Riding the Waves Conference Spotlight ~ Annie West

Welcome to a conference spotlight

from the

Riding the Waves conference!

Today we have Annie West who will be presenting the workshop CASTING OFF ~ Getting Your First Chapter Off The Ground.



Annie West has devoted her life to an intensive study of tall, dark, charismatic heroes who cause the best kind of trouble in the lives of their heroines. As a sideline she’s also researched dream-worthy locations for romance, from bustling, vibrant cities to desert encampments and fairytale castles. It’s hard work but she loves a challenge. Annie writes for Mills & Boon Sexy/Presents/Modern. She’s a USA Today bestselling author and winner of several romance writing awards including a Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award in 2012. She’s a long term member of Romance Writers of Australia.

What prompted you to put together this workshop for “Riding The Waves”?

I love starting a new romance. The beginning is one of my favourite parts, when I get a rush of enthusiasm for a delicious new story (whether I’m reading it or writing). I’ve been a reader judge of RWA’s Opening Chapter and High 5  Contests and have seen lots of other writers struggle with issues I’ve had to deal with in my first chapters. At the last RWA conference I realised how much I enjoy the practical, hands on craft sessions and that inspired me to put together this workshop which aims to cover some of those perennial opening chapter issues.


What will participants take away from this session? (OR what is the key outcome or take-home message?)

Participants will take home practical ideas on how to make their opening chapter grab the reader so they want to read on. We’ll examine some key problem areas, how to identify them and what to do about them. After completing the exercises in the session, participants should have the confidence and skills to revisit their manuscript and make the opening shine.


Will there be hands-on exercises or audience participation?

Absolutely. I’m hoping for lots of audience participation. There will discussions as well as short exercises for participants and I’m looking forward to hearing what people come up with. But, don’t fret if you’re shy about reading out your work in front of others. Participants will be encouraged to share (yes, it is possible chocolate may be involved) but those who prefer not to read publicly won’t have to.

Which members will benefit most from this session?

Beginner writers or those who know they have problems crafting their opening chapter.


Any advice for conference first-timers?

Don’t be shy about walking up to other conference goers and introducing yourself. The RWA conference is a great place to network, learn, and make friends with people who have a similar passion to you. Make the most of it, even if you’re shy. We’ve all been first-timers. Romance writers are some of the friendliest people I know and we all love meeting other readers and writers.


9781743068632-0313 SX CaptiveSpotlightWhat is your latest/current/upcoming book release and where can members find out more about you?

My latest book is ‘Captive in the Spotlight’ – Mills and Boon Sexy released March 2013.

For more information about me or my books, just stop by my website at www.annie-west.com




Thank you, Annie!

Our next conference spotlight will be featured Tuesday 9th April.

Leave a comment


  1. Annie, what a great idea for a workshop! This sounds fab!

  2. Glad you think so, Anna. I’ve had fun recently preparing some of the exercises for the group. I do love tinkering with openings!

  3. I’m looking forward to the workshop Annie. I got tingles reading your post. I’m always wanting to change my opening chapters, even two years after the book is finished.

  4. Hi Dora. I’m looking forward to it too. There’s something about openings that’s such fun, even when it’s hard work. Wouldn’t it be great to be able to write them and get them right the first time?

  5. I so enjoy starting a brand-new book, Annie! Sounds like a really useful workshop, and I wish I could be there.

    • Vanessa, I’m glad you like the sound of it. Wish you could be there too. I’m so looking forward to my first trip to WA!

  6. Yay, Annie!! Looking forward to having you here in the West. Great idea for a workshop. I’ve got a big tick next to yours and will be there with my pen and paper ready. I’m a BIG fan of yours and will beg forgiveness in advance for my pending fan girl moments in class 😀

  7. Juanita – fan girl moments I can cope with – honest! Here at home I’m just part of the furniture. Seriously, it will be great catching up with you. I’m glad you like the idea for the workshop. It all came together so naturally I’m hoping that means it was meant to be. We’ll see in August! I love getting together with other writers to discuss craft stuff.


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