Remembering the Affair to Remember – NZ Conference

Back from my conference marathon – the NZ conference has just finished and I’m now, officially, shattered. Think this conference was harder mainly due to the fact that I was the Registrar and was running around stressing that I had everything right. Was not helped by the fact that my useless spreadsheet skills had mucked up some of the pitch times… Argh!! Anyway, highlights…

Jane Porter gave a workshop on using your own experiences in your writing and also spoke on the importance of emotion in your stories. Weren’t we lucky?? She is one fabulous woman, not to mention incredibly honest about her own life. I don’t know if I’d be comfortable talking about my divorce with a bunch of strangers but she made everyone choke up when she did. I overcame my shyness to say hello (oh, okay, Maisey made me) but not enough to get her to hold Hoo while I took a photo. 🙂

Another big highlight was the wonderful Natalie Anderson’s workshop on writing great love scenes. Now, I like writing love scenes, I’ve been told I do them moderately well, and I thought I probably didn’t need to learn anything about them. Oh the arrogance! Natalie gives great workshop and boy did I learn some things that although I kind of knew intellectually already, I suddenly ‘got’ in a way I hadn’t before! Does that make sense? There was a particular piece of advice that clicked for me and that was about trying to think of one word that sums up the whole love scene. I over complicate things terribly so thinking of one word made it suddenly seem a whole lot simpler. And that word is the emotional underpinning for the scene itself. Your characters don’t just involve their bodies in the scene, it’s thinking of how they feel during it. It’s not just about desire. Are they scared? Are they anxious? Are they relieved? And if so, how does this affect the way they make love? I’ve been struggling with my current WIP, wanting the love scene to go in a certain way and it’s been difficult because I suddenly realised during Natalie’s workshop that I’m forcing them to make love in a way they wouldn’t because emotionally they’re not ready for it. Woohoo! Of course, it means more rewriting but that’s fine. Hehe.

What else? I met the very generous and lovely Rachel Bailey who gave me lots of fabulous encouragement and advice – can’t wait to read her book! I also pitched to Dianne Moggy who told me to enter the story into the New Voices comp and was very encouraging about working with an editor.

There was heaps more but my brain has reached overload point and I probably need to go somewhere quiet and have a wee lie down (not to mention unpack my goodie bag!). 🙂

16 thoughts on “Remembering the Affair to Remember – NZ Conference”

  1. Sounds like you had a great time, exhaustion aside! Those lightbulb moments are priceless, aren’t they? Glad to have you back!

  2. Woohoo for goody bags!! 😀

    And for Jane being inspirational! (she so is…and a very nice person!) and for Natalie’s workshop! I think that’s brilliant what she said, and sums up what I think is missed as far as public perception of the romance genre. Yes, romance novels are generally sexy, but it’s all a part of the range of emotions you feel through the story.

    We’re on a journey with these characters, and the sex is included! But it also has to be a part of the story as a whole and not just story story sexy times story. It’s a part of the story, and part of who the characters are! A deeply personal part of who they are!

  3. Jackie – am so jealous of your extra conference experience. One day I’ll make it to an NZ conf! Jane Porter sounds divine 🙂 And Rachel Bailey is a doll!

  4. Maya – I did have a fabulous time, totally worth it for the lightbulbs!

    Maisey – yeah, goody bags rock. And Nat’s workshop was so cool. Sex is great but in order for it to be romance, there has to be an emotional underpinning somewhere. And yes, that love scene is deeply personal and can be as tense as an argument. Whatever you do with it, it has to change the relationship every time otherwise it has no part of the story.

    RAch – You wouldn’t have been jealous of the registrar stuff, m’dear. 🙂 But Rachel was such a doll and Jane Porter was, as Maisey said, inspirational.

  5. Yay for Maisey making you go and say hello to Jane (I’d probably need a kick too).

    I’m acid green jealous about how fabulous those workshops sound.

    Congrats on your pitch too! That’s incredible feedback. I’m curious, was that the story you were planning on submitting to NV?

  6. Lacey – yeah, I was pleased I’d said hello. She’s so glam – she’s older than me but looks 20 years younger!
    Re the pitch, she didn’t really ask me anything about the story at all, just told me to enter it. I’ve actually got that story and another I could enter so it’s a bit of a hard choice. I love the story I pitched to her but the other one (only a first chapter at this stage) has a hook I really like too!

  7. Sounds like a fabulous conference!! I LOVE learning new things. No matter how much I know, I’m always amazed at how much more there is to be learned. Online courses and “how to books” are great (and God knows I’ve spent a fortune on them), but there is nothing like a live lecture from an author we admire!!


  8. Glad you had a great time at the conference Jackie and learnt heaps! I’m always amazed when authors share so much with other wouldbe authors! Caroline x

    p.s love the Chinese comment above! I wonder what it says?!!

  9. Jackie, the conference sounds fabulous, glad you had such a great time. Looking forward to seeing your entry in New Voices.
    But most importantly how long have you been waiting now? I think I’m in danger of winning – I’m sure I voted for the beginning of Sept!!!

  10. Lacey – Nah, I know which I’m going with. 🙂

    Amy – Yeah, I don’t get much but theory from books. It’s the practise I have difficulty with but hearing someone speak about it seems to do the trick. And Nat was a fabulous speaker.

    Caroline – without exception my experience has been that all the Harlequin authors have been fantastically encouraging and helpful to unpubbed’s like me. It’s wonderful.
    BTW, I suspect the comment says something like ‘come and visit my hot p*rn site’. 🙂

    Susan – you might indeed win!

  11. Wow, what a whirlwind week for you! It must have been exciting and inspirational to rub shoulders with authors who’d been along the same path you’re on at the moment


  12. Veronica – it was exciting! They’re such a lovely bunch of women too.

    Janette – would love to have you here too. Ah well, there’s always next year eh? Hoo did have a good time, though I had to keep him in my bag a lot of the time otherwise he would have kept going to bother Jane Porter. He liked her.

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