Monday, 13 July 2015

Ten Things I've Learnt from my First RNA Writers' Conference


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.

  1. 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.
  2. Luckily nobody else seems to have facial recognition problems - otherwise I might have been Billy No Mates..
  3. 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.
  4.  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).
  5. 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).
  6. 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!
  7. 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!
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. You will come home exhausted, elated, enthused... and then you'll sleep for ten hours.


Thanks to John Jackson for the photograph.

46 comments:

  1. "and then you'll seep for ten hours". Is that all the wine coming out? :)

    Sounds like a great event - and yes, Sally is lovely!

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  2. Great list, Wendy, and I was so pleased to meet you in person at last! Hope you manage to Lancaster next year.

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    1. I'll have to get a lot of sleep first, Rosemary. Lovely to meet you too - it was as if we'd known each other for years!

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  3. Delighted to have calmed the rumbling tum! Definitely packing more supplies next time around.

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  4. So glad you came to the conference, Wendy. It was great to meet you in person. Hope you come to next years conference in Lancaster too.

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  5. It sounds as if you had a great time, Wendy. I'm hoping to attend next year so perhaps I'll meet you then.

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  6. A great list, Wendy! I'm sure there are still romantic novelists wandering the halls looking for the loos!

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    1. After I wrote the list I kept thinking of more things! Thanks for welcoming me into the fold, Elaine.

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  7. Brilliant post, Wendy. Always knew you'd enjoy it once you got there ... that's if you found your way in the first place (tee-hee). Can't wait for all the news at next teacake session. And publisher wants to see the MS ... whoopee maybe we should splash out and have cake! :) xx

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    1. Thanks, Tracy. Early days and a lot of work to do first.

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  8. You nailed it!! Roll on Lancaster.

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    1. Have to get over this one first, John!

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  9. Great write up Wendy. I'm still exhausted!

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  10. The canal walk, Wendy! What about the canal walk! Seriously, what a lovely location. I'd quite like to be sitting there now reading a book but I expect I'd be tempted off to one of the sessions with a wish that I could be in two places at the same time. Lovely post. Thank you.

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    1. Oh yes - I forgot the lovely canal walk!

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  11. Sounds really great, Wendy. I'm hoping to make it to Lancaster next year for my first conference :)

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    1. You will get to have a little flower sticker on your name badge like mine, Helen.

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  12. Sounds like you had a great time Wendy. I bet you learnt more than 10 things! How wonderful to spend a weekend talking about writing with like-minded people. Its definitely on my bucket list for when the kids are a bit older!

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    1. Whenever you decide to go, you will be made to feel very welcome.

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  13. Really pleased you had a great time, Wendy. Now, get that novel finished and grab the opportunity. Wishing you all the very best.

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  14. What a lovely - and very entertaining - list, Wendy. I so enjoyed reading this and the event sounds fantastic. So glad you enjoyed it and already looking forward to reading your novel. xx

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    1. Thank you, Joanna and I hope you've enjoyed the launch of your own.

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  15. Glad you had a good time, Wendy.
    I'm terrible at facial recognition too. It can be very embarrassing. I've met Sally Quilford a few times though. She's lovely.

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  16. Makes me sorry I didn't manage to come, Wendy! Although I have met quite a few RNA authors now at parties and chapter meetings, having them all together in one place for a whole weekend must be fun! I hope that by the time Lancaster comes around we will both be published novelists. And I look forward to meeting you at last in December for the SWWJ event. Viv x

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    1. Oh yes. I'm looking forward to that very much, Viv.

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  17. Sounds like you had a great time, and you'll be prepared for the next event. :-)

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    1. I shall take a fan and some earplugs!

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  18. Ha! Have just read the first item out to my husband, who thought it was hilarious. It was lovely to meet you, Wendy. You made a great dinner companion. Quillers (who is also Sally/Tracy just to confuse you ;-) )

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    1. Ha ha - I will know you next time we meet, Sally. Glad to give you and your husband a chuckle!

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  19. I keep telling Sally just to drop the name Tracy as we all know and love her as Sally. Glad you had a good time and I am definitely coming next year where we can fail to recognise people together (I am also poor at facial recognition)

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    1. Maybe we both just need glasses, Kath!

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  20. Yep, that just about sums up my first experience - numpty years ago - at Leicester.

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  21. I can completely identify with your ten, Wendy, and it was not my first at all! :-) Great summary.

    Anna Louise Lucia

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    1. Not much hope for me in the years to come then, Anna.

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  22. Glad you had a great time, Wendy. And well done on the stories, I'm still waiting for my first acceptance, but I'll keep on trying.

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  23. It was lovely to meet you 'in real life', Wendy, although hope to speak for longer next time :-). Loved Julie's talk too, would like to go on one of her courses.

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    1. Feel I had 'half-a-chat' with lots of people. I agree with you about a course with Julie. It would be so entertaining. I had 'repetition is dearh' in my head for days after!

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