A Writer’s Life: Plotting, with Helen Bianchin

This fabulous (italics mine because I think it’s fabulous – Ed.) article first appeared in the September 2016 edition of Hearts Talk, the journal of the Romance Writers of Australia.  For more info on the column, and on RWA membership, see the end of this post!  But for now, over to Helen…

helen-bianchin-portrait

Plotting with Helen Bianchin

I spent the first year of my writing career convinced a book had to be written from page one through to the end. I stalled so many times, eventually threw my hands in the air, muttered something pithy in Italian, then vowed out loud: where does it say there’s a rule a book has to be written consecutively from start to finish?

Remember, in the early 1970s, there were few ‘how-to write’ books around, and the only other M&B authors I knew were Essie Summers and Gloria Bevan. That was until one day Robyn Donald and her husband were in Auckland, discovered there was only one Bianchin in the phonebook and rang me. They visited that very day, and a friendship was forged, which has lasted until the present. Not long after that, Daphne Clair began her Ring o’ Roses newsletter and there was contact!

I tried the pantser route way back when, and ended up with sentences, paragraphs, pages all over the place. Soon I discovered it was a method that didn’t work for me.

What did work was to choose a premise (or it would choose me) and I’d make notes, choose names, setting, get it all handwritten into a notebook, think about it (including procrastination), compose a supposedly perfect scene on the edge of sleep, positive I’d remember it in glorious detail on waking the next morning. Yes, well, we know how that goes…

Through trial and error, I discovered I think in scenes—usually out of sequence. I have to say curling up in a comfy chair with pen and notepad works. The ideas happen and I scribble them down. Then I key them into the computer while the ideas are fresh and there’s hope I can decipher my scribble—or at least get the gist of it, editing as I go along, expanding, enhancing, numbering each draft scene before printing it out. It’s a weird method, and you wouldn’t believe how many times I vow to discard it and write in a professional manner (whatever that is!)

However, I have tried other methods. I know Joy Dingwell used to hand-write on the right side of a lined notebook—mainly all dialogue—then she’d go back and handwrite on the left side of the lined notebook the emotional bits, the scenery, etc. and balloon each bit into where it should fit. When the handwritten notebook was complete, she’d edit, add, then type it all out on an old typewriter in what passed for MS format at that time.

I know of authors who have adapted a similar methodology with handwriting on the right side of a lined notebook (or unlined) and use different-coloured sticky-pad sheets containing handwritten emotion, scenery etc, high and low points, and stick them onto the left side of the notebook. At least with the latter, the sticky-pad sheets can be easily moved and switched around. When the current long-languishing MS is finally finished, I think I’ll give this method a try.

Others use a whiteboard—I think if I tried that, I’d end up erasing something deep and meaningful to be lost forevermore.

Then there’s Scrivener. Some authors swear by it. Others try it and decide it’s not for them. I bought the program with the intention of trialling it when the long-languishing MS finally travels through the ether to London. I even upgraded to the latest version. I’ll let you know how I go (just don’t hold your breath!).

I must admit I witness the published output of varying authors and wonder if they sleep. Writing must occupy every waking minute of their lives…or they have glorious brainpower whereby they key in the right words with the speed of light.

In conclusion, there is no right way. There’s only your way. Even so experimenting with different ways may work really well.

– Helen Bianchin

 

A long-time bestseller for Harlequin Mills & Boon, Helen Bianchin’s books are sold in 26 languages in more than 109 countries. Helen is much beloved in the romance writing community, and was RWA’s first-ever Hall of Fame author. She’s always been a huge supporter of new writers as well as established authors and still participates on the RWA email loops.

Anne Gracie’s A Writer’s Life is a regular column featured in Romance Writers of Australia’s monthly journal, Hearts Talk. Packed full of articles on craft, the publishing industry and interviews with romance authors, Hearts Talk is a valued and much-loved benefit to your RWA membership. If you’re not already an RWA member, join up here [http://www.romanceaustralia.com/p/99/Join-RWA].

 

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A Writer’s Life: Social Media, self-doubt and creativity.

Anne Gracie’s A Writer’s Life is a regular column featured in Romance Writers of Australia’s monthly journal, Hearts Talk.  This peek into DB Tait‘s writing life first appeared in the October 2016 edition.  Packed full of articles on craft, the publishing industry and interviews with romance authors, Hearts Talk is a valued and much-loved benefit to your RWA membership. If you’re not already an RWA member, join up here [http://www.romanceaustralia.com/p/99/Join-RWA]. 

db-tait

Social media, self-doubt and creativity

Back in 2004 when I started writing seriously, the internet was a great source of information about the craft of writing and a whole range of other writing-related issues. I started out not particularly wanting to write in romance as a genre, just wanting to write something. But I noticed that everything I wrote had a romance in it or a romantic theme. So I googled, found the Romance Writers of Australia, joined and found a great community of like-minded writers.

I learned a lot. Some things were invaluable, like point of view and avoiding head-hopping, and others were not so useful, like never use the word ‘was’ because this indicates passive writing (it doesn’t). I found out about the business, about editors and agents, and went to conferences. My work then was either erotica or erotic romance and I was published by some erotic lines in the US. Then I stopped writing. Or rather, I was still writing but unhappy with it because I listened to what was being said in the romance and erotic romance world and believed my writing wasn’t marketable (it probably was). Life also intervened with some personal challenges that took me away from writing. I also got a little (okay, a lot) bored with sex.

