Friday, July 9, 2010

Not at Conference? (and gossip)

Well this weekend is the RNA conference, and romance writers everywhere are flocking to London to meet, greet and network. It's a great opportunity for everyone to go to talks and workshops and half of the Minxes are on their way there right now - all dressed up in their conference dresses and super shoes. But half of the Minxes can't go, for one reason or another, and this blog post is for the rest of us!

Here are some things those not at conference can do this weekend.

1. Polish that first chapter.
Every writer at conference wishing to pitch to an editor and get feedback on their WIP, has really polished the first chapter of their manuscript and sent it in to the RNA to be read by an editor prior to their pitch talk. The time pressure to get this done has forced them to work hard to make sure it's the best first chapter that it can be. Us non-conference goers (NCG's) should drag out our first chapter and do an edit and polish.
Right Now.

2. Write a kick-ass synopsis.
The conference goers had to write a one page synopsis to go with their first chapter. We're luckier, because we're not pitching to an editor at the conference, but getting a submission ready to send in by the regular route. We can write a 2 page synopsis. Scroll back through Minx posts and print out Cindy Davis' excellent 'How to do a synopsis' post and write it. This weekend, pretend we're under time pressure too!

3. Polish the next 2 chapters.
Those at conference might get a request to see the first 3 chapters. They will have polished the next 2 so they're ready when the request comes. Let's do the same.

4.  Claim your writer status.
By going to conference they're stating that they, published or unpublished, are writers. Go to vistaprint or another online printing service,  and design up some free business cards for yourself. Shout it loud!

5. The Revamp.
The conference is the perfect opportunity for reinvention. New dress, new shoes, new haircut. If the budget allows, get one or all of the above! If time and finances don't allow, at least have a diy pedicure and paint those toenails.

6. Craft up.
Workshops, talks and lectures abound at the conference, but we have it all too, online. One good place to look is at the Romance Writers of America site, they have lots of handouts that you can read through. Everyone's got their favorite craft blogs, but here's two of mine, Les Edgerton's blog for craft articles, and Laurie Schnebley Campbell's.

7. Indulge yourself.
The conference is also about having a meal out, and coffee with friends. Taking the time to talk about writing, your goals, hopes, and fears. Try and get together with a likeminded writer friend for coffee, or if not (because they're all away!) get together online. Maybe try a Skype session to brainstorm ideas, or maybe just get yourself that coffee (with cream!) and large slice of chocolate cake for next to the keyboard.
The weekend is about focusing on yourself, you're a writer, you deserve it!

I'm sure there are loads of things I've forgotten, do pop in a comment with some more suggestions!

And now for a Friday news snippet... Here's some unofficial gossip about the Romance is not dead competition from Mills and Boon.
A little bird tells us that the contest is going ahead, and the time to post the first chapter is during September. It looks like its going to be for all the UK edited lines. The first round will be judged by editors and then the next few rounds are judged by the public and the panel. The first round is the first chapter, the next is the next chapter, and the final is the pivotal moment.
Word is that Mills and Boon authors will be holding workshops about how to write a M&B, and that there will also be stuff on the website. Check the website regularly, and let us all know the moment this competition goes live!

16 comments:

Suzanne Jones said...

Terrific post, Sally - lots to keep sll NCGs busy. And I don't need any more encouragement to fetch myself a large slice of chocolate cake - thanks for the suggestion.

XX

Sally Clements said...

Eating cake here too, Suz. Guess everyone else must have gone to conference?

Suzanne Jones said...

Think you must be right - it's gone quiet all over Blogland.

Never mind, we'll just have our own party and add a Minxy drink to that cake while we wait for them to come back with all the gossip.

XX

Sally Clements said...

Good idea, Suz. Mine's a Baileys!

Jackie Ashenden said...

Great post, Sally! I'm not at conference. I'm pretending to be at conference. Kind of feels almost like it since I'm the registrar for the NZ one and I'm processing registrations as we speak or write or whatever...
Course what I really want to do is polish my next sub!

Lacey Devlin said...

Great post Sally! Squee re the comp! I know nothing about this! How have I missed it? *whimper*.

Sally Clements said...

Hi Jackie, Hi Lacey! Now you know all about the comp, get polishing! (great to know you got something new out of visiting the Minxes, and not just a fun read!)

Janet said...

Monday might be a good time to check the romanceisnotdead website. Joanne Grant said a couple of days ago

"...are you attending the RNA conference this weekend? if so, you will be one of the first to hear about this new competition! If not, I believe the website will go live at the same time, or maybe next week :)"

Janet said...

I've found the competition details. It's for unpublished writers

http://goodbadandunread.com/2010/07/10/breaking-news-new-voices-from-harlequin-mills-and-boon/

Sally Clements said...

Thanks, Janet! Heading over to look now...

Lacey Devlin said...

Thanks Sally! Thanks Janet!

Lacey Devlin said...

Does anyone else find it really intimidating that the public will be voting? Especially when it comes to possible comments? I can see myself getting someone to check they're not too bad before I read them (yep I'm a coward).

Janet said...

That's quite scary. It said that negative comments will be removed -- so the comments that stay will probably be okay :)

Do you have a story ready, Lacey?

Lacey Devlin said...

I think blogger gobbled my reply. I think I would write a new one Janet, although it sounds as though you write it as the competition goes along? Do you have a story ready? Which line are you targetting?

Janet said...

I'm targetting the romance line, but I don't think I'll be eligible to enter. (published in DC Thomson pocket books & Linford Romance)unless they say that only people published with Harlequin are ineligible :)

Lacey Devlin said...

Congrats on your publications :). In the past they've only restricted it to those published with Harlequin so I wouldn't rule it out just yet.