I wish I had better photos of the speakers at the conference. I'm still getting used to my tiny new camera which requires a very steady hand compared to the bigger, heavier types I'm used to.
Anita Burgh, right, gave a very thorough talk on how to woo agents and publishers purely through the way you approach them with your submission.
Unhappily my pictures of the M&B girls Jenny Hutton and Meg Lewis did not come out well even though they were both so young and attractive. They told us they want diversity and variety, that too many people were sending in submissions using the same old basic plots. They advised "listening" to our characters and discovering new twists on conventions and conflicts.
Internal conflict should be the main focus of the story. It took me a long time to understand what M&B meant by IC; now I understand it to be the opposing forces within each character, whereas
misunderstandings, for example, are external conflict. An internal conflict might be fear of rejection opposed to a need for security, for example. The emotional repercussions of a traumatic past are what the reader wants - not descriptions of the traumatic past itself.
Make your stories work on a character driven basis. Start with the character, chart their journey, mark their growth and change, stay with the character rather than the plot.