I knew I had to go back to my first love which was crime writing. But I couldn’t let romance go because I just naturally write stories where people meet and are drawn to each other. So I recreated myself as a romantic suspense writer, or as I prefer, a mystery writer with romantic elements (which is a bit of a mouthful).

I think my involvement with Facebook and other social media increased when I decided to get back to writing seriously. And then a curious thing happened. I started doubting myself again. Doubting myself is a chronic condition with me but I found social media made it worse. I saw other people discuss their work, including their work output, and knew I would never be able to achieve what they did. I saw people win dubious prizes and brag about their position on Amazon and wondered if I should be involved in that. Sometimes I did and then didn’t like myself. Other people marketed their work ferociously, which irritated me but also made me again wonder if I shouldn’t be doing that too.

I do like Facebook. I use it as a watercooler where I can chat with my friends. But I think it increases my anxiety and my sense of lack of achievement.  I start looking at my writing through the lens of Facebook not through the lens of my own creativity.

I am cursed (as are a lot of writers) with a vicious, troll-like internal editor who delights in subversion. I find social media feeds this troll and makes me doubt a lot about what I want to write and how I should or shouldn’t market it. The result is a terrible sense of immobility, a kind of ‘what’s the point’ attitude, which is so far from the sense of joy I had when I first started writing.

So what’s the solution? The first realisation I had is to understand I don’t have the personality to make Facebook or other social media part of my ‘brand’. I’m okay with chatting about the weather and world events, but once I start to think of myself as a brand and have to market my writing, I fall into a kind of existential despair. Other people thrive on creating a brand for themselves. I envy them on some level. I hate it.

The second realisation I had is to truly, at a deep level, write what I want to write. Yes, it’s important to pay attention to the market, but if the market doesn’t sing to you, don’t write for it. For me that means I’m at the romantic elements part of the genre.

My third realisation is to experiment. Never get so caught up in how one should write and what conventions one must follow that writing become a chore and a by-the-numbers dreary task.  I know that’s easy for me to say because writing is not my living (yet!) but I have left jobs when they become soul-destroying.

So, you may be seeing a lot less of me on social media. I’ll still be marketing my writing wares in my usual slapdash way and spending time around the watercooler, but increasingly I’ll be saying goodbye to anything that increases my self-doubt. I encourage you to look at what creates self-doubt in your life and get rid of it. We owe it to ourselves and to the fabulous stories we create.

– DB Tait http://dbtait.com/.

DB Tait has written in a variety of subgenres, including erotica, and now writes crime fiction with romantic elements. A longtime member of RWA, she has recently rejoined the RWA committee after many years of service in the past. Her next publication is Festive Deception, a Christmas novella out this month.

festive-deception

Anne Gracie’s A Writer’s Life is a regular column featured in Romance Writers of Australia’s monthly journal, Hearts Talk. Packed full of articles on craft, the publishing industry and interviews with romance authors, Hearts Talk is a valued and much-loved benefit to your RWA membership. If you’re not already an RWA member, join up here [http://www.romanceaustralia.com/p/99/Join-RWA].

A Writer’s Life: Ditching Perfection

Today we are starting a new feature on the RWA blog, where we interview our members about their writing lives.   Today’s guest is Anna Hackett.  This column first appeared in this month’s Hearts Talk, the RWA newsletter.  So if you are a member, don’t forget to read it.  And if you aren’t, you might want to join, now that you’ve seen what you’re missing out on!

Anna-Hackett2-208x300When I started writing this article, I tried to think about the things I’d like to go back and tell my younger writer self. Little pearls of wisdom I wish I’d known when I first started writing. The list got a little long…and many of those things I think I just needed to experience and grow through as part of my journey as a writer.

But one thing stood out.

There is one thing that made a big difference in my writing career and it is the one thing I wish I could have realized sooner.

That thing: ditching the pursuit of perfection.

Now, many of us are conditioned to think we need to achieve perfection in our lives (especially women!) We think we need the perfect house, kept in the perfect condition, with our perfectly behaved kids, our loving, perfect marriage, our perfect, successful career and we have to look perfect while we’re doing all of that! We feel the need to be superwoman and have it all.

There’s a quote by Salvador Dali — Have no fear of perfection. You’ll never reach it. He’s right. Deep down, we all know it.

As writers, we can fall into the trap of needing our writing to be “perfect.” It’s easy to do. When that story idea bursts inside our head, it seems flawless. It’s exciting, thrilling, gut-wrenching. It’s the best story idea ever! Then once we start putting the words to the blank page…well, the story never seems to come out as perfectly as what we had in our head. That’s when the pursuit of perfection becomes harmful. The doubts, the dreaded inner editor, all start whispering (or shouting) at us and suddenly we’re avoiding doing the writing, we’re agonizing over it, we’re procrastinating.

If we do manage to get the draft done, then that pursuit of perfection can have us endlessly editing and polishing—over and over—and we’re never quite finished. But it doesn’t stop there. The elusive pursuit of perfect can mean we never let our story out into the world. We worry it isn’t good enough, that we’ll receive criticism, rejections from agents and publishers, bad reviews from readers and reviewers, no sales. It can paralyze us from doing that thing we’re supposed to do—tell and share the stories inside us.

I don’t remember when I finally decided to give perfection a boot to the face, but it was the best thing I ever did. Suddenly, I was focused on just getting words out—any words, they didn’t have to be perfect or even good ones. Then I focused on editing until the story was done (not perfect!) Then I sent those stories out there as they were, for better or worse.

