Friday, August 31, 2007

The Wait

I have been pretty good about forgetting about my submission to the New Writers' Scheme of the RNA. I know that I sent it late -the last day of July. I know that I need to wait at least six weeks before expecting a response but I leave here next week and they kindly said they would try and have it back to me before I left..........So I have been pouncing on the post woman every morning and dreaming of reader reports every night. And you guys thought I was so cool about the whole thing!

I have also been thinking I should submit August Rock off to the three agents I have met before I go as submission will be trickier from Dubai.......but in my head I was waiting the have the report back to see if I had gone completely wrong on my rewrite. Do I sound like I am dithering? Yes, I know I am. Call it packingitis or something. Maybe if I write letters to agents then I won't have to pack up the house and put the boats away and , and , and.......

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Move Update

Several of you have asked what's happening with the move......well DH is there and working. The temporary accommodation is in a building site and in a dry hotel! 'Nuff said there.

Here in Cornwall the slow process of closing up the house is taking place. It is slow because I am dragging my feet. Not because I don't want to go to Dubai but because I hate leaving Cornwall. It was been a wonderful summer despite periods of terrible weather and it is always sad when it comes to an end. The past few summers haven't had such an abrupt end. The garden furniture remained out until October half term. The wetsuits were not shoved to the far back of the cupboard. Now all these things must be done. Yesterday I cut the lavender back as the sun beat down on my back. I will not be here to harvest my apples and pears this year. However on the bright side I won't lose my tan!

Snowy is making hay while the sun shines or the moon that is. He refused to come in last night. I think he knows he'll be chasing lizards again soon rather than shrews. Snowy came to us when we lived in Dubai. He was a rescue cat! Yes, a Turkish Angora rescue cat. Only in Dubai. He'll be winging his way back to the lizards soon. Unfortunately he will have to be in kennels as we don't have a villa yet! But that is another story.

So my time in Cornwall is dwindling fast but I will be back for Christmas (with a tan) and hopefully a few roses will still be blooming :-)

Tuesday, August 28, 2007


As an exercise to put me back into working on a Cornish House I am separating Madde's story from Serena's story to see them as separate entities before I weave them back together. Has anyone else ever done this?

DH is on day two in new job in Dubai. The temporary furnished apartment is soulless and the hotel it's in is dry. These things did not make for a good start. I on the other hand had a very lazy day with the kids walking and watching films as I was wiped out. Here's to the restorative powers of the Bourne Supremacy and Pride and Prejudice. Can you tell which I watched with the boys and which one with the dd?
Finally I was caught without on Sunday - a camera that is. The beautiful vessel above anchored in the Helford River on Saturday and I did have a camera. I sat on the beach and thought of the ships that traveled up and down the river bringing the tin out from Gweek in the past and all the things that Toby (my thirteen year old Victorian ghost in August Rock) saw on the river. When we took DH to the Newquay airport we detoured via St. Anthony to drop the the boys at the beach. As we reached the top of the headland this ship was in full sail heading toward Falmouth. It was magnificent and she was sailing right past the buoy for August Rock. Perfect. No camera, not even the one on my phone. So that image of a barque in full sail will have to remain in my mind and not here.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Voice Part 4

Well, it's the bank holiday and I'm now in the count down to Dubai. DH left yesterday and is now there dealing with the fact that the temporary accommodation is not dire but....... The sun is shinning here and my kids don't want to go to the beach???? They are beached out but I keep thinking it may rain tomorrow. So I have a moment - since they are on the 'puter upstairs - to think about writing again. Actually I haven't stopped thinking about writing to be honest. I am itching to get back to it which is good I think.

Back last week I posted two possible openings for A Cornish House and the comments were fascinating a varied - which is to be expected as we all like different things and approaches. I will discuss more of that another time. The wonderful Jan Jones left this comment :

" thoughts are that the opening of any new ms these days MUST be told from the point-of-view of the main character."

I sat there and thought how bl--dy true. There in lies my problem with ACH. I want Madde to be the main character and yet Serena wants this role for herself! typical teenager - why do we work with them???

So Jan's comment set me to thinking about the books I have read this summer. How did each of them capture me in??? Katie Fforde grabbed me with Dora's shock at the transformation of Mrs Edwards from typical country wife to hippy style divorcee in Going Dutch. It set up the whole story of lives transforming - Dora's and Jo's (Mrs. Edwards).

