime Bake audience, “It’s not supposed to be easy.”


Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith said...

Thanks for your report on the New England Crime Bake. When posting, always write you name too, because the automatic one is just too small to read.


williamdoonan said...

Ten pages a day - that's extraordinary. But I like the self-imposed minimums. I couldn't write without them. I do 3,000 words a week on one project, and 1,000 words a week on another. And every month I have to write one short short. It's maybe not a lot, but I start to panic if I don't make my deadlines, and that keeps me going.

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