Saturday, July 17, 2010

Greenwich - last day

Once again, I've been adventuring rather than blogging, but here, at last, is my take on the last day of the RNA conference.

The first talk I attended on Sunday morning was by far my favourite of the whole conference: Sarah Duncan's talk entitled 'Mind the Gap: how to get your manuscript across the publishing divide'. Sarah presented ten points that are essential for hooking the reader, and ended by looking at how to add Pizazz to your writing. Her talk was dynamic, easy to follow, and she illustrated every point in ways that made the talk memorable.

After a coffee and breakfast / snack break I attended Adele Geras' talk on 'Young Love' and writing for the young adult market. I enjoyed the talk, though with a combination of tiredness and the fact that I have no immediate plan to write for teenagers, this was the first talk in which I didn't take serious notes.

Then back into the large auditorium (which was packed!) for Joanna Trollope's key note speech. I was struck by how gaunt she looks, but her words certainly pack a punch that belies her apparent frailty. At one stage in her prepared speech I found myself shifting in my seat and thinking 'I'll have to agree to disagree' as she had some quite uncompromising things to say about romance novels and novelists, including talking about a "poverty of ambition" among women writers. However, she ended her talk on a rallying cry that had me cheering for her and determined to do all I can to raise the public image of women's fiction and women writers.

After the lunch break (and the most delicious chocolate brownies!) I attended Diane Pearson's First Line Workshop which opened my eyes not just to the importance of the opening line (who doesn't know that?!) but to just how much can be conveyed with those opening words. It also made me realise how poor all my opening lines have been so far and that I need to up my game in this respect.

As Fiona Loakes (aka Fiona Harper, though it took me ages to make the connection) was unable to attend the conference for very sad personal reasons, I had a gap in my schedule (much-needed by this point!) and Lorraine Minx and I headed out for Ben & Jerry's ice creams before parting ways. Tempted as I was to have an afternoon nap, I then headed back to Queen Anne Court for the closing talk of the conference: an informal chat session with author Judy Astley.

Thank heavens I still had the pub dinner at Wetherspoons to look forward to, so I didn't get all maudlin over the fact that the conference was now over. The inimitable Gemma Jackson kept me entertained all evening, and it's impossible to be maudlin in Gemma's presence!

I'd like to say a massive thanks to conference organisers Roger Sanderson and Jan Jones for all their hard work in organising such an amazing and seamlessly well run conference.

I'll still be away from home and enjoying a jam-packed holiday schedule for another week but once I'm home and back in my rut (well actually a new rut inspired by the conference) I'll type up my conference notes. If any of you would like notes from a particular talk (or all of them!) just leave a comment here on my blog with your details, or email me through the Contact link on the right, and I'll send them to you once they're ready.


  1. Great post. I wish I'd been there on the Sunday, but had to fly home (nearly missed the damn flight too).

  2. Nice trip. I'd love to have heard the speakers.

  3. Great post. I would love a copy of your notes please. Email is - Thanks x

  4. I guess you already know that the rest of the minxes want your notes, Romy. Me especially! Sarah Duncan's talk sounds amazing. I think I'll go search for her blog...

  5. i'love a copy of your notes please

  6. Hi Romy, if it's not too cheeky to ask I'd love to read your Sarah Duncan's talk notes. But only if it's okay. I have some stuff from the year before's conference if you want to swap (I could type them up from my pad!) judy (p.s. addy is jarviejudy@gmail dot co dot uk)

  7. Me too please Romy, I'd love Sarah Duncan's and Diane Pearson's.
    Many thanks x

  8. Oops I am a dipstick. I wrote co dot uk. Should have written dot com. Apols. Tired mind!

  9. Great posts on your conference adventure Romy. I feel as if I was there too!

  10. Hi Romy, Glad you enjoyed the talk. I've posted some of it on my blog - the imaginatively titled - and there's more to come. ATB Sarah

  11. Hi Romy - lovely to meet you at the conference, wasn't it wonderful? I would be so grateful if you could send me a copy of your notes as you attended some talks I didn't and we all pick up different things anyhow when we listen. Lovely blog, great photos. I hope the glow of the conference stays with you for when you sit down to write again. So far, it has with me and I'm powering ahead with a couple of Mills and Boons I'm trying. Do get in touch next time you're in London! All the best. Cara x

  12. Susan & Judy J - I've emailed you (at last!)

    Cara, Jenny & Caroline - I haven't forgotten about you. I've been in day job hell since I got back from the UK and I still need to type up the last few notes, then I'll email you all.

    Sarah - once again, thanks so much for the talk. I can already feel how much it's improved my writing!