Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Romantic Novelists' Conference 2015 and Showing not Telling

It seems hard for me to believe that the RNA Conference was just over a week ago. As always. it was superb even though I feel I attended only half of the conference due to a 'bug' that would not leave (still have it). So many things at the conference recharge my writing batteries...being with other writers always tops the list along with whatever session fellow Heroine Addict, Julie Cohen teaches. These did not let me down.

But there were a few surprises...the biggest one was the Show Not Tell taught by Sue Moorcroft and Heroine Addict, Christina Courtenay. This is something that is always at the forefront of my mind as I tackle my first round of edits but not normally until then. Like Julie I tend to write a sh*tty first draft for me that is full of short cuts just to get the story down. This will include much of she felt like this - knowing I will head back in and 'show' in the next draft. Because to be honest when that burst of writing is upon me stopping to think how I can show she is frightened, nervous etc means I can loose the flow.

This wonderful workshop was a brilliant reminder of how much fun it is to show and not I hear you ask? We played dressing up. Christina brought part of her beautiful collection of Japanese clothing... It's been a long time since I played in a dressing up box or wore a costume for Halloween. When I put on the kimono I transformed in so many ways...and then PING. Something I hadn't thought about in the book I'm writing at the moment...when my character puts on her Wrens' uniform for the first time....what did she feel? How did it alter how she carried herself, thought about herself? Did 'the world' look at her differently or did she just feel this way?

Many times as writers we immerse ourselves in our characters and don't stop and think about it. It's part of the job. It was brilliant to step out of my world and put on someone else's clothes and to 'feel' the difference. Hopefully this will refresh my writing and certainly my sense of fun!

Thursday, July 2, 2015

In a Blue Mood...

For those of you who don’t already know, I broke my ankle back in February. Short version of a long story is, I fractured a bone at the back of my ankle and messed up a tendon and damaged my midfoot in what’s called a Lisfranc injury, and having spent the past several months wearing Darth Vader’s leg armour and hopping on crutches without getting better, I’m scheduled for surgery now in a couple of weeks.

Which is fine—I like getting things fixed. But my surgery date is July 23, meaning I had to cancel my plans for the Romance Writers of America’s big national conference in New York City, which was a huge disappointment.

Not only because I was looking forward to sharing New York City with my Elder Kid (who’ll now be touring all the sights without me), or because I was looking forward to co-presenting my first RWA workshop with my friends Julie James, Lauren Willig, and Sherry Thomas (on the merits of being a slow writer—luckily Meredith Duran was able to step in to take my spot), or because I was just looking forward to Nationals themselves—the crazy awesomeness of the Literacy Signing, the wealth of workshops, the joy of connecting with old friends and new ones…but because I was REALLY looking forward to the Bluestockings Dinner.

The Bluestockings Dinner is a new tradition at the Nationals, created by my good friend Rachel Hollis, who in addition to running her own successful lifestyle site, The Chic, writes incredibly funny, romantic, and bestselling books. A former celebrity party planner, Rachel knows how to make any event special, and with the Bluestockings Dinner she’s sort of created a modern Salon—a gathering of women writers, intimate and small, where conversation is the key, and over drinks and dinner writers with a range of different sub-genres and styles share their ideas and experiences.

This was what our dinner looked like last year, in San Antonio, where the guests, apart from myself, Rachel, and her right-hand-woman Eryn, were Jennifer L. Armentrout, Laura Kaye, Molly O’Keefe, Jennifer Probst, Nalini Singh, and Sherry Thomas.
So you’ll understand why having to turn down my invitation this year made me literally weep.

I know whoever takes my seat will have a dinner to remember. And that’s got me thinking, now, and wondering…

We’re often asked which long-dead authors or great characters from history we’d invite to dinner, if we could.

But if you had to choose a group of LIVING authors for an evening of fine wine, great food, and sparkling conversation, who would YOU invite?

If I chose from women writers whom I’ve never met or barely know, my invitations might go out to Catherine Gaskin, Evelyn Anthony, Rosamunde Pilcher, Susan Isaacs, Mary Jo Putney, Kate Forsyth, and Donna Thorland (which, with me included, makes an even eight).

What about you?