Kate Harrison's The Self-Preservation Society is told in first person. She opens with a prologue that instantly made me relate to Jo - the nightmares we all experience and then once we have felt our own fears we are more open to Jo's over heightened sense to fear. So also caught on page one.

Caroline Smailes' In Search Of Adam is another story told in first person. We are there with a six year old curled up to her mother's dead body. Your heart is your mouth and you are with Jude instantly.

In Therese Fowler's Souvenir in a prologue we see Meg about to do something that is wrong and she is well aware of it but we also know she is following her heart. It is this that takes through the rest of the story. Because of her thoughts on the first page we follow her through the story.

So Jan is so right. We have very little time to capture the reader and bring them along with our main character. So I need to establish whose story I want tell even if it's both as with Katie's book. More food for thought.......

Finally over on C.S. Harris's blog she talks about punching up your writing. It's all about making your writing more powerful. If you are in a revision phase then it would be a good time to read this and check your script out.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Watch Out World

Just had to post this photo of Snowy who looks so pissed off..........
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Friday, August 24, 2007


This week I finished reading Therese Fowler's Souvenir. It was an emotional read right from the prologue. Therese takes you beautifully through a story that you know from the start will hurt. She doesn't hesitate to pull you through issues you don't want to think about. I read the book being just that little bit older than the heroine Meggie and my children just that little bit younger and heart was in my mouth as I read. I don't want to spoil the story though so I am limited in what I can say except that I looked at my own children and pulled them to me not wanting to miss a moment with them.

Therese takes something so painful as a mother and puts it out there simply. It's a book that makes you look at your own life and evaluate the choices you have made. The real skill for me in the book is that nothing was over dramatised and it could have been. The narrative flows along letting you feel. Remember to have a tissue handy when reading and I do recommend reading it.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

View From the Coast

I have been playing in the sun and sea so huge apologies for my lack of posts and comments. Thanks you all for you kind comments on my cake making and the wonderfully varying views on the two potential openings of A Cornish House.

I have finished the wonderful Souvenir by Therese Fowler but I will blog on that tomorrow as the sun is shinning again today and hey can you blame me with a view like that?

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Youngest's 8th Birthday

Sorry not around yesterday but my baby turned eight! Sun is shinning today so off to the beach. Catch up tomorrow.

p.s. I know it's not as beautiful as Helen's but I must say I didn't do to badly on the cake :-)
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Saturday, August 18, 2007

Voice Part Three

I'm still wandering around the voice subject and have come to no definite surprise there. So wandering through blogs I cam across Therese Fowler's post on voice here here. One of Therese's phrase jumped out at me:

"Voice is inextricably tied to subject/content and form."

This hit as true as I began the reread of A Cornish House. Serena's attitude gives this story it's voice. Yet how I choose to put her on the page gives me mine.

So while reading my opening chapters I realized that although the current first page is good, I might be better to start here:

Serena stared at the darkness. Why the hell was she here? It was Madde of course. Madde made a mess of everything. Serena opened the car door. The air smelt clean; strange concept. No noise either. Her music went dead hours ago and the radio didn’t work because the car didn’t. Great. Here in the middle of the end of the earth and no music to kill the silence.
The hedge beside her was taller than she was. Madde hadn’t left her much room. Serena walked to the front of the car. There wasn’t any room on that side either. No one would be able to get past them. Not a problem she supposed as there was no one here. Was Cornwall totally devoid of life? Yes, clearly it was.

A screeching noise made Serena jump. A low flying object swept past her face just clearing the hedge. This place was creepy; no one here and bats or something flying around.
Madde’s voice broke the silence. Her proper accent was unmistakable. She was never sure how her father had fallen for her. It must have been the sex. Why else would he marry a tall gangly woman with wild curly hair and a posh accent? No other possible reason.

“The car is just in that bend.”
“They won’t be able to do anything with you there.”

Serena’s head shot up. Who was that male voice? Had Madde picked up some man in the half hour she’d been gone. Typical. Men flocked to her like flies to shit. Serena just couldn’t understand it. Mind you Madde never seemed to notice the drool as they stood staring. She was oblivious to everything lost in her world of colours and shapes. Hell she didn’t even shout at the tattoo. She just closed her mouth and then commented on the lovely use of blue. She wasn’t even clued up enough to know it was a fake. So much for getting under her skin. She didn’t shout. She didn’t rage. She kept on packing for this wretched move to Cornwall and whimpering on about what a Godsend it was that she had inherited this house. Well, they thought it was a house. The papers that Serena stole a look at describe it as a dwelling.

