RNA Conference 2018
|Arriving at Leeds Trinity University|
There were so many excellent talks over the weekend but here are a few of the events I went to and enjoyed:
Romance and the Brontes at The Leeds Library
The event, to celebrate the 250th anniversary of the library and 200 years of the Brontes, proved to be an excellent start to the conference on the Thursday evening. A panel of RNA members, Alison May and Janet Gover who write as 'Juliet Bell' and Kate Walker discussed modernising the Bronte classics and the enduring appeal of Bronte themes. It was chaired by Nicola Cornick. It seemed so right to start the weekend in such an iconic building and, for me, looking through a giant book of reproductions of Yorkshire born David Hockney's paintings was just wonderful.
Finding the truth and breathing life into historical characters
This excellent session was presented by Carol McGrath and Charlotte Betts. They discussed finding the balance between truth and fiction, undertaking research and how characters must resonate with the modern reader whilst remaining true to their era. They recommended finding out facts about historical characters from a number of sources and from these you will get a sense of the times. Above all, the story must remain paramount.
Self-Editing. How to do it effectively
Although I'd recently been to Alison May's day course on editing, I attended this as a way of revisiting some of the points she'd made. I was not to be disappointed. Alison presented in her customary lively and entertaining manner and I came away feeling more confident about the task facing me in the next few weeks. And I've already bought the post-its!
Pacing - you need more than another dead body!
Liz Harris talked about 'pacing' as the speed at which your story is read. She talked about the novel in terms of layers. She left us with a checklist that included;
- is there a purpose to your scenes?
- is there sufficient conflict?is there sufficient variety of setting, mood, style, action?
Her message was that if a story is worth writing, it's worth writing well. Another excellent presentation, I came away with lots of tips and advice from Liz's talk.
Some events I missed or partly missed while waiting to see publishers in the one-to-one sessions. I've always found industry professionals are very generous with helpful advice, but this year I was delighted that two publishers asked me to submit the whole manuscript to them. I came away feeling very encouraged and am grateful to Elaine Everest who does such a sterling job arranging these interviews for us. Thank you, Elaine!
And then there was the social side of the Conference! Chatting in between sessions, kitchen parties and the Gala Dinner, all were great fun. It was so good to meet up with friends made in previous years and to make new ones.
|Me, Sue McDonagh, Cass Grafton, |
|Jen Gilroy, Susanna, Me|
|Sue, Pat Williams|
Thank you for reading. If you went to Leeds, what were the highlights for you? If you didn't, what conference or writing event have you attended and enjoyed?