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5 writing tips we learned at our May meet up

Just in case you missed our tweets, Insta stories, Facebook updates or circus troupe holding banners, we have just celebrated our first birthday.

Rosy Edwards and Amy Baker celebrate The Riff Raff's 1st birthday

(The circus troupe was a joke, but only because we didn't have the budget).

Our anniversary meant that our May meet up was always going to be special: we had balloons and cake and everything. And if a birthday wasn’t enough, we recorded the whole event to put it out on the mighty Riff Raff Podcast. We’ll be bringing it to your ears very soon, but check out our 31 previous episodes in the meantime.

But, as always, it was our authors that truly made the night. We struck gold with our May line up: we had everything from non-fiction to London lingo, stricken observers to haunted parents and a book that tells its own story.

It would be quicker to tell you what we didn’t learn, but here are the five top takeaways.

Smell your setting

Zelda Rhiando kicked off the night, reading from her book Fukushima Dreams. The story is set in Japan in the aftermath of the 2011 tsunami and we were soon discussing the importance of knowing your setting. Zelda spent a long stretch in Fukushima to research; could she have written the book without going?

No way, came the unequivocal answer. Zelda told us that writers need to see the sights, smell the smells and hear the sounds of their book's location to truly understand where you writing about; it's just as important as ‘what’.