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One of the best features of book/writing conventions are the workshops. Romantic Times offers three tracks: Writer, readers and book seller/librarian. As a multi-published author many have asked why I still find value in writing workshops. As a professional, I say–stagnate and die on the vine. There are not many professions I can think of that don’t require ongoing education in keeping abreast of industry trends and further honing one’s craft. Authorship is no different.
As a reader you may wish to proceed no further**SPOILERS*** Tips of the trade are about to be revealed.
Author Tara Taylor Quinn led Staying Focused In a Time Crunched World. Her advise could well serve those in any profession. She used Maslow’s hierarchy of needs to remind us that no one produces quality work if their more basic needs are ignored. Eat, drink, sleep, exercise–all vital to keep the mind sharp. More interesting and perhaps less considered–the need for love and acceptance. Is this the reason so many authors over spend time online? Yahoo groups, Facebook and Twitter can be addictive if one is craving human interaction. Find your love and acceptance outside the business at hand–creating a great book.
It takes a well fed author to face the blank screen every morning. Remain congruent to your goals; disallow your life roles to take over your passion. Be who you believe you are. No one can take away your right to believe.
Super Agent Deidre Knight reminded us that change brings opportunity and that the publisher’s number one job should be in creating a market for each of their authors. Most surprising was her take on Hollywood. You might be tickled to hear that book-to- film aquisitionists are on the prudish side and dislike novels with too much/too explicit sex. Seems even Hollywood knows, at least theoretically, that good story is paramount.
Your first and most important audience member–is you, dear author. Write what moves you. Write what you’d love to read and your audience will follow.
Soft spoken, thought out Dean Koontz writes one page at a time, polishing it to high literary gloss before moving to the next.
All writer’s block revolves around self doubt, says Mr. Koontz. Dyslexics seems to be able to read the meter and format of his work better than other authors, as he gets fan letters telling him so and even he is amazed by the exponential growth in e-books via his sales–25 thousand units one year, 135 thousand units the next. That is the stuff of legend.
Want to write/be the focus of an article or be otherwise ‘seen’ in the media? HelpAReporterOut.com (HARO) is the place to connect says the Marketing panel. Everything online is your resume, so don’t put anything out there you would not want to be seen or read. Evidently there are some publishers that have in house author-only help websites to walk their stable of writer’s through the maze of promotions. Which begs the question: Why don’t ALL publishers provide this? Seems a terrible waste of writing talent to require authors to do the lion share of their promotion AND to reinvent the wheel of promo to the detriment of what they are excellent at–producing the next great novel. It is a steep and treacherous learning curve, being a self-publicist, even if motivated. But that is the stuff of a blog unto itself.
Cherry Adair, Catherine Coulter, Caridad Pineiro and Gennita Low (NY Times best sellers, all) shared their wisdom revolving around producing a page turning Romantic Suspense.
Cliffhanger chapter one–“running chasing, shooting, killing, kissing, falling down, sex, more running, chasing, shooting, killing…” Don’t break the momentum of action until a breathing space is needed–allowing the characters and readers to catch their real and metaphorical breath. (A ‘plateau’ for readers to rest) Action shalt not overwhelm the romance lest you be writing a thriller. Internal dialogue/introspection slows the pace and ‘tells’ the reader rather than the preferable ‘showing’ through sizzling dialogue.
Give each character a birth date and follow the characteristics, good and bad, listed in astrology (such as Linda Goodman’s Sun Signs) If they are not as you imagined for that character, give him/her life experiences to make them grow into that person you had imagined. When the chips are down, does your character revert back to their negative birth date characteristics (who they were born to be) or do they adhere to who they have grown to be? Do this/answer this and you shall always have multifaceted, fascinating characters.
Catherine: “Use ‘said'” (and not a bunch of cutesie tags) Dialogue helps the reader question intentions as it can and does in real life.
believe Nora Roberts is an alien life form as she could not produce all she does without extra terrestrial help. Don’t’ prune until you make your page count for the day. “Get into a scene late and get out early.” (pacing). “Give yourself permission to write crap.” You can’t edit a blank page. Write a list of what should be accomplished in a scene: Ask yourself often WITFPOTS (What Is The F**king Point Of This Scene)
Caridad: Don’t give away too much too soon (The Hansel and Gretal sprinkling of breadcrumbs for the reader to follow) How quickly you want something resolved will help determine which character’s point of view a scene should be in. “The only thing wrong with your writing is…not writing.”
The amazing generosity of the workshop presenters just reinforces the wonderful brother and sisterhood of authors.
Oh…all the rage?? Author Book Trading Cards.
Like baseball cards they are small, colorful, informative and very COLLECTABLE. Readers are asking for them. Check it out: www.romancetradingcards.com (template link provided on FAQ page- http://www.jeannielin.com/index.php/romance-trading-cards) and the place to get ’em printed: GotPrint.com and select Collector Cards (2.5 x 3.5). Put in your order. The standard is 14pt gloss cover, Color both sides, No rounded edges.
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See y’all at RWA New York Marriott Times Square June 28th…and right here of course with more RT fun. Can accounts of the masquerade balls and parties be far off? Come back tomorrow for a recount of the fairy tale nights…