Highlights of Left Coast Crime 2018

Looking back on Left Coast Crime (LCC) 2018, I am glad I made the effort to attend. I was entertained, inspired, and informed. And I was totally in awe of the published authors I met. While I am only pages into my first draft, they successfully came up with an idea, wrote a first draft followed by rewrites and query letters, and finally saw their work published. That is the short version. Much more is involved. I can only imagine what it must be like to have a reader hand me a copy of my book and ask for my autograph. It gives me chills.

Cozies, Detectives, and Cake!
One word I heard over and over was community. I found community when I attended Cozies, Private Eyes, and Cake with Catherine Bruns and Elena Hartwell. Both authors were gracious, welcoming, and willing to answer all our questions about how they got to where they are today. It was great fun to eat cake and talk with these accomplished writers. It was like being with old friends.

Another special event I signed up for was A Suite Lunch with Leslie Karst, Ellen Byron and Lisa Q. Mathews. It was in a suite and the pizza lunch was oh so sweet. Ellen and Lisa are part of Chicks on the Case. What a fun loving group. The conversation was as equally great as the food.

Chicks on the Case

Practical Tips

Shared wisdom tops the list of what I liked best about LCC. There were dozens of informative panel discussions to choose from. Things I Wish I Knew Before I Started covered everything you need to promote your own book. You know those bookmarks I mentioned in my last post? The author pays for them. Publishers pretty much publish and leave the author to do the marketing. Who knew? Writing Three Dimensional Characters emphasized that your character needs to feel real to you. Think of the protagonist as your friend. Stress the character, will she go to pieces? Going from Ideas to Story provided all sorts of helpful hints like create a character Bible, an alphabetical biography of all your characters, and sketch out the book then add the layers. 

I learned two new terms; pantser and plotter. A pantser takes up pen and paper or sits at the computer and sees what comes to them. In other words, they write by the seat of their pants. Plotters prepare an outline before they sit down to write. Agatha Christie wrote her books from detailed outlines. I am more of a pantser. After listening to these discussions, I feel like I need to be more of a plotter.  

All day and every evening, there was something to attend to further my goal of becoming a Cozy Mystery writer. I had the opportunity to meet authors and talk with them one on one. If you are interested in writing mysteries or you just love to read them I highly recommend Left Coast Crime. The 2019 convention will be in Vancouver, BC. I plan to be there. If you are a mystery writer or hope to be one you owe it to yourself to attend.

My take home message: Confess to the World You Are a Writer!