I have to admit, my first impression of the Book Zone was that it was smaller than I had expected - I mean, I knew it was just one section of LFCC, but still, somehow I had been expecting it to be bigger. Nonetheless, the compact layout of YALC turned out to be pretty handy later, as it was made it easy to nip quickly between signings and workshops or talks.
YALC: What Catherine Did
Talk - 'How to get published'
The main thing I took away from this talk is that it's hard work writing a novel! I mean, I knew this before, but, still, I got even more of a sense of the great commitment and perseverance that is required to write a book. Sally Green (author of Half Bad) recommended that aspiring writers look for online creative writing courses, for example with the Open University, Phil Earle (author of The Bubble Wrap Boy, Heroic, Saving Daisy and Being Billy) suggested that, when sending query letters, it's a good idea to include a two-line summary that really captures the essence of your novel, and the Writers' and Artists' Yearbook was named as a good way to go about looking for an agent.
Workshop - Finding your writing voice
This inspiring workshop was hosted by the lovely, lovely Alexia Casale (author of The Bone Dragon). Unfortunately, it was really hard to hear her above the din of LFCC, but she tried her best to bellow as loud as she could, and we all leaned in close to catch the pearls of wisdom she delivered. The main message was, as written on the handout we received:
'Developing a unique writing voice is not about trying to be different. It's about recognising how you're already different and unique, then harnessing that.'Alexia encouraged us to do this by refining our understanding of 'aesthetic' - the things that we notice and find beautiful (beauty, she emphasised, was very broad and did not necessarily mean 'prettiness' in the conventional sense). A suggestion she made was, whenever you go somewhere, to think about what you're noticing that other people might not.
Talk - Sisters Doing it for Themselves
This was probably my favourite event of the day - a entertaining, empowering, all-female panel hosted by Sarra Manning, featuring Tanya Byrne (Heart Shaped Bruise), Isobel Harrop (The Isobel Journal), Julie Mayhew (Red Ink) and Holly Smale (Geek Girl). As well as being a very funny, enjoyable talk, serious issues were raised, for example a member of the audience asked the question: 'Do you feel like you get taken less seriously in the industry because you are women?'
Signings - Sally Green (Half Bad) , James Dawson (Hollow Pike) , Meg Rosoff (How I live Now), Sarra Manning (Adorkable) and Sophie McKenzie (Split Second)
|'It's a one trick cage'|
|'Beware the trees'|
|'Stay pretty, keep reading + START writing!'|
Also, I met some really lovely people! I'd thought I would be too shy to approach any bloggers or talk to anyone, but I did speak to a few people! What I love so much about the YA community is that everyone is so lovely and friendly - authors, publishers, bloggers - we're all united by our love of books!
Now, there was so much bookish swag at YALC, and between my dad, my sister and I we managed to pick up some duplicates, so I thought...perfect opportunity for a GIVEAWAY! Here's what you can win...
|So colourful and bookish!|
N.B This giveaway is only open to entrants from the UK; sorry, international folks!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Did you go to YALC? What did you think? If you didn't go, will you go in future?