17:16 from Leeds – on my way to Romantic Suspense πŸ’œ

So you’re itching to hear how I got on aren’t you?

Have you ever been so tired, you’re almost delirious? You’re aware of how many bags you need to keep near you and which pocket your ticket is snuggled in, but there’s a general fog? Not a hungover fog as I kept my alcohol intake to a sensible level so as to attend my one to ones with wits about me. Drunk on information and inspiration maybe….

I did have a little lift selfie moment. Does my bum look big in this? Doesn’t matter if it did because I found a hibiscus 🌺

Maud has become Blanche as the niggle about introducing two characters in a first chapter with names starting with the same letter grew into a cactus which kept meeting me head-on at every corner.

I’ve been advised also to think about an aspect in my early chapters so they make more sense – feel more ‘true’ – as opposed to simply convenient.

An agent did ask to see more than the three chapters I’d sent her so this, for me, is very positive. My plans are now as follows:

β€’ Utilise what I learnt to improve early chapters.

β€’ Do a Find/Replace name-change Maud to Blanche.

β€’ Polish as far as I can the 24,000 words and submit by 30 July to NWS.

β€’ Send the sane 24,000 words to the agent who was ‘intrigued by this rich family story with so much going on.’

β€’ Re-write submission pitch as I now realise what genre my book is – Romantic Suspense. Before this weekend, I wasn’t sure if it was a crime thriller with some romance … or a love tale with a backstory of crime.

β€’ Wait to hear whether I’ve been successful with my application to be on the Curtis Brown Creative novel-writing 6-month online course which starts in September (perfect as I can help Man of the Woods with harvest support).

β€’ complete manuscript by March 2019 and this time next year be receiving NWS critique for the whole damn thing! Because yes, you can do the scheme more than once and many published authors I spoke to this weekend went through it two, three and sometimes four times, getting stronger each year.

β€’ Mentally prepare for Book 2’s birth during NaNoWriMo this coming November with A LOT more planning than my zero effort during 2017!

The authors who gave talks at the conference this weekend about patience, perseverance and struggles were very inspiring. Milly Johnson, for example, has fourteen published titles and she spoke of how hard it is each time she sits to start a new first page. An after-dinner speaker, Milly had us in fits of laughter, a Yorkshire lass proud of her roots, her stories are set around her home county and the trials of real life. Just ordered the title below as it’s about time I introduced my reading-self to this amazing woman and writer.

I am relieved I did not hurl a rushed manuscript through to the NWS, in an effort to gain a larger wordcount. (NaNo wordcount is a different beast – it’s a great to accrue a foundation from which to work).

I rubbed shoulders with Jill Mansell, Katie Fforde and Kate Walker.

I also met Julie Cohen who as well as writing, runs residential courses and I very much hope to attend one in Devon this November. Have you read her? This title below is a Richard & Judy Book Club 2018 choice and I can see why.

I have been blown away by part One .. which covers the first forty pages. I became quickly invested in her characters; I am worried for them and can feel the love shared between. It’s beautiful prose and she shows with clarity and vision the home of this new family I wish to find out everything about. Oh, goodness, I just LOVE it when a book grips me like this πŸ’™