I’m not saying we shouldn’t keep learning, honing our craft, and improving. We should also always listen to trusted, constructive criticism that helps us become better writers. But if you keep waiting for your stories to be perfect, you’re letting good, great, wonderful, and pretty darn awesome stories get away.

If you’re waiting until your story is so amazing, so perfect that everyone will love it, no one will criticize it, and it’ll never get a bad comment…you’ll never begin, let alone finish.

So, don’t let your good, great and amazing pass you by.

Ditch perfection and begin.

– Anna Hackett [http://annahackettbooks.com]

Western Australian writer Anna Hackett is a mining engineer, a mother of two young sons, and a USA Today bestseller. She writes fast-paced action/adventure/sci-fi/romance. She’s published with Harlequin and Carina Press and now she’s self-publishing and writing up a storm.

 

Anne Gracie’s A Writer’s Life is a regular column featured in Romance Writers of Australia’s monthly journal, Hearts Talk. Packed full of articles on craft, the publishing industry and interviews with romance authors, Hearts Talk is a valued and much-loved benefit to your RWA membership. If you’re not already an RWA member, join up here [http://www.romanceaustralia.com/p/99/Join-RWA].

The Australian Romance Readers Conference

This past weekend in Canberra was my first attendance at ARRA’s biennial conference. I was starry-eyed with the joy of being amidst romance readers and writers – ALMOST as starry-eyed as I was attending my first RWA conference in Sydney last August! Congratulations to all the winners, including Kylie Scott who was voted Australia’s favourite romance author. Click here for the complete list of winners.

Event highlights for me included:

  • Listening to the keynote addresses by Helene Young, Victoria Dahl, Sylivia Day and Kerry Armstrong.
  • Attending all the historical romance panels featuring Anne Gracie, Anna Campbell, Christina Brooke, Beverley Eikli, Ann Stuart, Suzi Love and Alyssa James (I confess to an ongoing love affair with all romances historical, but the panels on contemporary romance and rural romance were just as amazing).
  • Viewing the beautiful dresses and bling on display as the Roaring Twenties took over the Awards dinner (as well as those paraded earlier in the day).
  • Discovering and meeting new authors including the opportunity to spend the Gala Awards dinner in the company of Jennie Jones, Alissa Callen and Alison Butler.
  • Catching up with RWA member Eleni Konstantine who held the fort at the RWA stand with grace all weekend, with help from fellow committee members Diane Curran, Leisl Leighton and Imelda Evans.
  • Witnessing the generosity of RWA members including Nikki Logan (who sponsored the real coffee kiosk) and Imogene Nix (who sponsored the Romantic Suspense Award).
  • Hearing Tony Nash, CEO of Booktopia, say that they three sold three million books last year, of which 400,00 were romance titles. Doesn’t that make your heart sing?

However, the play of the weekend goes to Rachael Johns. At the awards dinner, Janette Radevski stabbed the chocolate biscuit casing of her desert with her fork, only to watch in horror as it flew up and off her plate at great speed. No worries if your dining companions include Rachael. She shot out a hand, caught the pudding deftly and placed it gently back down on Janette’s plate. Where, oh where, is a video camera when you need one?! It would seem the winning awards (Sexiest Hero) and saving deserts are all in a night’s work for this multi-tasker 🙂

Photo Gallery

Fashion Parade

Panellistsgala dinner

RWA stand and Nikki Logan coffee kiosk

Get Fresh in ’15 Presents…

Session Spotlight: Not Another Sex Scene

This session will run on Saturday 22nd of August at 2:00PM as part of the Emerging/Established Stream.

Like any other scene a sex scene must serve the story, contain elements of conflict and enhance our understanding of character. This workshop offers a range of approaches to help make it easier to write fabulous sex scenes and expand your repertoire of writing skills.

Your Presenters – Anne Gracie and Kelly Hunter

1annePicMed-2

Anne Gracie:

Anne Gracie started writing her first story while backpacking solo around the world. Hooked on historicals from an early age by reading the novels of Georgette Heyer, she now writes full-time. Published by Berkley USA and Penguin Australia, Anne is a nationally bestselling author in the USA, a five-time RITA finalist and twice winner of the R*BY. Her books have been translated into more than sixteen languages, and include Japanese manga editions, which she thinks is very cool. She is a former president and lifetime member of RWA.

Kelly Hunter Headshot small

Kelly Hunter:

Accidentally educated in the sciences, Kelly Hunter didn’t think to start writing romances until she was surrounded by the jungles of Malaysia for a year and didn’t have anything to read. Eventually she decided that writing romance suited her far better than throwing sterile screw-worm flies out of airplane windows, and changed careers. Kelly is a USA Today bestselling author, a three-time Romance Writers of America RITA finalist, won a R*BY this year and loves writing to the short contemporary romance form. Publishers Weekly lists one of her novellas in their Top 20 books of 2014.

Tell us about yourself in 10 words or less.

Kelly Hunter: Romance writer, mother of boys, cows optional, laughter essential.

Anne Gracie: Reader. Writer. Procrastinator. Messy. Frivolous. Dreamer.

What prompted you to put together this workshop for Get Fresh in 15 conference? 

We gave a similar workshop in 2011 at the Romance writers of America conference and had a lot of fun with it. And since collectively we’ve written another 40 or so sex scenes since then, and the urge to knit instead has not lessened, we figured we’d revisit the topic. More dread! More tips and trickery when it comes to getting on with it.

