>RWA Nat’l wrapup

>Sorry for the delay. I’ve been writing, working on revising A Suitable Wife so I can get it to Susan Litman in a timely fashion. But back to the convention…

Saturday – My CP & I finally relaxed after giving those much-anticipated pitches and both receiving requests. Yay!

However, my day started early as moderator for Tanya Michaels 8:30 am workshop: Payoffs and Pitfalls of Contests. She had stiff competition even at that hour, but the attendees were treated to a comprehensive and funny workshop. Tanya is always an entertaining speaker. I, on the other hand, forgot the taping disclaimer at the beginning and forgot to thank everyone for coming at the end. Of course, I’d have been talking to their backs as they rushed to the next workshop, so I reckon it’s not a big loss.

From there I merely had to walk across the hall to the Literary Agent Cartel. Interesting presentation by a panel of agents who gave us tidbits on the industry, the dos and don’ts of working with an agent, agent hunting and the like. For most people, I think it was nice just seeing what these people look like and getting a glimpse of their personalities. Finding an agent is a lot like looking for a life partner. The personalities and likes/dislikes have to mesh or the relationship won’t work. Bronwyn Jameson sat beside me and ended up sitting at our table for lunch as well.

The Agent Cartel workshop took us to noon and it was time for another luncheon, this time with keynote speaker Christina Dodd. The food was good and Christina entertained us with a speech on negotiating the walk on the sidewalk of success. Before Christina spoke, Bron and I had a very nice chat. Among other things, we touched on the subject of her farm in Australia and her family. She showed me lovely pictures of the farm and three strapping boys with love and pride shining in her eyes. Thanks for sharing, Bron!

After lunch I attended a “Special” workshop. RWA’s term, not mine–although it was. Special, I mean. The name of the (again 2 hrs!) workshop was From Identity to Essence: Love Stories and Transformation by Michael Hauge (one of the top screenwriting consultants in Hollywood). This was a very interesting presentation which required the copious taking of notes if one was to get the essence of the lesson being taught: how to structure your romance novel so that it has the best chance of being optioned as a movie, and allow the easy transition from novel to screenplay. While Hauge used different terms, and uses fewer “stages”, I recognized shades of Vogler’s 12-step Journey in the structure. All in all, definitely worth the time.

By this time if was already 4:30, but I decided to take in one more workshop – this time Doing it all over again: Writing novels in a series by Eloisa James. No reflection on Ms. James, but I was so sleepy from both inactivity and sleep deprivation that I couldn’t concentrate. What I did glean before leaving the workshop was that beginning authors with a series should keep them stand-alone books, because you don’t know if they’ll all sell. After that, the trend is toward books that are connected with a series arc and are best read in order. The readers love reoccurring characters, seeing the overall story develop, and the writers gets the added benefit of multiple sales when a new reader picks up one in the series.

Of course, after that we barely had time to grab a sandwich and get changed into eveningwear. It was time for the awards ceremony. What a treat! Nora Roberts and RWA President, Gayle Wilson put on a very nice show. The winners of the coveted Golden Heart and Rita awards made me teary more than once, while the film clips on romance writers were entertaining and funny. Seeing Susan Elizabeth Phillips accept the Lifetime Achievement Award was special and touching. The chocolate fountains and dessert bar reception afterwards was a hit and then we hit the hay, tired, but invigorated too.

Sunday – A blip on the radar screen. Packing, loading, riding back home. A short drive compared to lots of other attendees, but we all looked forward to being back in our own beds–and soon!

About Annie Rayburn/Carol Burnside

As an author of sizzling romance, Annie takes contemporary settings. and incorporates twists with sci-fi and paranormal elements.
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