Monday, 21 July 2014

On the Loose at the RNA Conference!

Cheryl, Valerie-Anne, Annie, Jo, Juliet

What's the collective noun for a group of Novelistas Ink members? 

The excitement of a name badge and a lanyard!
An invasion of Novelistas seemed appropriate at the RNA Conference 2014, held at Harper Adams University in Shropshire. Almost half the group were present, and our enthusiasm upon arriving probably made up for the members who couldn't be with us. We were all determined to make the most of our time there, whether we were veteran conference goers or complete virgins like me. I possibly overdosed on coffee simply because it was there, on offer, without my having to get up from my desk and switch on the kettle (too much effort at times). So I must have been on a caffeine high during a number of talks and workshops, as I'm still trying to make sense of my notes.

I asked a couple of the others for their own views on this year's conference, and here are a few more photos they've shared with me...

Cheryl: 'Excellent venue at Harper Adams University.' 

A spacious, modern location
Did you know this area still holds the UK record for being the coldest spot in the UK? (26C!) But not when we were there!

The conference was well organised and well attended. Goody bags spilled over with books and other items. Delicious, locally sourced food. Great company. I talked too much and listened a lot. I was impressed by the lecture theatres. Friday and Saturday's talks and workshops mostly centred around e-publishing and the future of the industry. I found these fascinating. 

However it was Sunday's talks that grabbed me the most; they were more 'hands on' and centred on the nuts and bolts of writing and publishing. I particularly enjoyed the practical workshop during Kate Long's talk. We were asked to fill in a questionnaire about the main character in our books. Amazing! I didn't even know up until that point that my character had a plain pink bedroom as a child. It helped to know your character in more depth. It's definitely something I shall use.
Gala dinner

Aren't we spoiled!

Annie: 'For me, going to the RNA Conference is about re-connecting with friends I only chat with virtually over the year.'

After my first conference, where I came back exhausted, I've learned not to try and go to every seminar and stay up late chatting every night over a bottle of wine! I pace myself much better, and enjoy networking with old (and new) friends, hopefully gleaning a nugget or two which I can apply to my writing over the coming year. And I never learn what I think I'm going to learn. Never!

As for Jo and Juliet...

You can read Juliet's post here on the blog, where she tells us all about the Blists Hill event on the Friday morning, and Jo - an experienced conference goer, who always meets up with friends there - enjoyed the fact the Novelistas blended so well into the established circle.

Glamorous ladies
For me, one of the highlights was seeing the Novelistas Ink Blog on a screenshot, on the huge screen in the largest lecture theatre, during Ian Skillicorn's workshop. Although we knew we were going to be mentioned, we were so stunned when we saw it up on the screen we forgot to take a photo of it to show the others. #EpicFail. 

I'm sure one day soon I'll be blogging about things I learned at the conference. I'll decipher my notes eventually, and my head will stop spinning. But I do know one thing now - it wouldn't have been the same without my brilliant Novelista friends to share it with.

Thanks for being there. (And for the camomile tea at midnight, Juliet! Much appreciated.)

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