“Serena, has anyone come?” Madde stood in front of the car with a tall man beside her. He was good-looking in a rough shaven sort of way. Nice body. Unfortunately drooling to as they all do. Another puppy to follow Madde around. Does she smell of sex or something?

“Are you joking? Someone come down this God forsaken excuse for a road? Nothing but bats down here.” She paused and waited for Madde’s normal intake of breath.

“Excellent. They’re protected. You are lucky to see them as they’ve been declining.”
Oh great thought Serena this time she has found a hunky eco geek. A new puppy to add to the list. Madde the dark damsel in distress and the great eco geek rides to rescue. Get a life Madde and fix things yourself without the drool patrol. Get a grip on pheromone production while you’re at it too.

“Thanks for the eco update but this place gives me the creeps.”

Rather than here:

The car coughed to a halt and lurched as the trailer pushed it further on the dark lane.

“Shit.” Madde thumped the steering wheel.

“What?” Madde turned to see Serena rubbing her eyes; her blond hair in spiky disarray and the new tattoo on her arm peeking out from her tee-shirt. Double shit thought Madde. They couldn’t be far from where ever the hell Carnew was but now that Serena was awake she could hear her complaints already. She turned the key but no sound emerged from the engine.

“Are we at this God-forsaken place?” Serena stretched.

“Errr, no. The car died.”
“The car died.”
“I heard that but where are we?” Serena was now sitting straight.
“Don’t know.”
“Mind your language.” Madde ran her fingers over the wheel.
“Hah, fine thing to say. I just heard you swearing. What’s wrong with Christ anyway?”
“We’ve been down this road before.”
“No we haven’t.”
“Don’t be pedantic.” Madde rubbed her hands over the back of her neck. She could feel the rigid tendons. “Serena, I’m tired I’ve been driving for hours and arguing isn’t going to help.”
Madde pulled the release for the bonnet and open the door. She had no idea what she was looking for. The cool breeze caught her hair as she stood in the darkness releasing the bonnet. It sprang open.
“What are you doing?” asked Serena.
“Looking at the engine.”
“Since when do you know anything about engines?”
Madde sighed. Serena was right. She hadn’t a clue. Her hand sought her phone in her jean pocket. The screen lit up. The wall paper was still a picture of John. He’d been gone a year.
“Are you just going to look at it?” Serena’s voice cut the cool night air.
Madde pressed the number for roadside assistance. No signal. Great.
“Well, what’s happening?” Serena leaned out the window.
“Nothing. That’s great. So we’re in the middle of no where with no signal and a dead car.”
“That sums it up it quite well.” Madde looked to the black sky and said a silent prayer. She needed help now. The Milky Way splashed across the darkness filled her with peace. She could manage this.
“Yes.” Madde placed her hands on her hips.

Does either one give you a sense of my voice? Not sure but in both Serena comes across loud and clear.

Friday, August 17, 2007


Sometimes news is too good not to share. My friend Nell Dixon has just signed with Headline's Little Black Dress. I'm so thrilled for Nell. It is so deserved. Sometimes life just makes to cry and smile at the same time. Well done Nell.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

For the Big R

I was wandering around blogs yesterday and I came across the most wonderful clip for every one who has ever received a rejection over at Danuta Kean's blog. You must go watch here. Enjoy.

I will return to voice. I want to do some more research on some of the points the comments raised.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Voice Part Two

Yesterday's post shook my brain and I remembered a comment by Anita Burgh (author of over twenty novels) who I hope will forgive me for expressing her thoughts - probably badly. She commented that voice comes from your characters and not the writer as such. She mentioned that you should never hear the writer only the character's views. The voice depends on who you chose to tell the story and what p.o.v. Anita ran a fabulous session at the RNA Conference on P.O.V. My report here

I found that interesting based on some of yesterday's comments. KK was struggling as she felt too much of her own thoughts were currently in the work. I suppose in that the heroine of August Rock is an American incomer to Cornwall so there is much of my experience in Judith but she's definitely not me. In A Cornish House I don't think either main character reflects me at all - if anyone was 'me' in that it would be Tamsin, a secondary character. The attempt at a Mills and Boon I wrote back in 2005 probably had much more of me in the heroine - btw it was a huge flop on many accounts except that it was a complete work. Lucky Rachel is clear that the voice in her work is that of Jasfoup

So on the voice debate, is it your voice or is the character's voice?