What is the best part/aspect of conference for you (Kelly)?

I love catching up with people I see only once a year but am often in contact with online. There’s writing craft to learn, industry news to collect, celebration of achievements and so many get-together opportunities. I’m not hugely gregarious, but come conference time I make an exception.

What will participants take away from this session?

We discuss ways to approach writing sex scenes so that no matter how many you might write in a month/year/decade they stay fresh, compelling and relevant to the story you’re telling.

Will there be hands-on exercises or audience participation?

Yes. The mind boggles. Though we’ll not be asking you to write a sex scene during the session.  Or acting one out. Probably.

What is your latest/current/upcoming book release and where can members find out more about you?

Kelly: I’ve a Harlequin Sexy story coming out in April called The Spy Who Tamed Me. Jared West has finally come home – body bruised and soul weary but never defeated. And then he meets the woman sent to break him. Good times.

Anne: My most recent book, The Spring Bride, is out in June 2015.  Beautiful Jane Chance is set on a safe, sensible marriage, until she meets the ugliest dog in London and a rogue who, though devastatingly attractive, is all kinds of unsuitable. I also have a Christmas novella coming out in an anthology in December with Mary Jo Putney and others. More info can be found on my website: www.annegracie.com

Social media links – Anne Gracie

Blog/website: http://www.annegracie.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/1annegracie

Twitter:  @annegracie

Social media links – Kelly Hunter

Blog/website: http://www.kellyhunter.co

Facebook https: http://www.facebook.com/kelly.hunter.73307:

Twitter: @kellyhunterova

Event Announcements

Do you have an event or workshop you’d like to share? Email your event news to cruisin@romanceaustralia.com

In Person Events

  • Anne Gracie – Ripponlea Writing Workshop (Melbourne)ripponlea

On Saturday, 13 September, Anne Gracie is conducting a writing workshop for the National Trust, as part of the wonderful Love, Desire and Riches exhibition in the beautiful historic house of Ripponlea, in Elsternwick, in Melbourne. 10 am – 12.30
For further details and bookings go here.
http://www.trybooking.com/Booking/BookingEventSummary.aspx?eid=88770&bof=1

  • Western Australia Tour
    Fiona Palmer and Rachael Johns are having a RuRo tour through WA in September. You can find details and dates at
  • Romancing the Pagebeing_jade_COVER_HI_res small

    Contrary to popular belief, a good romance is not as simple as falling in love. Writing good quality romance requires creativity, innovation, skill and well-formed characters embroiled in believable conflict.
    Explore the diversity of the genre, get tips on convincing emotional connection and sex scenes, discover what readers and publishers want, develop a winning story synopsis and killer pitch, and learn about the earning opportunities the romance genre offers.
    For beginners, early & emerging writers.

    When: Saturdays 13, 30 and 27 September, 10am–1pm
    Where: Writers Victoria, 176 Little Lonsdale St, Melbourne
    Tutor: Kate Belle (author The Yearning & Being Jade)

    For more information and bookings: http://writersvictoria.org.au/what-s-on/event/romancing-the-page/

    To send an Event for inclusion in RWA’s Hearts Talk monthly magazine, contact Kate at: htevents@romanceaustralia.com

 Australian Writer’s Centre

The Australian Writer’s Centre offers a range of Writing Courses as well as informative Podcasts:

  • Podcast: Episode 24 – So You Want to be a WriterIn Episode 24, Valerie and Allison discuss how to contact your fave author, how to find time to write, and what it means to “show don’t tell”. They also try out an app to find names for your characters and blogging sensation Nikki Parkinson’s launches her new book, Unlock Your Style!

You can listen to the podcast here or find it on iTunes here. If you don’t use iTunes you can get the feed here.

  • Courses starting soon

You’ll find a course starting soon to suit your writing goals:

Creative Writing Stage 1 (Online)

Your online course starts:

Monday 18 August 2014

Stories, ideas, fiction… where will your imagination take you? Book now
Advanced Fiction Writing Techniques (Online)

Your online course is on:

Monday 18 August 2014

Let your creativity soar! Book now
Blogging for Beginners (Sydney)

Your course is on:

Tuesday 26 August 2014

Because if you’re going to do it, do it right… Book now

The Great Aussie Book Prize

The inaugural Great Aussie Book Prize is being run by Barnardos Australia and as well as supporting children in need, also dangles one mighty fine carrot for novelists. In their words, they’re looking for “inspiring true-life stories from everyday Australians”, with the winner receiving agency representation from Australia’s most renowned literary agent Selwa Anthony, and print, ebook and audio book contracts from a well-known Australian publisher. A great prize! Submissions close 31 August, so check out their website for more details.

Online Events

RWA is looking to offer our members a series of online writers’ workshops in the second half of 2014 through its new Online Workshop List (OWL). OWL events will be hosted, facilitated and promoted by RWA on a 75:25 profit-share arrangement with the presenter (the greater amount being the presenter’s). We would like to invite interested RWA members and non-RWA members to apply to conduct a workshop online through RWA in the inaugural OWL calendar. Please download the proposal form http://www.romanceaustralia.com/p/89/OWLs, complete by May 1 2014 and email to owl@romanceaustralia.com

Classes are run from Margie Lawson’s website using on-line teaching software used by universities. Take a cyber tour before you start your class and introduce yourself.

