In which I learn some things and wear pretty pretty shoes

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Two blog posts in two days! It’s all go here. I’m aiming to post again tomorrow in a more normal random thoughts and rantings sort of way, so that would be three in three days! Don’t hold your breath though peoples – I think we all know that probably ain’t gonna happen.

Anyway, this weekend I have been at the Romantic Novelists’ Association Conference. It was my 3rd RNA Conference and I’m feeling like a bit of an old hand now. This year was particularly exciting as I was able to announce my first publishing contract which was signed just 2 days before the conference! What? You haven’t heard about that? Seems unlikely given that basically haven’t shut up about it since Friday, but just in case, all the details are in yesterday‘s blog, and I’ll gratuitously share another Choc Lit Authors pic (with me in it!) for you right here:

Choc Lit Authors

So what did I learn at conference this year? There were things, and they were threefold.

1. A nice spider graph about your major theme can help in the planning of your novel

In creative terms, the top workshop of the weekend for me was Julie Cohen’s session on Theme. I’ve been on courses with Julie before. She’s a super good writer and a brilliant teacher. If you’re interesting in novel writing I heartily recommend that you book yourself on one of her courses. I think the details on her website are for this year, but watch that space for future stuff.

Anyway, during Julie’s conference session I surprised myself by knowing very quickly what the core theme for the novel I’m about to start writing is going to be. I can also see ways in which that theme will impact on the characterisation and the interaction between different characters. Realising I’ve already got a lot of that stuff in my brain, and getting some pointers on how those instincts might translate into actual character and plot development, was invaluable given that I’m currently suffering from what is commonly known as Total Paralysing Second Novel terror.

I’ve just contracted with a publisher for my first novel, but what if that was a fluke? What if I can’t do it again? What if there is no second book in my brain? What if there is but I can’t work out how to write it? What if I work out how to write it and it’s just a bit pants? This session didn’t make those nerves go away but it did start to make me think maybe I am just beginning to sort of slightly know a little bit what I’m doing here.

2. I must not procrastinate.

Nina Harrington led a fantastic session on procrastination, specifically on how to avoid procrastination. She talked about how fear can stop us from getting on and doing things by making tasks seem overwhelming. Those of you who reached this paragraph via the traditional route of the previous paragraph will understand that that felt pretty relevant for me at the moment.

She also gave some great ideas for breaking work down into achievable chunks and carving out your precious writing time. Combined with talks from Linda Hooper on time management and Sonia Duggan on writing through your fear, I’ve come away from conference fired up and ready to get stuck into edits and rewrites and cracking on with that difficult second novel. I’ve even written myself a little daily schedule to show where all the writing and editing fits into the day. Hurrah.

3. And finally, these shoes are art. They should not be worn as actual footwear.

So very pretty but so very hurty
So very pretty but so very very hurty.

And that is all. According to my lovely shiny new schedule, I’m supposed to be doing some rewrites right now, so I shall be gone from this place. Bye bye.


8 thoughts on “In which I learn some things and wear pretty pretty shoes

    Polly Robinson said:
    July 16, 2013 at 3:10 pm

    Wow! And especially to the shoes! 🙂


    Chris Stovell said:
    July 16, 2013 at 4:00 pm

    I wish I’d been able to attend Julie’s workshop too – everyone said how brilliant it was! It was lovely to be able to congratulate you on your success in person.. and those shoes are truly gorgeous!


      alisonmay responded:
      July 16, 2013 at 5:21 pm

      Gorgeous to look at. Horrendous to wear unfortunately!


    strangelybzar said:
    July 16, 2013 at 4:35 pm

    Julie’s workshop was outstanding, as ever, and I thought Linda’s suggestion of disconnecting the phone was genius, yet so simple. I get so many phone calls from customer survey centres. No more!
    Fiona Harper’s session on Sunday afternoon was excellent too 🙂


      alisonmay responded:
      July 16, 2013 at 5:21 pm

      I missed Fiona’s session, but I heard good things. Wish I could have gone to everything!


    […] also a great round-up at over at Alison May’s blog at The news that Alison has just been signed by Choc Lit under their Lite imprint was broken at the […]


    John said:
    July 17, 2013 at 7:23 am

    Woop – spangerlay shoes! So – for those of us outside the writing / publishing biz; How long does it usually take to go from getting the yes to seeing your book on shelves. Also which book was this? Was it the one for which you got advice about rewrites? An entirely new? Or what? How does it work now? Do they just click the print and bind button or is that art work to be chosen and editing to be done? Excited for ya!! 😎


    […] the shoes that nearly crippled me in 2013 I’m finally learning my lesson. This year I took three pairs of shoes to […]


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