Saturday, August 27, 2011

Claytons Conference

If you look up the word 'Claytons' in a dictionary you'll see that it is the name of a non-alcoholic drink designed to look like whisky. The color is the same and it's bottled in bottles that look like authentic whisky bottles. Claytons was marketed as "The drink you have when you're not having a drink."

So in the southern hemisphere, anything called "a Claytons" is not the real McCoy.

The Romance Writers of Australia recently held their annual conference, and those of us who couldn't get to Melbourne held our own Claytons Conference online. It mirrored the genuine conference right down to contests, prizes and cyber bubbles. (Last year a group of Cinderellas had a Claytons Conference too, and those who stayed in touch afterwards formed a group called the Basefook Fiends. Well, it's a nice change from the endless Facebook "friends," isn't it? Our intrepid leader is Tonia Marlowe. Look her up. You'll be impressed).

This year we devised text for cartoons, wrote 100 word stories (most of which were unpublishable not because of their standard but because of their ribaldry and improbability but by God, they were great), chatted online with bemused overseas authors and editors unused to Aussie humor, and generally had a great three days. Out of it all came inspiration for a few, perspiration for most, and exasperation for those with fingers not fast enough to nail the chatroom speed. Heck, I thought I was a fast typist. Forget that idea. I got left behind in the rush. One young woman who just had TWINS for heaven's sake, won nearly every prize going in between dashes to the bathroom. Talk about on a roll.

So for writing groups everywhere, if you can't make the nationals, think about having an online Claytons group of your own. All it needs is a bunch of enthusiastic people with no need for sleep, some writing talent and a wish to hone their craft under pressure. Enjoy!