Affordable forum-style writing classes

A double Golden Heart finalist in 2006, Julie Rowe has been writing for over ten years. Julie  teaches a variety of workshops and is the moderator of the Announce Online Classes email loop, which promotes online classes for writers. To subscribe to the Announce online Classes email loop, send an email to: Announceonlinewritingclasses-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

Cruisin’ with RWA

Welcome back for another edition of Cruisin with RWA. More good news and great blogs for you again this week.

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Cruisin’ the News

We love celebrating success. Our members are encouraged to send in their New Release news for publishing in Hearts Talk and the New Releases blog. Don’t miss the deadline! Send in your new releases by the 8th of every month to:

blogmistress@romanceaustralia.com

newreleases@romanceaustralia.com

htgoodnews@romanceaustralia.com

Of course, the Cruisin’ Crew don’t want to miss out on the celebrations, so drop Clint and Enrico an email with your blogs, new contract, first sale, new cover or release news at cruisin@romanceaustralia.com. Don’t forget to come back on Sunday for a list of exciting writing-related events delivered by our members.

Good News

Coleen is thrilled to announce the October 14 release of BAITING THE BOSS from Entangled Publishing

October 19-20Anne Gracie is teaching  a weekend of craft-of-writing in Innisfail, Far North Queensland, sponsored by 20th Licuala WINQ. Cost for the two days is $90. If you’re interested in attending, contact Jacque Duffy through this FB page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Licuala-WINQ-Writers-in-NQ/113447738690506

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Cruisin’ Member Blogs

Clint fueled up the limo and went cruisin’ the Blogging Highway for great blogs to keep you entertained. Are you an RWA Member? Share a link and a short blurb here each week by emailing the details to us at: cruisin@romanceaustralia.com.

October 20 – A little different this week. How to tell when you’re missing someone. Think it’s self-explanatory? How many of these signs would you have named?

Passionate about Christmas tradition? Then Friday Feast is the place to be. Australian Kate Belle, author of the brilliantly dark and sensual novel The Yearning, discusses her love for a beloved hand-me-down recipe, one that ‘brims with mysterious back story, has great depth of character and a compelling and involved plot that leads to a profoundly satisfying climax.’ Passion indeed!

October 10 – MAGIC THURSDAY – Jenny Schwartz on reviewing.

October 12 – DARKLIGHT ON… Maggie Mundy

October 15 – GOOD NEWS DAY with Kylie Griffin

October 17 – MAGIC THURSDAY with Astrid Cooper

October 16 – Writerly Wednesday

Erin hosted A Glimpse into the World of children’s author and ex surfing journalist DC Green

October 17 – This Week’s Book Choice: Charlene Wilson THE TRANSFORMATION OF ANNA

October 22 – DARK SIDE DOWNUNDER SERIES: Peta Crake – come meet our Aussie & New Zealander Dark Siders!

October 26 – CAT-URDAY! – Crazy Cats – Anyone who knows cats will relate to these…

October 13 – SARA News with Emmeline Lock

October 16 – READING ADVENTURES compiled by Eleni Konstantine

October 13 – Spotlight on Writers with Carly Drake

posted a small excerpt from HEAVENLY REVENGE

Enrico’s Pick Six

Submit your blog site link to cruisin@romanceaustralia.com to share with our readers. Enrico hand picks six blogs to showcase every week.

Enrico’s Pick Six this week:

  1. Monique Wood
  2. The Pink Heart Society
  3. Whitney K-E
  4. Tima Maria
  5. Dark Side Down Under
  6. The Ecstasy Files

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RWA Competitions

Selling Synopsis 2014

Opens: 1 November 2013
Closes: 22 November 2013, midnight Sydney time
 (entries sent outside these dates cannot be accepted)

Enter – via email only
Short manuscript (10K to 65K): maximum 2 pages single spaced
Long manuscript (65K and over): maximum 3 pages single spaced
Check the formatting guidelines on the entry form

Entry fee – per entry
$22 (entries within Australia. GST incl.)
$20 (entries outside Australia)

Two entries per member are permitted. RWAustralia members only.

Final judge – Joel Naoum, Publisher, Momentum, Pan Macmillan Australia

Prizes – 1st – $200, 2nd – $100 , 3rd – $ 75 (plus certificates)

Entry form/conditions
Sample scoresheet
Formatting sample

Queries – Selling Synopsis Contest Manager, Leisl Leighton sellingsynopsis@gmail.com

The Emerald Award 2014

The Emerald Award has two major points of difference from the other RWA contests.

Firstly, it is judged by keen romance readers, not writers. This gives an indication of the marketability of your story but won’t necessarily provide the sort of feedback that helps improve your writing technique.

Secondly, you must have a completed manuscript should your story make it to round 2. The turnaround time between rounds 1 and 2 is one week (5 working days) so there is no time to finish your book then.

Opens: 1 November 2013
Closes: Midnight Sydney time, 22 November 2013

Enter: The first 10,000 words of your unpublished romance or romantic elements manuscript (10K+). Entries are by email. Entrants who reach the second round will need to submit their full manuscript.

Entry fee: $38.50 incl GST per entry.

Final judges
Short: 
 Joanne Grant, Executive Editor, Harlequin UK
Long: Charlotte Ledger, Editor and Content Developer, Harper Impulse

Prizes: 1st prize in each section – $500, 2nd – $250 3rd prize – $150.

Entry criteria: unpublished RWA members only.