On a completely different note, many people have asked how I stay sane with all the moving we have done. The picture below is a huge part of my sanity.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007


Voice is a hot topic at the moment on one of the forums I belong to. It was mentioned is several of the RNA Conference sessions and back when I attend the Melissa Nathan Comedy Romance Workshop. Every one throws the term around. Every writer seeks to find their unique voice and some writer's have several - if they write different in different genres. So what is Voice? Have you found yours?

I was over at Phillipa Ashley's blog and she was discussing voice too. It was in writing a reply to her post that I realized that August Rock doesn't really have my voice in it. I pondered why and realized that my internal editor was doing a very heavy handed job. I was wary of kids reading over my shoulder and the thought of my mother reading my work (Dad if you are reading the blog you can smile now). So after rewriting August Rock six times and definitely improving it I know that it doesn't really have my voice. I don't think it is something you can put back in or at least I can't.

When I wrote A Cornish House at the beginning of year, I put the internal editor in a box and wrote without stopping. My voice is there now. I now may have to tone it down but it is there. Have you experienced this?

Monday, August 13, 2007

Venice and Links

Eons ago I said I had something of my weekend in Venice to share with you. While walking through the back alley ways i fell in love with the laundry lines of Venice. They were fabulous and competed with my love of flower boxes. So here are a few of Venice's beautiful laudry lines.

Back on a writing track though there are some great things about.

Amanda Grange on her web site has fantastic refence material for any writers. I particualry liked her check list for manscripts before they go to a publisher here

Then there is this great break down of genre that finally clarified it all for me here

And Novel Racer Zinnia has begun the most fantastic series on how to help bereaving families. She begins with what to write here.

The rain has begun here and as the garden now needs I am trying not to frown too much. With the rain I may figure out how to put a link to all the RNA conference pieces on the sidebar....but then again I may not be able to work that one out!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

In Search of Adam

I knew that I had to be in a good place mentally before I began Jude's journey which is why I have left Caroline Smailes' In Search of Adam on the tbr pile until now. I knew I couldn't read it when my world was upside down. This was right. Reading In Search of Adam turns your world upside down and steps on it - yet it is beautiful. The words are beautiful and the story terrible. I think of the words used for Northern Ireland during the Troubles - a terrible beauty. That sums up In Search of Adam for me. Caroline leads us through a a life so tortured and sad with such beauty and grace. Thank you. I am not sure I could have continued following Jude in the book had the words not been so exquisite. It is an important story to read. Read In Search of Adam - it's beauty will keep you and its sadness will haunt you.......

Friday, August 10, 2007

RNA Conference Part 12

So now this is my last session notes entry. As you will have read it was a brilliant conference and I picked up so much including the seed for my next novel. Well this session was one that really hit home. One of the first things I did when I had a bit of time the following morning was read quickly through bits of August Rock to check. This next session did help guide me through the last rewrite before I submitted it to the New Writers Scheme. So with that introduction I will present my notes from Anne Ashurst's (Sara Craven) and Jenny Haddon's (Sophie Weston) 'I've Started: How the Hell do I Finish? Plot rescue Service'

Anne began. Starting is easy. You need to think of writing a book like building a house.

Divide your books chapters into three sections:

1-4: foundation - make sure it will support the structure and sow seeds

5-8: windows walls - building up

8-12: roof, custom made kitchen and hand over of the keys

There can be stutters at 6. The middle is sheer graft. Don't panic and struggle. Put it away for days, a week or more. Then reread where you started to go a stray. THEN kill your darlings.

Look at the foundations:

- do we know enough or too much

-should you hold back more

Go to place where it started to waiver - then cut and save elsewhere.

Is your conflict enough - interior and exterior.

- beware of them fighting the same battle over and over

-secondary characters have started to take over or could they do more?

- do the secondary character vanish without explanation; waning Wayne

Middle Section is where most of the drama takes place - dramatisation of themes and conflicts. Rebecca (which is why I am reading it now) is a perfect example. It comes to a rising peak. Each events raises the tension a bit more -

Illustrations from the book:

- can't find the morning room

- breaks the cupid

- the ball

- Mrs. Danvers urges her to kill herself

At the end of middle - enter the crisis. Make then wait; never have the major love scene come too early; if they have sex then the balance shifts (unless of course it all goes badly wrong) Save the good stuff for the end.

So don't peak too early; give then enough little peaks then tune it for the final explosion. Leave room for the appreciative Ahhhhhh.

