Waiting for "The Call"

“Honey, it’s always crap. Every book I write is crap. It’s my job to fix the crap afterwards,” according to Nora Roberts. Well, I've got it half right. Still working on the "fixing it" part. "Trust your characters to be complex enough and to have enough emotional baggage. Force them to make hard choices." Advice from Michelle Styles that might help!

Learning… November 25, 2009

Writing books on my bedside table-
I don’t believe we need to spend a fortune on “how to write” books, but I still can’t resist buying them, in case there really is some magic secret.

Besides read the sort of books you want to write, then write, write, write, write!

Some writing books really are helpful- these are a few I’ve kept a hold of-

On Writing by Stephen King
One of the best. Possibly a little self-indulgent, but inspiring and very funny. Best quote- “Adverbs are not your friend.”
Kate Walker’s 12 Point Guide to Writing Romance
This book is quoted by more published series romance writers than any other as the one that helped them get published. The real value is in the exercises- use this book right and it’s an intensive workshop. I’ve read it, but now I need to sit down and do the work!

Techniques of the Selling Writer
This is the writer (mostly short stories) who invented the concepts of Scene and Sequel and Motivation Reaction Units, but there’s a lot more in here besides. I must read this one again.

Writing a Romance Novel for Dummies
Basic but excellent advice from the Queen of Harlequin Editors. I should read this again too!

Revision and Self-Editing: Techniques for Transforming Your First Draft into a Finished Novel
Haven’t started this yet but it looks interesting.

Goal Motivation Conflict by Deborah Dixon
Fabulous book. If you want it, don’t look on Amazon, the prices there are ridiculous. Go direct to the publisher Gryphon Books For Writers and buy from them.

Strunk and White The Elements of Style
The classic guide to writing clearly and correctly, though it is US English which may not be considered right by everyone!
The original 1918 version is a delight and can be read for free online here.

Not a “how to write” book at all, but laugh-out-loud funny- the Smart Bitches book goes beyond the blog Beyond Heaving Bosoms: The Smart Bitches’ Guide to Romance Novels

Workshops I’ve done

Okay, I don’t think we necessarily need to pay for workshops to learn how to write romance either. One of the things I love about the romance writing community is the generosity to newbies of published writers. There’s loads of information out there on writers’ blogs and websites. And the best way to learn to write is still to write. But sometimes I like the additional focus of taking a workshop!

Kate Walker: I did a 2 hour workshop in 2008 at the Lincoln Book Festival. Kate packed a lot into 2 hours, all the basics about character driven plotting, story arc, and conflict. She lists her upcoming workshops on her website.

April Kilhstrom’s Book in a Week : I took this five week online workshop in April/May and it was fabulous! Three weeks of writing preparation, followed by a week of intensive writing, with a wrap up week after. I think I will discover how much I really learned from this workshop when I come to apply some of the tools I developed in the planning weeks on my next story. April is a great teacher and responds fast to student questions. More info here.

– Kara Lennox’s Plot Doctor online workshop. Excellent course and a fab tutor! I was disappointed I didn’t have the first draft of the story I planned to work on finished in time, as I wasn’t as focused as I’d liked to be.

Susan Meier’s Can This Book Be Saved online workshop. Starts next week!


One Response to “Learning…”

  1. Just so you know, Kara Lennox is changing the title of her workshop because it conflicted with the name of my Plot Doctor workbook.

    I’m so glad you learned a lot from her. She’s a talented writer and a gifted teacher. And, most of all, she’s a super-nice person.

    Carolyn Greene
    The Plot Doctor

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