Breakfast was OK. I had cornflakes with the chocolate flavoured Oatly I’d brought with me, but was hungry by the first break so had a rich tea, again which I’d brought with me. The first talk was called Arresting the Editor by Diane Pearson, the President of the RNA. She talked about arresting the editor with your first line, which should set the tone, mood and scene of the book. This made me think that I wasn’t sure if my novella did this. She also mentioned that most editors prefer a short synopsis, which doesn’t tell the whole story but gives a hint of where the ending is going. This was conflicting advice that most of us heard already been told by agents etc, who had said that they wanted to know the whole story including the ending.
The 2nd talk was all about networking at parties and how to approach editors and how not to. It was really funny. It was taken by Eileen Ramsay and Liz Bailey and I have to say they are a great team. First they told us how to network then they showed us by pretending to be horrific writers then nice ones. Then they got us to team up in 4s and one of us has to be the writer approaching the editors and guess who got first go at being the writer…yes, me. I was teamed up with authors, Ivy Lord, Catherine King and Dee Williams, who were very helpful to me and gave me advice on what to say etc. I have to say that this session and my team was very helpful for me and it was what I did in that session that helped me do what I did the next day at lunch.
The 3rd talk was Sense of Place by Anna Scamans, who writes RS for Medallion Press and keeps her English sense of place in her books. She got us writing pieces on photos she gave us about making a character comfortable in one place, then out of their zone in another. I found this very good and the pieces I wrote I might make into novels later on.
The 4th talk was by Midas about PR, which wasn’t that helpful for me as an aspiring author. This was where my lack of sleep and warmth overcame me and I had to leave the room for some air. The lady next to me, Marjorie (Hi Marjorie) was very kind and came with me and gave me some water to drink. Of course, others had seen me leave the room and during the day and the next people were asking after me. That is the RNA members for you. They are so kind and warm to you.
Then was lunch which I wasn’t too impressed with, esp after having to queue up for it. I had samosas, brown bread roll with sunflower spread and new potatoes (cold). Then after lunch was Sue Moorcroft’s talk on writing commercial short stories. I found this very helpful as I have tried these before without luck and now might give it a go again. Then was the talk by rom-com writer Jill Mansell and how she writes. She writes like me in longhand but then gets someone else to type it up. What amazed me is that she doesn’t write in chapters, just writes the book then divides it into chapters. She does do a time line for her books, which she showed us sellotaped together pages of paper. Jill was very nice and sat opposite me at dinner
She sat next to Sarah Duncan, who writes women’s fiction, who sat next to Jane Wenham-Jones (rom-com) and Kate Harrison (chick lit) who was opposite Katie Fforde.
I then went back to my room to relax but couldn’t and ended up reading and sorting things out in my bag.
The dinner wasn’t that impressive either for me. It was a starter of ryvitas with salad and pate. I ate the ryvitas and tomato bits but nothing else. Then was the main of roast duck, new potatoes, green beans and carrots. I don’t normally eat duck because it usually tastes fatty but this didn’t. The dessert for me was fresh fruit consisting of pineapple and grapes. The others had a lemon cheesecaky thing which looked delicious.
After dinner was the awarding of the Elizabeth Goudge trophy, and this year was won by Imogen with another fairy story. It was Imogen’s first conference and she was in tears of surprise at winning.
We then went onto the bar for a drink and chat and I met another writer called Alison whose sister actually lives in Forest Hill, near where I live.
I tried to get to sleep and have a restful night but it wasn’t to be again. My home bed was starting to call for me.
I have tried to put pictures in here but they appear in the wrong place, so it's an account without pictures for this day.