Thanks to the lovely Fiona Palmer (fellow WA author) who took this pic of me collecting this much-wanted ribbon from Alison.
Next on the busy schedule was the plenary speech from Susan Wiggs! I only recently fell in love with Susan Wiggs' books but I fell HARD (blog post coming soon about a book I just read by her) so I was eager to hear what she had to say.
In her inspirational speech she spoke about her journey to publication and her very first conference where she learnt a) not to bring your whole mss when you pitch to an editor and b) not to bring your hubby :) She showed her writing successes came through sheer determination and hard work. I'm sure I took notes (and I KNOW I tweeted) but I can't actually find them so I can't think of anymore specifics at this stage.
Next we had a panel with editors and agents from overseas and Australian publishers. There was much discussion on the distinction between romance and women's fiction and it was great to see Australian publishers more open to publishing romance. They admitted to be a little late to the party but eager to join in :)
Speaking of eds and agents, I pitched to an agent and an Australian publisher on Saturday. I pitched Jilted - otherwise known as The Book That Won't End - and got a great response. I was asked to send the book to both parties and so now the waiting begins.
The first workshop I went to was.... drumroll... Susan Wiggs - Plotting From The Inside Out. It was so interesting listening to her writing process. Some of the gold I took from Susan's workshop:
- Every story needs a shape (this is the plot)
- Last scene - key scene for making the reader satisfied and eager to read your next book. Put EVERYTHING into making this scene emotional and satisfying.
- She called one of her books the ''plotless wonder''. Love that term!
- Focus on an emotion for each book - a BIG, POWERFUL emotion that you are currently feeling and can therefore spill onto the pages. She discussed writing her book ''The Goodbye Quilt'' at a time when she was saying good bye to a daughter going off to college.
- You don't need a big elaborate plot if you have a BIG issue for you character.
- Once she has an emotion she combines it with an image which she then hangs the story on.
- Think like a filmmaker - what do you want the viewer to see about your story?
- Take your time to develop a story.
- Figure out your main point.
- And last but by no means least - ALWAYS LET YOURSELF BE SURPRISED!
And unfortunately Susan's was the only workshop I really went to on Saturday because I had pitches during the next one and the last one was cancelled, but that was okay because I went shopping for toys with my peeps.
Saturday (well the day part) finished with a panel of bestselling authors telling and showing (many dressed up) WHY they love writing romance. From wearing pajamas to work to being able to go on exotic holidays and claim it for tax to meeting the absolute best friends - there were so many reasons these fabulous ladies brought up! It made all of us in the room PROUD to be part of the romance writing community.
Then of course Saturday night was the AWESOME FEEL-GOOD awards night. I was stoked to sit at a table with my favourite romance people, to watch my friend Jacki
e Ashenden take out the High Five Award and to accept my second place in the Single Title and Loving It contest. I'll leave you with some photos from this wonderful night...
Me with the gorgeous Amanda Knight and Cathryn Hein!