From my previous post, you will know that at the weekend, I went to my first RNA Writers' Conference held at St Mary's College, Mile End. I've thought long and hard about how to present my findings and have decided to make a nice list (I like lists).
So here they are - the ten things I have learnt from my first RNA conference.
- I am as bad at facial recognition as I thought I was. I sat next to a lovely lady called Tracy at the gala dinner and chatted about all sorts of things, including pocket novels. It wasn't until the following day when I attended a talk by Sally Quilford (someone I really wanted to meet) on characterisation, that I realised it was the same person. I hadn't recognised her from her photo and she writes under a pen name.
- Luckily nobody else seems to have facial recognition problems - otherwise I might have been Billy No Mates..
- If anyone seems lovely, friendly or funny online...they generally are. I met some great people including fellow People's Friend writer, Kate Jackson who's in the photo with me.
- If my stomach rumbles during a pre-lunch lecture, when the room is hushed for question time, there will be someone to offer a bite of their breakfast bar (thanks Heidi).
- It really is worth going to any lecture given by Julie Cohen (I'd listen to her talk about motorways in the 1970s and think it was entertaining).
- The industry one to ones are invaluable... they really, really are. I've been given masses of valuable advice (and even been asked to submit a full manuscript to a publisher). Better get it finished!
- It's impossible to sleep the first night. It will either be too hot, too noisy, your head will be spinning from all the talks you've attended - or your head will be spinning from all the wine!
- Despite the above, it is possible to manage to repeat the whole experience again the next day, with the help of adrenaline, chocolate and many cups of coffee.
- My sense of direction is as bad as my facial recognition. I had to be given directions to the ladies loo twice at the gala meal and gave out strict instructions to send out a search party if I didn't return.
- You will come home exhausted, elated, enthused... and then you'll sleep for ten hours.
Thanks to John Jackson for the photograph.