Sunday, March 25, 2012

Steep Learning Curves

When I began the editing process with my publisher for the first Casey Holland mystery, it soon became clear that there were still things to learn about editing. Since deadlines were looming, I had to learn fast. It proved to be a steep learning curve, but an exhilarating experience. I was learning to analyze my work differently and, among other things, to plot timelines and character relationships on spreadsheets.

When I volunteered to become Crime Writers of Canada’s regional Vice President for BC, I knew I’d be taking on tasks I normally didn’t do, like using Skype, and organizing events. The first two events, Word on the Street and Arthur Ellis Night were simple, as I’d taken part in both before and had to arrange only one group of panelists for each event.

My limited event planning skills, however, are now being stretched as I find myself creating a whole day of events to celebrate National Crime Month in May. There have been challenges, beginning with tracking down the right people to book a room. Now that I have a room, I’m currently organizing a day of panels and participants. I have four panels, a blue pencil cafe, and about twelve participants. It’s kind of like putting a puzzle together; who goes where and with which topic. I’ve learned that getting help and feedback, especially from those who’ve done it before, is crucial. I’d be lost without them. I have yet to learn how to design adequate posters and flyers. It’s been difficult even for my own work, as this is not my strong suit; however, I have help, and for that I’m grateful.

What baffles me is how people plan entire weekend conference? It’s challenging enough just preparing for one day and one track of events, never mind three or more tracks spread over three days! I have a new respect and admiration for conference organizers, but I’m quite sure I don’t want to become one. Anyway, stay tuned for more info about our day-long event on May 5th in Victoria.

For those who live in BC’s lower mainland, our annual Coastal Crime Wave, an Evening with the Authors will be held in the Alice MacKay room at the Vancouver Public Library, 350 West Georgia St., Vancouver, from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. We will have a lively panel discussion with mystery authors Roberta Rich, Stephen Legault, Leanne Dyck, and Don Hauka. Following this, we will announce this year’s nominees for the Arthur Ellis Awards. Categories include best unpublished novel, best first novel, and best novel, also short fiction, children’s and others. This is a free event and should be a lot of fun! Oh, and as one of my other duties, I’m hosting. I think I’m also the timekeeper to make sure we don’t go on too long. Ah, challenges, challenges...

DEADLY ACCUSATIONS, (now also out on Kindle
THE OPPOSITE OF DARK, now available for iphones, iPads, and iPodTouch at Also available in paperback at and on Kindle at


Marian Allen said...

Good luck with the conference! I know you'll do beautifully. Anyone who can write the way you do can certainly handle anything. :)

Marian Allen
Fantasies, mysteries, comedies, recipes

Debra Purdy Kong said...

Thanks for your kind words, Marian!