I also did three fantastic workshops (two with the talented Denise Rossetti and one with the lovely Kelly Hunter) and learnt lots of stuff about Deep POV, heroes and even a bit about the world of erotic romance.
Well... I also sat next to one of my favourite authors, Kelly Hunter for the dinner on Saturday night and chatted about the direction of Modern Heat, my current mss and editors. So interesting.
Come on... admit it... you're GREEN!!!
But you'd probably like more info... so here's the gems from the day. In my opinion at least.
The first session I did was 'Deep POV' with Denise Rossetti. As well as telling us exactly what Deep POV is and why it's necessary if you want readers to connect with your characters, she tortured us with writing exercises. What I learnt from this is that if you're struggling with writing Deep POV, it may pay to try writing the scene in first person and then changing it to the Deep POV of the pov character.
Also her tips on Deep POV killers:
*Don't use 'with' followed by an emotion - eg. Jean's skin prickled with fear. Show this instead.
*Watch out for words like 'knew' too - eg. Kevin knew Sarah was terrified. How???
She also pointed out that how the character swears can show a lot about he/she. Think about the difference between someone saying 'F*&k', 'Ah heck', 'Hell,' or 'Goodness gracious me.'
Next I went to Kelly Hunter's workshop on Heroes. She made us think about what we like in our real-life romance hero and what we dislike in men. Interesting that out of the session many of us realised there were traits we quite liked in a hero but would NEVER put up with in a boyfriend/husband.
Kelly said that in romance we should write 'REALLY hero's.' Ie. Heroes that are REALLY hot, REALLY rich, REALLY smart, REALLY talented. This means choosing their qualities and amplifying them. She taught us that the hero sets the tone of the book and this really rang bells for me. One of the reasons I feel I'm struggling with my current wip is that I haven't got this hero quite right yet.
In terms of heroes we all agreed to loving the bad boy and Kelly pondered that this is probably because the batter the hero the better the trip to the light for him, which is what we readers love. The heroine of course will be the only woman who could ever reform him!
I then went to Denise's sealed section, which was not just about writing sex but specifcially erotica. Although I don't plan on writing erotic romance, I learnt lots of great stuff here. She again reminded that unless you write in Deep POV, your sex scenes won't mean a thing. Readers need to experience the emotion of sex through one (at least) of the characters.
In this session we discussed how REAL you have to make the sex scenes. Ie. Getting the balance between fantasy and 'yes-that-could-actually-work.'
One final thing that struck a cord with me in Denise's session is that for characters to 'make love' there must be at least some trust. People are never as vulnerable as when they are having sex.
Overall one key thing I took from the day is the reminder that it's okay to write crap and cliches in a first draft. That to complete a mss, you need to get down a dirty draft and go back and polish to remove/change the cliched type things. Kelly also pointed out that in romance it's OKAY to use the language that has been used for years - ie. the words frequently seen in a romance, like dangerous.
As you can see it was a jam-packed day. But not only were the workshops valuable and inspiring, the social side of getting together with other romance writers should never be underestimated. I met some more lovely people, one who travelled all the way from Sydney and is targetting the same line as me (hi Janette) and chatted with old friends who I don't get to see nearly as much as I'd like. Once again... the generosity of romance writers amazed me.