Eloisa James gave an emotional keynote address and I don't think there were many dry eyes in the house! This was followed by a presentation by Joanne Grant from Harlequin, and a panel discussion 'Beyond the Big Six' discussing the smaller publishers and self-publishing.
After morning tea (the food was all very yummy!), we split up and headed off to our chosen breakout sessions.
First up I had "Relentless Conflict - You owe it to your characters" with Helene Young. We discussed the GMC (goal, motivation and conflict) of the characters in Avatar. I haven't actually seen the movie so was a bit lost at times but still got a lot out of it.
- Use what the character desires most and fears most to strengthen their conflict. Put it into the GMC grid. Can you make the motivation more memorable? Can you realign them so that they conflict more with each other?
- Make sure your reader stays invested in your characters because they want that conflict resolved.
- Look at the 1st 5 pages of your 'keeper' books. How does the writer make you engage with the character?
- First scene needs to show heroine is like - if she's witty, make the first scene witty etc
- You need to create reader engagement on an intellectual, psychological, emotional, structural and technical level. Anne went through examples of each of these.
I then attended the "Love in the face of danger - Romantic Suspense Panel". I don't write romantic suspense at this stage, but I do enjoy reading it.
- The stronger the villian, the stronger the hero/ine has to be to overcome them. So if your villian is too weak, the hero doesn't look great overcoming them.
- Put as much work into the villian as the hero/ine.
- Every crime twist has to make it harder for the relationship.
After afternoon tea (more food!), we reconvened for a panel discussion "New York, New Directions" and had our Annual General Meeting.
Saturday night was the Awards Dinner. The meal was delicious, everyone was glammed up, and we had a lovely night. Congrats to everyone who received an award (once again, especially to my RWA friends!)
|Some of our writer's group.|
|This was the 'other' dessert.|
|This was my dessert - very rich but very delicious!|