Questions? Contact the applicable contest manager:
Long: Gemma McBride
Short: Marnie McLane

Formatting sample

Sample score sheets:
First round (short – long)
Second round (short – long)

Have a great week from the Cruisin’ Chauffeurs.

Event Announcements

Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there.

Writer’s Classes, Groups, Library Events & Workshops

September 2013

If you live in or near Melbourne, Anne Gracie is taking a short course in romance writing, to be held over 4 months — a full day workshop on the first Sunday of each month. The course is being run by Writers Victoria at the Wheeler Centre in the heart of Melbourne.

When: September 8

Time: 1:00pm – 5:00pm

Where: Writers Victoria

Cost: M $325 NM $390

FMI + bookings: http://writersvictoria.org.au/what-s-on/event/writing-romance/

WORKSHOP EVENTOpen Access: Selling Your Book in the Digital Age

with Jenn J McLeod & others incl. Kate Cuthbert – Escape Publishing. A one-day symposium focusing on how writers promote themselves and their work in the constantly changing world of publishing.

When: September 21

Time: 10am – 4pm

Where: NSW Writers’ Centre

Cost: Full Price: $90; Member (NSW WC): $65; Conc Member: $55

For writers and publishers, the challenge is always how to get a book into the hands of readers. Whether you self-publish or go with a mainstream publisher, whether it’s an ebook, print or both, the challenge of promoting yourself and launching your book into the world remains. Open Access will bring together authors, publishers, a bookseller, digital expert, and industry professionals to talk about how they do this – their hits and their misses.

FMI + Bookings: http://www.nswwc.org.au/products-page/courses/open-access-selling-your-book-in-the-digital-age/

In September, and again in November, CAE is running Beverly Eikli’s Short Course, Write Romance and Sell it:

Do you want to write a romance novel? Do you have a manuscript or two gathering dust? Multi-published and award-winning romance author Beverley Eikli will help you develop that kernel of an idea that sells a romance. Learn practical devices to improve plot, pacing and presentation, as well as how to pitch to traditional publishers, e-publishers, independents and small press. Beverley will also discuss self-publishing, changing markets and what editors are looking for.

When: September 7 – 28

Time: 10.00am-1.00pm

Cost: 4 sessions Full Fee: $320.00 | Concession: $310.00 Find out more on their website.

October 2013

If you live in or near Melbourne, Anne Gracie is taking a short course in romance writing, to be held over 4 months — a full day workshop on the first Sunday of each month. The course is being run by Writers Victoria at the Wheeler Centre in the heart of Melbourne.

When: Sunday October 6

Time: 1:00pm – 5:00pm

Where: Writers Victoria

Cost: M $325 NM $390

FMI + bookings: http://writersvictoria.org.au/what-s-on/event/writing-romance/

Mary Hawkins loves to share with other romance writers. She is presenting a workshop at this year’s CALEB Conference. The CALEB is the yearly conference for Christians who write for the general or Christian Bookshop markets. Her workshop is called Masterclass – Romance and she will be sharing what romance readers – and editors – expect and look for in sweet and inspirational romance books, and hints how the writer can give romance readers page-turning, satisfying reads.

When: October 11-12, 2013

Where: Riverglenn, Indooroopilly

FMI: http://wordswithwings.net and http://www.omegawriters.com or contact Mary via her website: http://www.mary-hawkins.com

Fiction Fundamentals – a one-day writing intensive workshop. Inform. Excite. Ignite. Register for Fiction Fundamentals

Are you committed to writing, but not sure how to get started? You have a story idea, and are overwhelmed by the complexity of the header narrowtask? Or you’ve started, maybe even published, and you want to explore and improve your craft? Perhaps you’re considering the path of self-publishing?

The Write Chicks are multi-published romance fiction authors, Shannon Curtis and Paula Roe. Together, they have over 12 years’ writing experience. They will be joined by Jennifer Brassel, published author and creative writing instructor and for one day these professional authors will share their experience and techniques for writing and publishing in an intensive seminar designed to boost your own skills and knowledge.

Whether you’re looking to learn something new, or wanting to hone your craft, this writing boot camp will deliver value for money. Three authors. Intense, comprehensive sessions. One event.

When: Saturday October 19

Time: 9:00am – 4:00pm

Where: Novotel Parramatta, 350 Church St, Parramatta.

Cost: $120

November 2013

In September, and again in November, CAE is running Beverly Eikli’s Short Course, Write Romance and Sell it:

Do you want to write a romance novel? Do you have a manuscript or two gathering dust? Multi-published and award-winning romance author Beverley Eikli will help you develop that kernel of an idea that sells a romance. Learn practical devices to improve plot, pacing and presentation, as well as how to pitch to traditional publishers, e-publishers, independents and small press. Beverley will also discuss self-publishing, changing markets and what editors are looking for.

When: November 02 – 23

Time: 10.00am-1.00pm

Cost: 4 sessions Full Fee: $320.00 | Concession: $310.00 Find out more on their website.

Online Events

Do you need help in the bedroom? If you do, Cathleen Ross is here to save you with her How To Write Erotic Romance Course. Sign up. You’ll be surprised about what you learn.

When: September 30 to October 4

Cost: BDRWA Member $25.00 BDRWA Non-Member $30.00

To Register: Black Diamond Registration Form

Classes are run from Margie Lawson’s website using on-line teaching software used by universities. Take a cyber tour before you start your class and introduce yourself.

Affordable forum-style writing classes

A double Golden Heart finalist in 2006, Julie Rowe has been writing for over ten years. Julie  teaches a variety of workshops and is the moderator of the Announce Online Classes email loop, which promotes online classes for writers.

