Last weekend I attended the annual Romantic Novelists’ Association conference, held this year at Penrith in Cumbria. It involved far too much talking (and drinking) and far too little sleep, and was - therefore - great fun!
I had wondered, having attended these conferences for a number of years, whether I would learn anything new, or whether I was just there for the company. It turned out it was possible to be there for both!
In addition to having a very good time, I learnt:
- there is a computer programme which allows you to check your writing for the over (or under) use of words. It can be found at www.wordle.net
- there is no definite agreement on what (or who) constitutes the perfect romantic hero, but Johnny Depp was definitely highly-rated. Worryingly, so was Leonardo DiCaprio, and I really don’t get DiCaprio
- e-books are no longer the poor relation to their paper counterparts, with the US e-publisher Samhain regularly having books in the main as well as the ‘e’ US best-seller list. Samhain also publish print copies 9 to 12 months after the e-launch, for books over 50k words in length, and find the two versions complement one another
- if you’re stuck for inspiration you can trawl your family history to find not only some amazing names and some even more amazing incidents (but you might not be able to use some of them - they're really too unbelievable)
- I need to watch more films! Keeping abreast of current trends and/or studying the plot lines is essential for a romantic novelist. We do have to suffer for our art.
I'd be interested to hear from anyone else who was there of other tips they'd like to pass on.
And I also learnt, when I got home, that my family can clean and tidy the house to an impressively high standard. Unfortunately, some of the things they tidied away may never be found again…
|Gwen Kirkwood, Janice Horton and Rae Cowie|
Here are a couple of pictures of some of the Scottish contingent, looking very chic at the Gala Dinner on Saturday evening.
|Joan Fleming, Jenny Harper, me and Rosemary Gemmell|
They must have been taken on the rare occasion when we didn’t have our mouths open, valiantly trying to talk loud enough to be heard over all the other noisy novelists.