Wednesday, August 01, 2007
RNA Conference - Part 7
The Romantic Novelist Association is broad church so to speak as it covers all fiction dealing with romance from Harlequin/Mills&Boon to main stream women's fiction. It is a welcoming place as they have this wonderful program called the New Writer's Scheme with helps new writers on their way to publication. Regular readers of the blog will know that I have just posted the much rewritten August Rock off to the scheme where a published author will read through and provide feedback. August Rock went through the scheme last year and the reader was one of the very helpful voices that hopefully will send AG on it's way. The scheme not only provides readers for your work but if it is up to publishable standard it will help you on your way by putting the script in front of an agent or publisher. Good stuff huh?
The first session I attended on the Sunday of the conference was on the New Writers Scheme. Roger Sanderson (pictured above with Sara Craven) who writes Medicals for Harlequin/Mills & Boon as Gill Sanderson heads the scheme and told us of the 250 new writers on the scheme.
He then handled over to Elizabeth Hawksley who gave us the readers view. She has recently co-authored a book with Jenny Haddon - Getting the Point: A Panic-free Guide to English Punctuation for Adults.
Elizabeth's pointers were:
Character, Conflicts, and Story Arc
-early on make sure that the heroine is likable; someone you could sympathize with; not a wimp
-set up a problem; make sure there are enough hooks in chapter one (at least 3 problems)
- run the hero past a real guy; have a man real it aloud; make him realistic
- distinguishing plot - not just a series of events; plot has consequence - emotional and/or real
Next the writer to speak was Amanda Grange and she tackled 'Why do my books keep getting rejected?' Her key points were
-Edit, edit, edit
-Identify problems and fix them
-Keep characters consistent not wobbling
-Are they too stupid to live - TSTL
-Something that begins and chapter one and takes the reader all the way through the end
-Do the actions have consequences - is there enough conflict; external and internal
-Does every scene have a point
-Is the character the same at the end of the scene?
The session ended with the reminder of all those who have made it through the scheme are eligible to enter The Joan Hessayon NWS Award. This awarded to first novel published who have been through the NWS. This year my friend Fiona Harper, winner in 2006, handed over the award to another friend Phillipa Ashley for her debut novel for Little Black Dress - Decent Exposure. (Phillipa is picutred below with Jan Jones)