Welcome to my wrap up of my first day at YALC!

So, my friend and I arrived at YALC fairly promptly at around quarter past nine, after under 20 minutes of queuing, which was a relief as we’d been worrying about the queues, but it was all relatively pain-free and simply gave us time to admire some of the great cosplay going on for Comic Con and YALC.

Once we arrived inside, we immediately went to the welcome desk and picked up our free YALC goodie bag which consisted of an awesome tote bag, the schedule, a pen and a few samplers. We then headed straight over to the freebies table where we picked up all manner of bookish goodies, including badges, postcards, samplers, wristbands and bookmarks. We were super excited by all of these goodies, as we weren’t expecting them at all and meant we could add loads of new books to our TBR lists.

We then had a little look around the various stalls, admiring all the piles of books and creative displays set up before adding our bucket list post it note to the All the Bright Places display board.bucket list 2 yalcThen we sat down in a quiet corner and sorted out our plan for the day – we had a lot of things we wanted to do. First off we went to the YA: The next generation panel, which was really inspiring and interesting. I couldn’t believe one of the published authors was only 15! I particularly enjoyed hearing about each of their different routes to publishing and how they felt being a young author both positively and negatively impacted their career. After this I quickly popped to get my copy of Solitaire signed by Alice Oseman and my copy of The Bone Season signed by Samantha Shannon, before quickly rushing off to the Getting Started with Creative Writing Workshop which was really useful. It mainly talked about getting ideas flowing, before Paul Magrs and Julia Bell shared their top tips. Two different ways to start thinking of ideas that they shared with us was to think about the senses for abstract nouns, for example what fear smells like or love tastes like to your character, which is a really good way to get to know your character and also thinking of the first answer that comes to your head when finishing sentences such as someone says one sentence which changes your life, who are they and what did they say. These activities were super quick, but good fun and useful to remember in future.

After the workshop we went to the Being a girl: Feminism in YA panel, which was my most eagerly anticipated panel as I am a firm and keen feminist and was really interested to see what these authors had to say about feminism in relation to YA novels. This panel did not disappoint, the women were witty, smart and engaging. If you want a more in-depth look at either of these panels I suggest you check out Rants of a Bitter Northerner where the entire panel has been recapped here.

After this panel, we had no great plans, so after pausing to have something to eat, we wondered around the stalls once again and picked up even more freebies and my friend bought a couple of books.

Then, approximately half an hour before Patrick Ness was due to start signing, we decided to join the queue as we knew we wanted our books signed by him. Unfortunately we ended up waiting for over an hour and a half, due to his panel overrunning and him being unable to get back upstairs. Luckily the staff were really helpful and kept us updated so we knew what was happening, as well as very generously offering three girls in front of us who had a train to catch the opportunity to move to the front of the line, so they could still get their books signed after waiting so long. I would like to send a particular thank you to the people who managed that queue – they did it fantastically.

So that is all for my first day. It was really fun and I especially liked the Feminism panel and the clear love of books that was radiating from everyone there.

Keep an eye out for the Sunday wrap up post and my YALC haul coming soon!