Like all writers, I’m often asked by aspiring writers about how to get started, as well as many other “how to” things (get published, get an agent, punctuate a clause… you name it).
The number one thing I always suggest, no matter what the question, is that they should attend the New England Crime Bake, which takes place in Dedham, Massachusetts, the second weekend of November every year. (Except 2020, when it was online in a very excellent way).
If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, you’ve heard me preach this before around this time of year. Others on this blog write about it, too. There’s a reason for that.
New England Crime Bake is where you can attend conferences about writing, talk to agents and publishers, get a manuscript critique, rub shoulders with your writing heroes, but best of all, hang out with 250 other writers, editors, publishers, agents and people who just love mysteries and writing, who can offer information, support and a lifetime of friendship.
There are also tables of books to buy, fun times in the bar, plenty of coffee, raffles, games and all sorts of other fun.
It also, like nothong else, will give you motivation to write and the belief that writing is a thing you, too, can do. Your genre doesn’t have to be mystery to get something out of it — much of what’s discussed is applicable to writing in general.
You also don’t have to be an aspiring writer to attend. Many of the writers there are, well, whatever you are when aspiring is way back beyond your rearview mirror. I’m past aspiring, and have gone every year since my first one in 2008. My sister, Rebecca, tagged along in 2015 because one of her favorite writers, Elizabeth George, was the guest of honor, and has attended every year since because she has so much fun.
This year’s will be my 15th and it’s always my favorite weekend of the year.
This year’s New England Crime Bake is Nov. 11-13 at the Dedham-Boston Hilton in Dedham, Massachusetts. If you can’t make it this year, put it on your calendar for next year. You won’t regret it.