Tuesday, 18 July 2017

RNA Conference 2017 - and how I survived the door of doom.


Why the big smile? Well, it could have been because I had just arrived at the Romantic Novelist Association (RNA) Conference (at Harper Adams University in Telford) or that I'd just found out that the other writers in my university accommodation didn't drink Prosecco - only gin and tonic. You decide which.

Actually, I don't want to give you the wrong impression from this photograph. The weekend was more than just kitchen parties and bubbly. It was about attending talks and workshops to improve your writing and about meeting like-minded people. I went along with three of my writing friends, Liz Eeles, Sue Griffin and Merryn Allingham and we had a great time. Here we all are, complete with the obligatory name badges.



I could tell stories of trying to open the door to our flat by swiping the small plastic key fob against random articles instead of using the key, trying to grasp the mechanics of a second automatic door (nicknamed the door of doom) which kept shutting two of our party out into a darkened lobby and the underhand tactics we used to ensure we got a table at breakfast... but I'd better not.

Now, enough of the shenanigans and onto the serious stuff. The weekend consisted of a series of talks and workshops. Among others, there were sessions on writing dialogue, creating believable characters, using social media, timeslips and time travel, and how to not panic when you receive your novel revisions from the editor. There was even one on how to write unforgettable sex scenes (no, I didn't go to that one). 

It would take too long to list all the wonderful conference sessions so I'll just tell you about my favourite. It was a talk by Alison May and Bella Osborne called Plotter Vs Pantster and what a delightful double act they were! Strangely, I'd always considered myself to be a pantster, as my short stories have no plan, but after answering a few simple questions, I realised that, when it comes to my novel, I'm not. I came out as a rather smug 'inbetweener' veering slightly towards the plotter end of the scale. Surprised? I certainly was. Here's a picture of Alison in full flow.



I've been to an RNA conference once before (two years ago) and took advantage of the one-to-one sessions with an industry professional. This time, I attended the conference in the rather nice position of already having an agent and so was able to just relax and enjoy the talks without the worry of having to pitch anything.

The best thing for me, this year, was meeting writing friends I've made via social media in 'real life' and finding them just as lovely as I'd imagined them to be. Susanna Bavin, Kirsten Hesketh, Elaina James and Ellie Henshaw come to mind.  I also met two fellow People's Friend writers, Kate Blackadder and Ann Peck. It was so nice to be able to chat with other's who were part of the Friend family.

Speaking of which, I'm rather chuffed to have two stories in the last issue of The People's Friend. Here they are. 



Not only that, but before I went away, I received an email from a People's Friend reader who wanted to let me know how much she enjoyed my stories.. isn't that just lovely. Overall, a very good weekend.

16 comments:

  1. Good blog Wendy it was a great weekend and it still makes me laugh thinking of the door of doom xx

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    1. Me too! It was when it closed and we had to wait until it opened again to finish our conversation that has me chuckling! Good times 😀

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  2. Glad you had such a good time, Wendy - I think we all did. It was lovely to meet you too, but we must make sure we spend more time together in Leeds next year.

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    1. I had thought I wouldn't go to Leeds (the travel phobia thing) but if I have my intrepid explorers with me...

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    1. And you too, Kate. I told Lovely Alan 😀

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  4. Sounds like you had a fab w/e, Wendy, not least because you got to drink all the prosecco. Hope to hear all the news at Cobblestones :)

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  5. Nice blog. I'm intrigued as to how you secured (or scammed) a table for brekkie:-)

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    1. A lady never gives away her secrets, David.

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  6. Sounds like you had a great time! Makes me excited for my next conference. :)

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    1. Yes - they're always fun aren't they.

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  7. Sounds like a fantastic event, and enjoyed by everyone.

    I hope to go next year, so will aim to say hello in person then.

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  8. Great to hear about your adventures, Wendy! Sorry I missed the conference this year and catching up with you in real life. Hopefully another time!

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  9. Those keys were a nightmare ��

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  10. I must get myself to one these conferences - for the serious stuff, of course. I don't drink gin...

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