Sunday, May 24, 2009

Romance Roadshow Wrap-Up!

I spent all day Saturday in the company of like-minded women who love writing romance as much as I do! 

Jealous yet?

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. 

Still jealous?

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.

I'd like to offer a HUGE thanks to Kelly Hunter, Denise Rossetti and Keri Arthur for taking the time to hike to Perth and offer us your wisdom! You guys rock!

14 comments:

Becca J. Heath said...

Greener than green.
Sigh...
It sounds great!
Sigh...

Jackie Ashenden said...

Green? Is Kermit the frog green?? Oh my God, I'm greener than a green thing on St Patrick's Day! It sounds soooo cool. I'm with Becca, sigh...

Interesting re the deep POV. Must remember some of those tips. And heroes... And okay to write cliches. Can't get away from them really. Oooh, you lucky thing. This is a great post. Thanks heaps for this, Rach.

Just one last thing: what WAS the direction of Modern Heat then??

Felicity Roger said...

Jealous...oh yes I am. You didn't do anything silly like rub yourself up against Kelly Hunter for luck. I would have done that (in fact I think I tried to at last year RWA conference). It sounds fantastic and loved Denise's take on Deep POV, I have a very angry hero and heroine at the moment and I am going to try that.

Lucky lucky you....

Fiona Lowe said...

So glad you had a great day and the opportunity to sit next to Kelly at dinner and grill...I mean talk ;-) to her about Modern Heat would have been so valuable. Great stuff!

Lorraine said...

Ooh, thanks for sharing Rach :-)

I saw your comment about deep POV on Lacey's blog and headed over, hoping you'd have blogged about it. Really helpful hints, thanks.

What a great opportunity to chat to people. I echo Jackie's question - What IS the direction MH is going in???

Eleni Konstantine said...

Well that sounds like on hell of a fantastic day Rach! Lucky you. Great pointers from the greats there. Your enthusiasm is bubbling over.....that's so cool.

Christina Phillips said...

It was a truly fabulous day, Rach! So lovely seeing you again, although the time flashed by so fast I didn't get the chance to catch up properly with you!!

Joanne said...

Sounds fantastic Rach - and I'm def jealous ;)

Thanks for the tips, esp about showing not telling :)

How wonderful that you got to sit next to the lovely KH - lucky girl!!!!!

Lacey Devlin said...

Thanks for sharing Rach! The little green monster on my shoulder and I are off to have a sulk in the corner... :)

Romy said...

What an amazing experience! And thanks so much for sharing it with us.

Lucy King said...

Fascinating stuff - am most envious. I love Kelly Hunter's books!

Janette Radevski said...

Hi Rach - Even though i was there, I too was GREEN when I arrived at dinner. All good though, I got to have a good chat to her whilst waiting for the plane...

Re the direction for MH - Kelly was saying that they are pushing for a more Modern/Presents/Sexy type hero. So writers that want to go into the US/Canada need to make thier heros fit the bill because they are all going out in North America as Presents... I think that is right. Rach can correct me if I am wrong.

Also - Sorry Jackie, I promised notes but Rach's blog sums up the day pretty well - we attended the same workshops...

Rachael Johns said...

THanks Janette for filling everyone in on Kelly's talk about the direction of MH! Sorry for not saying this myself sooner Lorraine :)

Basically it's what I think we already knew but just clarification.

She did also say though that Richmond don't mind if the books don't go to NA as they make enough money from their own markets!!

Janette Radevski said...

Was hoping that was it :-)