Monday, 21 July 2014

My Day at YALC (+ a giveaway!)

Having heard horror stories about queues to get in to LFCC on Saturday, I was up at 4:30am on Sunday morning, on the road by 5:30 and in the queue by 7:30. Surprisingly, it wasn't too long yet (having missed the chance to buy tickets advance, I was in the 'pay on the day' queue, which was actually shorter than the queue for those with pre-paid tickets!) and although we had to wait for an hour and a half before the doors opened, the time flew by as I had Sally Green's brilliant novel, Half Bad, to keep me occupied! It hit 9, and, to my great delight, we were in within minutes!

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!

An assortment of bookmarks, wristbands, badges and postcards, a Grasshopper Jungle bus/train pass case, a The Fault in Our Stars poster, a We Were Liars poster, a shiny pink pencil...

...Rock War: The Audition
(novella) by Robert Muchamore, Geek Girl: Team Geek (novella) by Holly Smale, samples from Half Bad by Sally Green, We Were Liars by E. Lockhart and Endgame: The Calling by James Frey...
...And,finally, a black 'books with bite' tote bag!

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?


    P.S Thanks. ;D

    1. Hehe if the winner of this giveaway was picked based on enthusiasm I would totally pick you as the winner!!! :D Good luck ;)

  2. Woaaah, this is the most generous YALC giveaway I've come across yet - thank you! I'm glad you had a good time and got to miss the looong queues. I wasn't allowed to go this year even though nearly every other book blogger went :/ Hopefully it will happen next year and then I can do a YALC giveaway too :D

  3. I didn't go to YALC. I am so ashamed of myself. I hope you enjoyed it though! Thanks so much for the giveaway <3

  4. I was really happy (and impressed!) that you introduced yourself to me at YALC! Sorry I was so awkward...

  5. This sounds so awesome! I am definitely going to consider going if it happens again next year! :-D

  6. I was really disappointed in YALC this year! Most of the problems did come from LFCC, though, like the Stan Lee queue on Saturday being in the middle of the Book Zone! Like you, I was pretty underwhelmed by the size of YALC, and wish I had been able to hear the workshops(I went to the Blogging one on Sat).

    I didn't go back on Sunday, although I had tickets, as I really couldn't face it again. But, I heard it was much better on Day 2!

    Glad you enjoyed most of it!

    -Sophie :)

  7. wow you were lucky to have gone there. I'd like to have heard the all girl one with Holly Smale, i love her Geek Girl book. Thanks for such a generous giveaway prize.
    Gill xx

  8. It was so amazing to meet you, Catherine - you are the LOVELIEST! I loved reading this and living the awesomeness all over again!

  9. Sadly didn't go to YALC, but it looks AMAZING! Wish I did now!

  10. I wasn't but it did look absolutely amazing!! I wish I could of made it

  11. I wasn't at YALC unfortunately. I wish I was :( I heard some great stuff about it though and saw sone great pictures from it,

  12. hope to be there next year!! looked so good

  13. Glad you had fun at YALC!!

    Since I've got bucket loads of swag, I'll have to refrain from entering but good luck to everyone that is! :D

  14. Ahhh looks like so much fun!!!! I live in London so I'll deffs be going next year if I'm around.
    So jealous of all your swag! Looks like you had a great time - thanks for the giveaway!! :)

  15. Thanks very much for hosting the giveaway!!!

  16. I want to attend the event in the future. I'm happy in this place that I can hear some interesting books and interviews.


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