Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Conference News

I attended the 2012 RNA conference at Penrith on the weekend of 13-15 July. It was a full, exciting and exhilarating weekend which has taken a full fortnight to recover from (and I hardly drank anything). I have been in a strange contemplative mood, have hardly used social media and haven’t blogged.

It is time to share what I did and learned at the conference. I shall be doing this as a series of blog posts. As a taster, my weekend included the following:-
  • Meeting lots of fantastic writers, both published and unpublished.
  • Individual chats with two publishers.
  • A Gala dinner and a kitchen party gate-crash.
  • Conference sessions:-
    • Talli Roland – On-line marketing.
    • Nell Dixon – Self-editing.
    • Melanie Hilton – RNA New Writers’ Scheme.
    • MIRA Women’s’ Fiction.
    • Jane Wenham-Jones – What a way to earn a living.
    • Annie Ashurst – Towards Zero – Backstory.
    • Sonia Duggan – Motivation for Writers.
    • Pia Fenton – Dead good ideas – using your family tree for inspiration.
    • Cathy Wade – Packing that punch.
Come back soon for more detail on the above. If you were there please say hello and if you weren’t and are particularly interested in any of the above, let me know.

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Jodi Picoult Talk

Ellie Swoop and I went to Birmingham yesterday to see Jodi Picoult. She is on a promotional tour for a new book for young adults written in collaboration with her daughter. We braved the rain. There were only fifty places for adults and the rest were for school children. It was a free event.

Jodi explained how the book was conceived. It was her daughter, Samantha’s idea and they took three years to complete it. Throughout the talk Jodi’s love and pride in her daughter shone from her eyes, which was lovely.

The concept of the book, "Between the Lines", (Amazon link here) is that the characters in a fairytale have their own lives when the book is closed and only have to take up their roles when someone is reading. The handsome prince decides he has had enough of the endless happy ever after and having to kiss the princess so often and wants to escape.

The book is amazingly presented with three different text colours, one for each narrative voice. There are beautiful illustrations and silhouettes. The idea behind the coloured text is to make it easier for younger readers to recognise the changes in voice.

Jodi read a passage in the Prince’s voice and Samantha a passage as the reader of the book. It was very entertaining and so well written.

The pair spent a period developing their characters and then talked the book aloud as they typed. A further period was spent editing. Samantha is only sixteen, but seemed very mature for her age.

They were very generous in answering questions from the audience and had lots of lovely comments about this book and Jodi’s adult novels. The book is currently being pitched as a film script.

There were various questions about Jodi’s adult books and she explained how she likes to tackle moral issues about which people will have differing views. She was annoyed that film producers had changed the ending to the dramatization of her book “My Sister’s Keeper”, but she explained that once you have sold the book rights you have no control over what they do with the story. Nonetheless, the film had made a much wider audience aware of her writing.

The queue to have books signed was huge, but Jodi and Samantha took their time with everyone. A thoroughly enjoyable morning and very inspirational.

Other news ….I’ve posted off my RNA New Writers’ Scheme novel for critique! Off to the RNA conference in Penrith this weekend.