Friday, July 19, 2013

Newbie Review of RNA Conference by Julie Heslington

Two days on and I think I may have finally re-regulated my temperature following my first time at an air-con-less (is that a word?) hot and sticky RNA Conference.  The temperature soared (boo) but so did my inspiration (hurrah). 

The Gala Dinner

For me, there were three stand-out moments:

1.     Julie Cohen’s workshop on theme. What a fantastic trainer! I’ve always been conscious that my trilogy of novels have a theme but I hadn’t thought about the depth of this and how I could incorporate it into all parts of the book, whether this be through secondary characters or even metaphors. I also discovered that each of my books has a secondary theme; something I hadn’t considered previously. I left that session brimming with ideas that I think will massively add value to my writing
The Goody Bag

2.     My editor meetings. I was lucky enough to secure meetings with MIRA and Harper Impulse and found these most enlightening. First learning – editors are human! They’re actually friendly approachable people and not these scary beings who’ll stamp “reject” on my forehead in indelible ink. Second learning – I can write! I was told by both that I have a great concept and a very strong and lovely voice which was a huge boost. An even bigger boost was that they both would like to see my full MS. But the greatest learning for me was a light bulb moment triggered by a question that Charlotte from Harper Impulse asked. We were discussing my protagonist and her motivation for finding love and she asked me something to which the answer was, “no”. But then I thought, “What if the answer was yes? What if that did actually happen?” And suddenly I’d found the missing piece of the puzzle; the part of chapter 1 that I’d always felt was missing. So now I have a new chapter 1 and I absolutely love it (she says very modestly). Thank you Charlotte

3.     Meeting up with some of The Write Romantics. Jo Bartlett and I ‘met’ via Romna last November and set up a blog but quickly recognised that we may struggle to keep it updated regularly with just the two of us so we opened up our membership. We’re now a ten-strong team of  NWS members (or recent graduates) and have been blogging together since spring. We’ve never met so it was fabulous to meet and talk all things writing with five of the team
The Write Romantics
As for the rest of my experiences as a newbie, I was very impressed with the venue (and gutted that my Halls of Residence weren’t that nice when I was a student), delighted with my goody bag (although slightly traumatised by the weight of my suitcase when travelling by train) and really appreciated the effort put in by Jan, Kate and the team to ensure we were prepared and felt welcome. The pre-conference information, in particular, really helped dispel those newbie-nerves! Overall, an invaluable, enlightening experience. Thank you RNA!


helen phifer said...

Brilliant post Julie :) Sums it up very nicely. I'm so glad your editor appointments went well.

Helen xx

Jo Bartlett said...


That's a fantastic overview of what it looked like from a newbie's perspective - the highs, the scary bits and the surprises. Fingers crossed that those appointments will mean that, by the time next year's conference rolls around, you'll have moved from newbie to full member.

Jo xx