Sandra Lindsey/ September 18, 2015/ Conference

Off on adventures with Husband this weekend, so thought I’d best scribble down some more of my thoughts about last weekend before I forget them!

Sunday was a less-cram-packed day than Saturday. I wandered up to the Marriott for Quite Early, as we had been warned in advance that the Bristol Half Marathon was on that day and there would be road closures around the Meet venue. I was one of the earlier people to arrive, and spent a lovely couple of hours or so chatting over many, many cups of tea. A fair portion of that time was spent ooh-ing and ah-ing over Kellie’s beautiful covers, and discussing book covers in general. After that it became a morning of hard choices…

First up, a choice of Character Building Workshop, Humour in Fiction, or ‘No thank you, Delia – reading and writing love & romance without “stuffing the turkey”‘. I went for the Humour panel which was, as expected, a good laugh. Everything from styles of humour, use of humour for different effects within stories, historical jokes (the earliest recorded joke is about farting), to blurbs for humourous books.

After another tea break, I summed the choices up as “sex or death”: ‘Sex scenes, what makes them sizzle? And what turns them into a damp squib?’, or ‘Unlocking your dark side – convincing killers, gripping plots and the like’. I went for the dark side. It was a tough choice – probably the two panels I found it hardest to choose between – and I ended up choosing based on the panellists. Aleksander Voinov and L A Witt are a double-act beyond compare. Not sure if I should be surprised that I laughed as much in this panel as in the previous one on humour… Even better, some of the discussion points reminded me of stories I let fall by the wayside a number of years ago because they got too dark for what I was comfortable writing at the time. I’ll look them up someday and see if they’re worth bothering with…

Lunch next, with a really nice amount of sitting around chatting, then KJ Charles’s keynote speech. Many stories, much laughter, and an overall love for reading and writing that sums up why we all make the effort to get to these events. She’s written up one of the stories she told and whilst it’s even better in person, here’s the link.

Immediately after KJ’s speech, she and Charlie Cochrane drew the raffle, and provided entertainment during the pauses when waiting for the prize-giving to catch up with the ticket-drawing. They make a damn good double-act, and Charlie has threatened / promised Friday Night Bingo for next year’s Meet…

…which led nicely into the last panel, which was the organising team discussing with attendees, what worked & didn’t work, and ideas for next year.

I left mid-afternoon, after a final cup of tea, and made it home before midnight. I’ve been rather full of thoughts about the event over the last few days, but I think they’re best expressed in the context of my personal experience of UK Meet as it’s grown from its earliest beginnings. Something for another post, another day…