I started this post about three days ago, the day after I got back from the Romance Writers of Australia 2013 conf. This was a particularly exciting and particularly exhausting conference! Exciting because in 22 years it was the first ever WA conference and exhausting because I was on the organising committee. Of course, there’s lots of plus’s to be on the committee as well – we got insider information on speakers, conference bag goodies and the food, which included a divine chocolate fountain on Friday night!
I arrived at the venue last Wed night and had a gorgeous dinner out with four people I chat to lots on line but only two of which I’d met before. We took American Maisey Yates to OUTBACK JACKS for a laugh! We is Jackie Ashenden, Robyn Thomas and Autumn Macarthur. I’d only met Jackie and Robyn before but you wouldn’t have known it to look at us. I bet onlookers thought we’d known each other for decades!!
Thursday was conference prep day! The committee and some dedicated volunteers packed our gorgeous RIDING THE WAVES envirobags, with the fab keep cup, Baci chocolates and six (yes SIX) free books from publisher sponsors! Thursday night was the Destiny welcome function, followed by the fab Harlequin Author dinner. I sat next to Leah Ashton, Nikki Logan, Victoria Purnam and Tricia Stringer. All gorgeous writers and fabulous dinner companions!
But the real conf kicked off Friday with Kim Hudson’s VENUS ON A HALF SHELL workshop. Unfortunately I missed two hours of this workshop – was at very fabulous meeting with my publishers – so I kind of lost my way. I do find the whole archetype thing fascinating and the lovely Kim sent me her powerpoint notes, so I’m looking forward to having a good look through them!
Friday night was the awesome Harlequin Nautical or Nice cocktail party. Sponsored by my fabulous publisher, this is a dress-up event and it’s always interesting to see the different takes people have on costumes. I went in a seal onesie (cos Nautical and easy). My gorgeous roomie Becca J Heath went as a bar of Cadbury’s chocolate and my friend Leah Ashton went as a Nice biscuit. I really wish I’d known cos then I would have gone as a piece of cake. Other costumes included pirates, sailors, mermaids, a ship and even an island!!
On Saturday I managed to get to a couple of workshops, the first being NIna Bruhn’s SAVE THE CAT. This was based on the book by Blake Snyder, of which I have but have not yet read. I’m gutted that I seem to have lost my conf notebook but she talked all about the ten types of movies (stories) and told us how most of us write only one or two of these. I quickly ruled out a few – I’m not MONSTER IN THE HOUSE (Jaws, Fatal Attraction) and I’m definitely not GOLDEN FLEECE (Star Wars, Back To The Future) or SUPERHERO – and decided that I’m probably a little RITES OF PASSAGE and a little BUDDY LOVE. She also talked about the three act structure and a lot of other fabulous stuff. I’m now determined to read SAVE THE CAT asap!
Next I went to a more practical workshop – How to use the computer program Scrivener. While the presenters were awesome, I’m still not entirely convinced that Scrivener will enhance my writing process much. I did however like the fancy little thing that lets you know how much you’ve written and how close/far off you are to your goal! Maybe I’ll have another play later. Any of you use Scrivener!?
Other workshop highlights included the panel I moderated on self-publishing – really interesting to hear from three successful self-publishers about what worked for them – and also the published author roundtables. This is where authors get together in small groups of people similarly published to them (I’m in the Single Title camp) and discuss publishing business related issues. What’s said in Roundtables stays in Roundtables, but I came away with some nuggets of pure gold!
Saturday night was the Gala Awards night. This is the first year this hasn’t been a sit down dinner. We went for a dessert and champagne theme instead. The awards were zoomed through and afterwards Escape Publishing put on a dance floor, groovy music and the chocolate fountain. All in all another fab night!
Sunday we were all starting to look a little blurry eyed. Luckily I was giving away free Diet Coke and Tim Tams in the RIDING THE WAVES chill-out lounge!! The only workshop I managed that day was the one I moderated (the self-pubbing one mentioned above) but I spent lots of valuable time chatting with other writers!! This socialising and networking part of conference is almost as/if not just as important as the actual learning! It’s helpful to hear what other people are doing and the experiences they are having. Which leads into the BIGGEST thing I took away from the conf.
This was during Julia Quinn’s fantastic plenary speech on Saturday morning. She won me over when she waxed lyrical about her disorganisation skills, but the thing that really resonated was:
NO AUTHOR WILL HURT THEIR CAREER BY HELPING ANOTHER AUTHOR!!!
I strongly believe this too! It is so easy to compare oneself to others sometimes and feel a smidgeon jealous at another’s success but it is much more uplifting and beneficial to celebrate each other’s successes and work together to spread the word about our books!! I love all my romance writing friends and I’m so glad for such a uplifting and supportive organisation!
LONG LIVE RWAus!!!
PS. I’ve only shared a couple of pics here but you can see the rest of mine on my FACEBOOK PAGE!