Jenny then took over. She began by talking about Robert McKee Story Structure. Movies are about the last twenty minutes. The ending validates the beginning. She spoke of the Paula Gosling's The Zero Trap as a perfect example and then on to Mary Stewart's Nine Coaches Waiting.

You must have a satisfactory

- solution to the main plot

-emotional release

and total absorption of the reader's energy at the end.

Her points for a great ending:

1. insufficient conflict; ratchet up the stakes - go back half way and twist the knife - deepen it

2. unanswered question; use post it notes as you go and then fix it

3. leave to end the biggest questions - the 'But I thought you loved Carlotta moment' - watch your 'guns' and make sure you use them

4. clear up minor points in preceding chapters

5. details are enormously important; go back and plant them if necessary; readers don't want new things at the end

6. quality of writing is so important at the end; careful use of language - almost like a poem

7. need to satisfy expectation and even add a bonus

8. absorption; the reader must be so completely in the story so needn't tell; reminders of the whole book should be there but not pull them out of the story; no distractions to the bulls eye

9. at the end only one p.o.v. for emotional impact

10. no new information but new light on old

11. all the emotional issue bright to light

12. read it aloud - it should be smooth

13. if necessary go back and feed in earlier details to make end stronger

14. PACE - speed up toward the end; vary it but it all should to faster than the rest of the book

15. reminders of the whole book -right up to the end; reference direct echos of the first meeting

Jenny then took us step by step through the ending of Nine Coaches Waiting. She mentioned 'discovery of self then you discover the other.' Mary Stewart in the reference 15 points from the rest of the book in the last scene. The energy is tremendous and varying of the pace. Finally if you are writing romantic suspense tidy up the suspense plot first then the romance.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

The Self-Preservation Society

Yesterday I finished Kate Harrison's Self-Preservation Society and it was utterly brilliant. There are many things I could say about the story but I think the most important is that I truly cared about the characters. Jo could have been tough take as her view on life tends to piss one off but from the moment her voice appears on the page I loved her. I was happy to follow her through her journey and so wanted life to be OK for her.

When I stand back and look at the skill needed to achieve this I am in awe. I can find first person view point overwhelming but I never became tired of Jo's voice. The humour made it easy and took you through some pretty heavy issues that gave the story some of its depth. Kate has a way of picking up small details as well that enrich the story telling no end. Finally the secondary characters and their stories just made the whole story more meaty for lack of a better word. The twists she put in were great.

Aside from Jo my favorite character was Frisky but I don't want to give the story away if you haven't read it, but READ it. It is a pleasure and from a critical point of view it is skillfully done.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

RNA Conference Parts 10 & 11

I have grouped the next to sessions together not because they have anything to do with each other but because my notes are quite short on each. The first session was Elizabeth Chadwick and Alison King 'Beyond the Looking Glass - an Akashic Record Session.' I found this session fascinating. Elizabeth Chadwick who writes novel based on the lives of historic people uses Alison's gift of tapping into the energy of the past to 'see' the past and confirm facts and fill in the blanks of Elizabeth's research. The held a session where they tapped into the early life of Henry II. Elizabeth asked question while Alison felt her way through the time. Alison works with people who are tracing their family history as well. It's an amazing gift.

The next session was with Sue Moorcroft (picutred here with Judith Lennox). It was 'More Than You thought You Knew - Character Workshop'. Now I have few notes on this one as it was a workshop but it was fantastic. Sue handed us all a small sheet of paper with a few details on it like - age 18, sex female, failed her a levels. From this we had to filled in the blanks so to speak. Once we had done this she asked a few of us to stand up and become our character and take questions. That was brilliant part as you really had to think of your feet and know your character. It was amazing how the development these characters came on! In fact it is to this session I owe the rough outline of the book that is brewing in my head this summer! Thank you Sue.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Summer Inspiration

I was visiting Lisa's blog and she mentioned many things that inspire writers -for some it's gardening, other walking and so... It had me thinking. Walking is briliiant for working out plot and long distance driving does it for me too but Cornwall inspires my writing at the moment. August Rock is based there, A Cornish House and the novel brewing in my head is. There is something about this place that feeds my creative soul. Our home here feeds my heart and my garden is bliss. So I thought I'd post a few photos of the garden and then when off to Dubai in September I could peek back and find inspiration again.

