So yesterday I attended my first Clayton’s Conference. The Clayton’s Conference is put on by The Romance Writers of Australia. It is an on line affair which runs simultaneously as the RWA (physical) Conference which was held this year at the Gold Coast. The organiser and captain at the wheel was the remarkable Jenny Schwartz. She was a pillar of strength and kept the rest of us rowdy Claytoneers in line. Thanks Jenny, for all your hard work.
Friday night social was all about getting to know each other. It was lovely to meet everyone. I would also like to thank Jodie Smith who was an enormous help as co host. I, on the other hand gave out a few clues for our scavenger hunt and stood about with a virtual drinks tray and tried to look as if I was helping. There were a lot of laughs and a lot of prizes given away, thanks to the amazing generosity of the RWA members.
The next morning was when the ‘work’ began. The first session was meeting Heather Howard from Entangled Publishing and Beth Walker from Secret Cravings Publishing. They spoke about what they were looking for in submissions and what each of their lines encapsulated. It was informative and got the little grey cells working.
Next Jenny took up ‘High Concept Plotting’ and issued the Fast Fiction Challenge, which had lots of people grabbing the nearest pencil so they could scribble away.
After that, we broke into two groups. Some headed to a chat about ‘What readers want’, led by Kate Cuthbert, Kat Mayo and Louise McNally. I was told it was fantastic, chatty and everyone learnt a lot.
I on the other hand, decided to face my demons head on and brave the synopsis writing session. I find them frustrating, awful, scary and I know that I am complete rubbish when it comes to writing them. Enter the wonderful Shona Husk who led us through a step by step guide of how to write the perfect synopsis. Several people in the group said that they had ‘light bulb moments’... Me, I swear I heard the whole Hallelujah chorus singing. Suddenly the dreaded synopsis was no longer an evil, dark entity waiting to suck out my soul but something far less frightening and dare I say it ... feasible. Thank you Shona!
After lunch, Maree Anderson led us through an interesting self publishing forum, which was followed by a chat with Shona Husk *Who from now on shall forever be known as High Queen of the Synopsis* and Greta van der Rol. It was great and we covered all sorts of topics including promotion, back list, submissions and agents. Here Greta shared her memorable advice on submission guidelines...hehehe.
Jess Anastasi, Melissa James and Chris Weston led a session called “Why We Write”. It was a fascinating look at different aspects of how and why writers... well, write. I love history and for me, Lisa’s talk on her research was enthralling.
I found my first Clayton’s experience to be not only informative but also very supportive. Thanks to my fellow Claytoneers for making it such a fun and friendly conference.
And once again I would like to thank everyone involved in the RWA’s Clayton Conference for their time, knowledge, generosity and hard work.
Image - Bigstock