RWA 2015: The NYC Conference Recap

How was your experience at RWA Nationals in NYC this year? Today, RWA-SD member L.H. Marley shares her conference experience in the city that never sleeps.

#RWA15 was awesome!

View from the One World Trade Center Observatory.

View from the One World Trade Center Observatory.

The iconic clichés about New York City are true! Rattling subway trains…yes. Spectacular views in Times Square…yes. Hot FDNY…YES! If you go to NYC, my advice is:

  1. Buy a Metrocard when you arrive,
  2. Make a list of your top three sites, and do it, and
  3. Bring comfortable walking shoes!

The RWA National Conference lived up to my expectations, and the app gave me reminders and kept me informed of changes, When one class was too full, I could refer to them for alternatives. Very helpful!

Here are some quotes, tips, and trends I spotted, loosely translated from my notes:

  • “When business starts to suck, go back to the craft” – Barbara Freethy
  • Speaking of her daily routine Nora Roberts, she said “It’s a job!” adding later to “get your job done.”
  • Agents – they can manage your career, best at selling manuscripts, communicate with them on making deadlines, know what you want from one
  • Multicultural Romance — #WeNeedDiverse
  • Ten Tweaks to Perk Your Prose by Grace Burrowes & Joanna Bourne (my favorite class)
    1. Surprise your nouns (cowardly lion)
    2. Micro symbols (smudged glass when someone is confused)
    3. Sometimes you tell (tell the character is soft spoken but has large vocabulary)
    4. Hot tip (go to the emotions like desire & joy)
    5. Loading Backstory (just in time delivery, only give reader what they need to know when they ask the question, not two/three chapters earlier)
    6. Pacing (1st job is to establish connection with reader, reader must care about your character)
    7. Bunch of Words (sensory vs thinking – ie He thought envy was a louse. USE> Envy was a louse.)
    8. Uncertain person would say he thought envy was a louse
    9. Dialogue (weak modifiers ‘peered’ ‘glanced’ and let the room react to what is said not just internal monologue
    10. Action tags (position in room, attitude of words, story action, remove double tagging, use “he said” 1 in 100x)
  • Invite your reader to be “present and in awe” – Virginia Kantra
    • Add in your story three forms of LOVE:
      1. DUH! — Revelations of love.
      2. YES! — Declarations of surrender and love (sometimes unequal)
      3. AWE! — The emotional payoff and emotional satisfaction
    • Feel. Suffer. Rejoice!
  • Survival for Writers by Michelle Grajkowski & Kerrelyn Sparks
    • We can ALL Survive (cheer for all successes in RWA)
      • Be a FIGHTER > be determined to succeed
      • Be a THINKER > make a plan, achieve it
      • Be a CONNECTOR > network, band together
      • Be a BELIEVER > grow faith in yourself and your talent
  • What do you want in your reader’s mind? Use your words carefully.
Jewel Quinlan (l.) and L.H. Marley, all dressed up for the award ceremony.

Jewel Quinlan (l.) and L.H. Marley, all dressed up for the award ceremony.

There were many more notes, but I think that’s all I’ve got time to share.

RWA-SD writers: there is a definite advantage to being part of RWA – you are a step ahead of the rest by being part of this wonderful group. Seize opportunities to make your stories great… super cheers!

Hope to see you in San Diego for #RWA16 and my advice:

  1. Bring sunscreen & wear it,
  2. Take advantage of meeting with editors & agents, and
  3. Listen & learn to perfect your craft!


Anna aka L.H. Marley

5 thoughts on “RWA 2015: The NYC Conference Recap

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