RWNZ (Romance Writers of New Zealand)Conference
Last weekend I attended the annual RWNZ Conference. For one reason or another I had missed the last couple of years but had been looking forward to another weekend of total immersion in the writing craft. I was not disappointed.
The worst thing about a conference where numerous workshops are held simultaneously is that you must miss some workshops that you would have liked to attend. This was the case last weekend, so I can’t comment about all the speakers who shared their time and knowledge with us.
The major all day workshop by James Scott Bell flew by, probably because of his use of short film clips to illustrate the points he was making. His presentation was interesting and for me very helpful and his relaxed and friendly manner endeared him to all the attendees I’m sure. Despite struggling with a bad dose of the flu, he continued on regardless.
James explained that within every story there is a “mirror moment” when the primary character’s attitude makes a vital change. James had discovered numerous examples where this defining moment occurred around the middle pages of the story. As I always struggle with the middle part of every story I write, his words resonated with me and I used pages to scribble notes, not necessarily of what he was sharing, but of how I would adapt my own story. I came away from his workshop enthused about writing the middle of my current book. I hope the ideas his talk inspired within me will be a way to get through those dreaded sagging chapters in the middle of other stories. By applying what I learned at this RWNZ Conference, I hope these chapters will forever be fresh and vibrant, and so much easier to scribe than in the past.
Jim Azevedo from Smashwords was another interesting presenter. His explanations of how to use his company to assist with self-publishing a book was enlightening. Never having seriously considered this route myself, I have to admit I am now toying with the option. The one certainty I came away from his talks with – and this was reinforced by the comments of another presenter, Marie Force – is the need for a professional approach to self publishing. Cover art and editing needs to be of a professional standard to have any hope of succeeding. Currently these are provided free of charge via traditional publishing, so the costs of preparing a book for self publishing must be aligned with the possible benefits.
Writers Marie Force and Courtney Milan were great to listen to and Agent Kevan Lyon shared an informative message about the relationship between author and agent. Staff from Harlequin, both Australia and England, shared their company’s current status and desired acquisitions.
In all, RWNZ Conference 2014 was a great weekend event. To spend this amount of time with others who enjoy creating the written word is fantastic and so invigorating. My thanks to all the organisers and workers – you did an amazing job.