I have to apologize for having been incognito for so long. I spent the last many years dealing with illnesses and deaths, moving, and getting my life back together. In other words: life in general. Unfortunately, I am no longer in New Orleans, but I’ve kept the “New” part of the name. I’m currently residing in New Mexico. Although I miss the excitement of the city, the desert is an inspiration.
To that end, in recent months I’ve become the President of Celtic Hearts Romance Writers, a chapter of Romance Writers of America. I’m thoroughly enjoying my tenure, and looking forward to the organization’s annual conference this summer. To that end, I’ve reread an article in a past edition of RWR (the Romance Writer’s Report). Today, I have two articles for you. First is a recap of that Feb 2015 article by Liz Tyner in the RWR, and my takeaway from it. Second, I’ve put together a list of Romance Rules drawn from Leigh Michael’s ON WRITING ROMANCE.
Is RWA Nationals Right for You?
RWA2016 is just around the corner. Are you going? Are you prepared? Or, maybe you haven’t registered because you don’t think you’re ready for the big step of attendance. To be honest, this is my first year. Yes. I will be attending. I pulled out a random back-issue of the Romance Writers Report, and it seemed fate was in my hands. The first story dealt with the convention, albeit a previous one. But, it gave great advice, that I’m going to share here.
Liz Tyner, the author of “Following a Dream to New York” (RWR, Feb ‘15) described her experience when she first arrived in New York City five years ago. It was her first conference, and she felt elated. The city rose high around here, the sites, the sounds. Ah, breathtaking! “Alicia Keys,” she wrote, “was singing about dreams coming true in New York.” This year’s conference might not be in The Big Apple, but our dreams can come just as true in San Diego! As she relates,no matter where it is held, the conference provides the opportunity to learn the writer’s craft, and to network.
For oft-closeted writers, a chance to network with other authors is not to be missed! Famous authors are suddenly at hand, and maybe next to you in line for a book signing. H.M. Ward, and Kristan Higgins surprised Liz at her conference.
She reminds us to hurry to our preferred events, because seating fills up fast. And, make sure you attend the Awards Ceremony! That’s when all the big names are sure to be in the room with you! Then, she reminds us that EVERYONE benefits, no matter what point we are at in our careers. Liz attended her first conference prior to being published. That may have been the thing that helped her focus on her career.
This summer will be my first RWA conference. I hope I’ll see you there.
In trying to write my first romance, I’ve picked up a new book. Well, new to me, since it was published in 2007. It’s Leigh Michael’s ON WRITING ROMANCE. Right off the bat, I found really useful information in the form of the basic rules of writing a romance. They are as follows (or at least my interpretation of the rules):
1. A romance is first and foremost, the story of love developing between a man and woman (or what have you), who must solve some problem that is trying to force them apart, but which causes them to realize that they are meant for one another, come hell or high water, thus leading to commitment to one another and the happy ending.
2. A romance must have the happy ending in which the heroine and hero (usually) plan for a forever relationship.
3. A heroine often has a confidante with whom she shares her background, weaknesses, and thoughts, so that the author doesn’t have to do it.
4. Past relationships or marriages are usually well and truly over and divorce final before the hero and heroine begin their new one.
5. Romance readers generally expect their characters to be likeable.
6. Romance readers also like an exciting story with the happily ever after ending.
7. By all means, plan out your novel, but planning can also be a never-ending story. Finish planning, and start writing.
Dana Elmendorf, author of South of Sunshine, in her guest column for Chuck Sambuchino at Writers’ Digest, provides a list of truths, as she sees them. In effect, she is helping to prepare those who follow her on the trek to publication.
‘Write to Done’ provides a nice structure for plotting — even when you’re a pantster.
Jane Friedman discusses her essay contribution to a new anthology by the same title.