Billie Ingram-Sofokleous is an honorary Welsh writer born in London. She is about to graduate with a BA Honours in Humanities with the Open University and looks to start a Masters in Creative Writing in October. She is currently developing her first of many crime fiction novels in which she hopes to develop her own genre as well as a collection of poetry and would love to self-publish her own work. She is a keen henna artist and enjoys doodling storyboards to explore ideas. She also enjoys writing plays and has directed, written and starred in shows at her local theatre. She lives in Rhyl, North Wales and attended the Crime Fiction: Twist in the Tale Course in August 2018.
What can you say about an unexpected pleasure? In hindsight, I should have started this piece at the beginning of the week but it has been such an enjoyable and intense exploration of the crime fiction genre.
Jasper Fforde and Belinda Bauer are two fabulously talented writers and I hope from the deepest recesses of my heart that their writing gets a bigger readership as they were so generous with their time. They helped each and every one of us develop all avenues we could venture into. Our guest speaker, Clare Mackintosh who enlightened us about her unconventional introduction into writing showed me that sometimes it can develop from the unknown and that the career you wish to pursue, finds you.
The group themselves were fabulously interesting and full of wonderful stories that had regaled me for the entire week. Laughter permeated every corner of the house and the grounds. Their excellence lay in the humour, tolerance and kindness that the place governs in each and every thing that we did here. The group gelled quickly and I can’t thank them enough for every single kind encouragement and understanding in helping me to improve my work, however confused it was. Tŷ Newydd represents a safe haven for writers with spectacular views. A place to be inspired and I would encourage anyone serious about improving their writing ability to enrol on a course here as it is enriching to not just the soul but the mind.
I have made lifelong friends that want me to go to their book launches, asking me round for dinner at their houses and to meet their families. I accept.
Walking around the stunning grounds of Tŷ Newydd, the expanse of trees and the sound of the river flowing as you walk down the driveway is calming and incites an element of studious fun. A sentence many would find hard to believe. The staff were welcoming and the chef Tony is a ball of energy destined to make your palate explode like a culinary firework. The spaghetti bolognese on the first night was a triumph and was a beacon to how the rest of the week would be. I think the key moment this week has been Jasper performing a piece of punk (slam) poetry much like John Cooper Clarke inspired by his reading of my submission of work for feedback. While I was embarrassed to begin with, he made me realise that my differences are to be allowed to grow.
Be you, be proud and be able to have the confidence to know that you are wonderful! Rules are made to be broken and do NOT let the barriers created to contain you, to limit you.
It is difficult to contain a helium balloon because it manages to fly away before you tie it down. To weigh it down, is a shame as it requires something to engage this action and keep it in one place with nowhere to go. (Try working in retail for two years) but to let it fly away without it having a purpose is a waste. To contain creativity holds this same wasteful entity. But finding a way to make this madness accessible is the most important factor and giving it space to grow could be the way forward. It takes practice. You need to make each and every word count. When you write three words could one word do? I intend to make my voice heard.
Being persistent is key to being a writer, particularly if you strive to be a good one.
It’s a competitive world out there. Keep trying and never give up,
I definitely don’t intend to.