Monday, August 06, 2007

RNA Conference Part 9

Little did I realize that the conference would provide so much blogging material! I just went through my notes and realized that I four more sessions to cover. Clearly I took a lot out of the conference.
The next session I am about to blog about I chose not because I could even begin to write for the the line but I just felt that an session with an editor was going to provide some hard core tips - I wasn't wrong. Cat Cobain the editor for Headline's Little Black Dress imprint ( ) spoke about 'What Women Want' -(Little Black Dress). Now as I said I know I can't write for Little Black Dress although I love reading them (think Julie Cohen and Phillipa Ashley) - after this talk I really really wanted to because I felt that Cat must be a fabulous editor to work with. Enough of my dreams here's what she said:

First off she spoke about LBD.
- it's one year old
- it's a brand
- they have 35 authors
- currently they are publishing 4 books a month but will be increasing to 6 ( 3 paper/ 3 hardback)
- it's aimed at 20 to 35 year olds ; it is very young in focus; just working out their lives; this group is very fickle and media savvy; used to tv and films
- they need a new twist but can be the same story
- must have a hook and an angle

Then she went on to elaborate that the good stories twist normal life creating the angle and escapism - something like Rachel's Holiday by Marion Keyes. It's sort of like watching friends. It masquerades for normal life but its not.

Then Cat went on with some writing tips:

1. can't please everyone it for yourself - love it
3. writing communities - use them carefully
4. allow quiet time - don't fill your time with too much blogging
5. careful of the advice you are given
6. don't share your work too much with others; be careful of homogenization; don't lose your spark; use others input wisely and not too often
7. it can become a bit of a conveyor belt once your published
8. allow time for ideas to germinate
9. structure - synopsis is the strongest tool; you can see plot flaws and it focuses the mind and gets rid of bagging (think of it as a miniature Turkish carpet - you have to look at it to see the pattern; must be able to see the beginning and the plot coming out as flecks through out)

I think those writing tips are superb. She mentioned have Internet free days!!!! She especially spoke of allowing time for things to grow properly. So although I could never write for LBD I'm so glad I chose this session to attend!

Life here in Cornwall has improved and so has my colour. Due to several days on the beach and on the river I slowly achieving a light Cornish mahogany. I am still reading Kate Harrison's Self Preservation Society (fabulous btw) and Rebecca ( my last blog on the conference will explain why I am reading this other than it's wonderful). I'm frustrated that I'm reading in such short bursts. I would love a long day of just reading but with my three kids plus one extra, a house and a husband to look after I have to be happy with short bursts of reading and snatched moments on the puter. So if I haven't be visiting blogs as much that's why. Come September something like normal service will return :-)


Anonymous said...

Thank you Liz for this - fabulous and I'm going to link to it from my blog, if that's OK.

P x

PS We're coming to Cornwall in September so if you feel like a coffee...


liz fenwick said...

When in September?

Of course you can link it :-)

Lisa said...

Liz, I just found your blog and all of these fabulous quotes on the conference you attended. I am going back through all of them and wanted to thank you for taking the time to post this valuable information. I know it takes a lot of time to do this and I sincerely appreciate your sharing this information.

Fionamac said...

I love the idea of books set in Cornwall so when..not if...your books are published, I am sure they'll sell! Any tasters any where?
I loved Spirit Willing by Julie Cohen although apparently I am too old for it - I was always immature!
The RNA tips were great but scrary. So much to consider that it might have put me off if I hadn't already started. 'Fools leap in...'

A. Writer said...

Interesting stuff Liz! Thanks for sharing this with us! I love the LBD books. I'm not sure if I could write one but I certainly love reading them!

liz fenwick said...

Lisa thank you for visiting. Yes, the conference blogs have taken time but they have also helped cement all the wonderful information in my own head. i'm just pleased that it may help others too :-)

liz fenwick said...

Hi fionamac. Thanks for the vote of confiudence. I have put a link to the first chapter of August Rock which is on my web site on the side bar. Let me know what you think :-)

Julie's book was great and I'm looking forward to the next one.

You are never too old btw. Good luck with the writing!

liz fenwick said...

hi a. writer - writing lbd depends on your voice. Mine certainly isn't ldb material but yours might be :-) Cat would certainly be a great editor to work with and the great thing with lbd is that you don't have to be agented to submit to them!

Ray-Anne said...

Hi Liz
Can I please add my thanks to your efforts in collating together the notes from the conference. I was also in the session and took a one to one pitching session with Cat Cobain later that Sunday [Cat has since been promoted by the way!]
I am pleased to say that Cat took away my partial submission and I should be hearing back in a few weeks. I love the Little Black Dress line and would be thrilled to write for them and work with Cat.
And yes, great tips.
Thanks again and regards, Ray-Anne

liz fenwick said...

Hi Ray-Anne. Thanks for the up date on Cat and I'll keep my fingers crossed for you :-)

Zinnia Cyclamen said...

I'm glad you went to that session too, those tips are top tips, thank you for posting them.