To subscribe to the Announce online Classes email loop, send an email to: Announceonlinewritingclasses-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

Special Events

  • Brisbane Writers Festival: 4-8 September 2013

Brisbane Writers Festival brings a page-turning experience to Brisbane from 4-8 September.

Romance Writers of Australia will launch the 2013 Little Gems Sapphire Anthology at the Brisbane Writers Festival. Enjoy readings from this annual publication that celebrates the best romantic short stories.

When: 10-11AM.Print

Date: Sunday, 8 September.

Venue: Red Box, State Library of QLD.

Tickets: Free.

Romance Writers of Australia will present popular romance blogger and critic Sarah Wendell in discussion with New York Times best-selling author, Nalini Singh at the Brisbane Writers Festival.

Time: 1-2pm, Date: Sunday, 8 September.

Venue: Auditorium 1, State Library of QLD.

Tickets: $12-$16.

RWA Conference 2014

Romance Rocks!

4 days. 30+ workshops. Over 300 writers, editors, agents and publishing industry professionals. One epic conference.  Join us in Sydney with guest speakers; thriller writer and writing craft author, James Scott Bell, along with award-winning, best-selling romantic adventure author, Cherry Adair.

When: August 7-10 2014
Where: Novotel Sydney Olympic Park, Homebush

Keep an eye out for updates on the blog and website for more information.

Contests

RWAus contest season is now open. Closing dates for the 2013-14 contest season:

Ripping Start 6 September 2013
Selling Synopsis 22 November 2013
Emerald Award 22 November 2013
Little Gems 31 January 2014
First Kiss 14 February 2014
Valerie Parv Award TBA April 2014

Awards

The EllaPrint

RWA is excited to launch a new contest for published novellas. To be known as The Ella, the romantic novella of the year award will be a reader-judged contest, and the winner will be announced at RWA’s national conference in August.

The RUBYPrint

The Romantic Book of the Year Award, affectionately known as The Ruby, is our premier award and the only one of its kind in Australia. Voted on by Australian readers, this contest is open each year to any Australian or New Zealand romance author who has published a long or short romance novel.

Event Announcements

If you have a writing class, book-signing, competition, blog hop, library talk or any other exciting event coming up, please share it with us at cruisin@romanceaustralia.com.

Contests

Quirk Books Contest “Looking for Love”

Grand prize $10000 & publication with Quirk Books, full novel-length ms featuring fresh, fun, and strikingly unconventional love stories (no vampires, sorry). For official rules & full contest details see the downloadable entry form. Contest deadline October 1, 2013

Keeping up Appearances

  • Writing Romance with Anne Gracie – Sunday August 4, September 8, October 6

If you live in or near Melbourne, Anne Gracie is taking a short course in romance writing, to be held over 4 months — a full day workshop on the first Sunday of each month. The course is being run by Writers Victoria at the Wheeler Centre in the heart of Melbourne.

When: 1:00pm – 5:00pm

Where: Writers VictoriaCost: M $325 NM $390

FMI + bookings: http://writersvictoria.org.au/what-s-on/event/writing-romance/

  • Celebrate National Bookshop Day

with The New Romantics. Join four exciting new romance authors for a lively panel discussion and afternoon tea hosted by Fotster’s Little Bookshop(South Gippsland). Margareta Osborne (rural romance), Kate Belle (erotic romance), Jennifer Scoullar (environmental romance), and Kathryn Ledson (romantic suspense) will take you on a light hearted and enjoyable exploration of all things romance.

When: Saturday 10 August

Time: 2.30 – 4pm

Where: Community Health Centre, Station Road, Foster

Cost: $20 includes romantic afternoon tea

Bookings essential – ph: 03 5682 2089 or email: flb@virtual.net.au

  • The Yearning Book Talk with Kate BelleThe Yearning

When: Thursday 29th August

Time: 7pm – 8.30pm

Where: Eltham Library, Panther Place, Eltham

Cost: Free

Bookings through Eltham Library,

03 9439 9266 or via their website.

~

New Releases August 2013

Looking for something to read? Check out these great NEW releases from our members

ARRA Book Signing Event

BSE3 I'll be signing 400

The Australian Romance Readers Association will be hosting a book-signing event in Fremantle, WA this August. It will be held in conjunction with the Romance Writers of Australia conference, and will run from 5.00–6.30 pm on Saturday 17 August at the Esplanade Hotel. The event will be open to the public, with an entry fee of just $7 ($5 for ARRA members). Entry will also include a ticket in our lucky door prize draw for the chance to win one of several prize baskets.

Registration for readers is now open – registration information is available here.

Claytons Conference 2013image

Registrations are now open for RWA’s 2013 The Claytons BE THE BOOK Online Conference!