Monday, August 06, 2007

RNA Conference Part 9

Little did I realize that the conference would provide so much blogging material! I just went through my notes and realized that I four more sessions to cover. Clearly I took a lot out of the conference.
The next session I am about to blog about I chose not because I could even begin to write for the the line but I just felt that an session with an editor was going to provide some hard core tips - I wasn't wrong. Cat Cobain the editor for Headline's Little Black Dress imprint ( ) spoke about 'What Women Want' -(Little Black Dress). Now as I said I know I can't write for Little Black Dress although I love reading them (think Julie Cohen and Phillipa Ashley) - after this talk I really really wanted to because I felt that Cat must be a fabulous editor to work with. Enough of my dreams here's what she said:

First off she spoke about LBD.
- it's one year old
- it's a brand
- they have 35 authors
- currently they are publishing 4 books a month but will be increasing to 6 ( 3 paper/ 3 hardback)
- it's aimed at 20 to 35 year olds ; it is very young in focus; just working out their lives; this group is very fickle and media savvy; used to tv and films
- they need a new twist but can be the same story
- must have a hook and an angle

Then she went on to elaborate that the good stories twist normal life creating the angle and escapism - something like Rachel's Holiday by Marion Keyes. It's sort of like watching friends. It masquerades for normal life but its not.

Then Cat went on with some writing tips:

1. can't please everyone it for yourself - love it
3. writing communities - use them carefully
4. allow quiet time - don't fill your time with too much blogging
5. careful of the advice you are given
6. don't share your work too much with others; be careful of homogenization; don't lose your spark; use others input wisely and not too often
7. it can become a bit of a conveyor belt once your published
8. allow time for ideas to germinate
9. structure - synopsis is the strongest tool; you can see plot flaws and it focuses the mind and gets rid of bagging (think of it as a miniature Turkish carpet - you have to look at it to see the pattern; must be able to see the beginning and the plot coming out as flecks through out)

I think those writing tips are superb. She mentioned have Internet free days!!!! She especially spoke of allowing time for things to grow properly. So although I could never write for LBD I'm so glad I chose this session to attend!

Life here in Cornwall has improved and so has my colour. Due to several days on the beach and on the river I slowly achieving a light Cornish mahogany. I am still reading Kate Harrison's Self Preservation Society (fabulous btw) and Rebecca ( my last blog on the conference will explain why I am reading this other than it's wonderful). I'm frustrated that I'm reading in such short bursts. I would love a long day of just reading but with my three kids plus one extra, a house and a husband to look after I have to be happy with short bursts of reading and snatched moments on the puter. So if I haven't be visiting blogs as much that's why. Come September something like normal service will return :-)

Friday, August 03, 2007

RNA Conference Part 8 and Award

First the lovely JJ had awarded me and Helen with the Inspiration Blogger Award for as she says 'because they both get on with the job (writing) without all the fannying around'. I am very touched. Now for my five nominations .......
1. I nominate Nicola for The Courageous Blogger Award; a while ago she bravely told her story and her strength has remained with me.
2. I nominate Therese Fowler for The Inspirational Blogger Award because she writes and shares what she had learned on the road to publication.
3. I nominated Amanda Grange for The Thoughtful Blogger Award for all the help she has given to other writers to set up and make their blogs work.
4. I nominated Maht at The Moon Topples for The Creative Blogger Award because his blog is full with images and is so innovative.
5. And the last nomination goes to Caroline at In Search of Adam for The Thoughtful Blogger Award for her lovely comments she always leaves.

Now those nominated should pop over to here to receive their awards and find out what to do.

The next session of the RNA Conference 'Three Ways Into Print - Newly Published Panel'. Julia Williams(novel racer - Jane Henry) who book is due out this autumn by Avon, Jean Fullertonwhose book came out with Triskelion, and Natalie Rivers with Harlequin/Mills & Boon. The wonderful Katie Fforde chaired the session and each of the authors spoke of their journey into print.

Julia began by saying don't give up as it has taken her nine years to reach this point and she began as an editor! She reminded us that nothing is ever wasted on the journey and what doesn't work for one book may well work for another. Finally she said you need that all important dash of fairy dust to get you on your way.

Natalie's route started early and when she was so close she packed it all in. It was only many years later that she picked up again and reached her goal.

Jean's route has been hit by her publisher going bankrupt but she won the Harry Bowling Award last year and had just signed with an agent so things were looking up. he left us with a powerful image regarding editing your work. Remember that when you cut back the hedges you then see the weeds underneath!

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

-Be harsh

-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)