This year’s amazing line-up includes:

  • Alexandra Sokoloff-Keynote Speaker on the 3 Act 8 Scene Story Structure
  • Sue Grimshaw-of Random House’s Loveswept & Flirt lines on The Quick Pitch
  • Mel Tescho-ARRA Nominee on Sensual Tension Regardless of Genre
  • Zana Bell-on the Grommet’s Guide to Publishing
  • And Australia’s own Queen of Romance Valerie Parv-on The Revision Maze

Don’t miss out! Register now at http://www.romanceaustralia.com/claytons_rego.html

Writer’s Classes, Groups and Library Events

Workshops

August 2013

  • Sunday August 11 – Love and Landscapes: Writing Rural Romance

When: 10:30am-4:30pm

Where: QWC Offices, Level 2, State Library of QLD (QLD Writers Centre)

Cost: M $110 NM $160 C $144

FMI + bookings: http://www.qwc.asn.au/courses-and-events/courses/weekend-workshops/workshops/love-and-landscapes-writing-rural-romance/ OR call 07 3842 9922

  • Saturday August 17 –How to Wow them with Your Pitch

When: 10:30am – 1:30pm

Where: Auditorium 2, State Library of QLD

Cost: $65

FMI + bookings: http://www.qwc.asn.au/courses-and-events/courses/seminars/awm-author-iq-seminars/how-to-wow!-them-with-your-pitch/ OR call 07 3842 9922

  • Thursday 8 August –Introduction to Scrivener

When: 6:00pm – 9:00pm

Where: South Australian Writers Centre

Cost: M $55 NM $80

FMI + bookings: http://www.sawc.org.au/whats-on/workshops-and-seminars?view=category

  • Thursday August 1 –Nuts & Bolts: The Mechanics of Becoming a Writer & Establishing a Sustainable Career (Byron Bay Writers Festival)

When: 10:00am – 4:00pm

Where: SCU Room, Byron Community Centre

Cost: M $60 NM $75

FMI + bookings: http://www.byronbaywritersfestival.com.au

RWA Conference

Riding the waves: Writing romance in tempestuous times

Riding the Waves

Riding the Waves

August 16 – 18 2013 –The Esplanade Hotel, Fremantle, Western Australia

For prices, conference details and the online registration form, please head to our web site: http://romanceaustralia.com/freo/

Featuring Julia Quinn, Kim Hudson, Nina Bruhns, Sarah Wendell, Laura Bradford and Abby Zidle – and an amazing workshop program – Riding the Waves promises to be an unmissable event.

Early Bird registration is now closed.

Want to keep up to date? Join our email list

Special Events

  • Brisbane Writers Festival: 4-8 September 2013

Brisbane Writers Festival brings a page-turning experience to Brisbane from 4-8 September.

  • Byron Bay Writers Festival:  2-4 August 2013

Indications are that 2013 will be the first year the Byron Bay Writers’ Festival sells  its entire quota of Early Bird discounted 3 Day Passes! If you haven’t already secured yours, move fast.

  • Melbourne Writers Festival 22 August – 1 September 2013

The Melbourne Writers Festival is the City of Literature’s annual, two-week celebration for writers, readers and thinkers. The Festival runs from Thursday 22 August 2013 to Sunday 1 September 2013. Our Schools’ Program takes place from Monday 26 August 2013 to Thursday 29 August 2013.

  • Random House Events May – July 2013

Foodies are in for a treat in May with Julie Goodwin and Curtis Stone on the menu, not to mention Kate Forsyth talking about her latest book THE WILD GIRL. Featured in June is Jaye Ford and her novel SCARED YET? And in July, Michael Pryor (The Extraordinaires 2: The Subterranean Stratagem) has a number of workshop activities to help ensure your characters, location and plotting can last the distance of a longer story.

  • Penguin House Events May – October 2013

Penguin have a list of author appearances up on their website – including Cathryn Hein and Kylie Griffin.

  • Literary Festivals and Events May 2013

For more festival and writing fun, Literary Festivals has a calender packed full of workshops and events.

Online Events

Classes are run from Margie Lawson’s website using on-line teaching software used by universities. Take a cyber tour before you start your class and introduce yourself.

Affordable forum-style writing classes

A double Golden Heart finalist in 2006, Julie Rowe has been writing for over ten years. Julie  teaches a variety of workshops and is the moderator of the Announce Online Classes email loop, which promotes online classes for writers.

To subscribe to the Announce online Classes email loop, send an email to: Announceonlinewritingclasses-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

Ruby Finalists

It’s that time of year again! Time to announce the finalists in RWA’s Romantic Book of the Year (Ruby) competition for published novels.  We have four sections, each with four finalists and the winners will be announced at our annual conference, this year to be held in Fremantle, WA.

This year’s batch is a wonderful microcosm of our membership, including some of our most established and loved author members and some who have entered the finalist list with their first book.  Obviously, if you are a romance writer, RWA is the place to be!

So, without further ado, congratulations and best of luck to:

~

Long Romance
Anne Gracie Bride by Mistake
Helen Lacey Marriage Under The Mistletoe
Sarah Mayberry More Than One Night
Stephanie Laurens The Lady Risks All
Romantic Elements
Elise K Ackers Small Town Storm
Fiona McCallum Wattle Creek
Helene Young Burning Lies
Tricia Stringer Queen of the Road
Short Sexy
Anne Oliver The Morning After The Wedding Before
Melanie Milburne Enemies at the Altar
Nicola Marsh Marrying the Enemy
Yvonne Lindsay A Forbidden Affair
Short Sweet
Alison Roberts Sydney Harbour Hospital: Zoe’s Baby
Emily Forbes Sydney Harbour Hospital: Bella’s Wishlist
Fiona Lowe Newborn Baby For Christmas
Madeline Ash Uncovered by Love

~

Thanks go to our new Ruby co-ordinator, Dorothy Bramich and to Louise Reynolds, our erstwhile Ruby co-ordinator, for mentoring her through her first year in this role.  We would be helpless without our stalwart volunteers!  Thanks too, to our wonderful reader judges.

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