My Top Five Tips for First-Timers Going to RWA

Many of us in the romance community are gearing up for the Romance Writers of America’s (RWA) national conference in Atlanta, GA in two weeks. Thousands of romance writers and industry folks (bloggers, librarians, editors, agents, etc) come together ever  year at the annual conference. It is an opportunity to meet up with old friends, make new friends, network, learn, hone your craft, and get tons of free books and swag! The four day conference kicks off with the Literacy Signing and culminates with the Golden Heart and RITA awards ceremony Saturday night. During the four days, there are workshops, book signings, and lots of social events to take part of. I attended my first RWA conference in Anaheim, CA last year and it was an amazing experience. I got to meet and speak with some of my favorite authors (many of whom I’d only previously known via Twitter and Facebook)  learn some basics about the publishing industry, meet tons of new-to-me authors, attended many informative workshops (including one on the ins and outs of writing love scenes!) and come home with a suitcase full of books that barely made the weight limit.

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I wasn’t kidding-this isn’t even a fraction of my haul!

That being said, attending RWA for the first time can be a bit daunting  and intimidating. There’s a lot of people there, there’s a lot to do, and it can be overwhelming, especially if you’re new and don’t “know” a lot of people. So here are some of my tips, based on my experience last year. Continue reading

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Yes… and?

In my last post, I wrote about remixing stories and how I am using my latest project as a workout for my own writing and imagination muscles. Just like our physical muscles need to be pushed and challenged in new ways, our brains need the same kind of workout. If we always do bicep curls, we’re going to have some fantastic biceps, but our other muscles will look pretty puny in comparison!

So I’d like to share with you one of the fundamental rules I have for writing and, indeed, for my life in general. It’s something that I learned a long time ago (but in a galaxy fairly nearby) in elementary school theatre classes:

Yes… and?

Let me ‘splain.

Baby Kim says "Yes!" (and mugs for the camera, like usual)

Baby Kim says “Yes!” (and mugs for the camera, like usual)

I went to an arts magnet school, which basically means I was groomed to be a theatre/music/art nerd from the earliest stages. At least three times a week, we’d all shuffle in to theatre class, which was sometimes held in a hallway when the school was remodeling one year. Before we started anything else, our lovely teacher (think: Miss Honey from Matilda) would set us up for an improv game. “Just to get our minds and bodies going,” she’d say.

Our favorite game was one we called “Person, Place, and Thing.” The small group of three or four students would stand in front of the room as the other students called out a person, place, and thing. So, the group in front might get “fire fighter, bathroom, magazine.” And with these three pieces of information, the group would have to improv a story with characters and setting and some conflict that needed to be resolved. And there were only two rules:

1) Anything goes.

2) You can never say no. Continue reading

Revisions – Part 2: Taking The Novel Apart

RevisionsThis is part two of my journey through revisions. If you missed part one, find it here.

In this article, we will dig more into those first edits affectionately referred to as rewrites. It’s taking the story apart and evaluating each part.  Anna DeStefano discusses this in detail in her blog How We Write.

I have to say I love her technique.  It allows me to take the 400+ pages I’ve written and break it up into smaller chunks.  Easier to manage right?  To manage yes, but to do for me is still a challenge.

You are going to need a lot of post it flags in various colors, an assortment of highlighters, and a printout of your novel. Continue reading

Learning to Revise: Part 1

badparagraphThe weekend of May 17th, I went up to Muse Mountain for a writer’s retreat as a day tripper. Anna DeStefano was there to do her workshops on planning and character, drafting, and revisions. It was the revision one that caught my attention. Revision for me is the dreaded task. I know it must be done, but I was clueless where to start.

I’ve explored this topic before. I’ve purchased craft books, read blogs and tried to do it myself. I fixed grammar, added commas and checked my dialog tags.  Still the story didn’t shine. It was sagging in the middle. I had a lot to learn about revisions. Continue reading

How I Decide Which Authors to Follow on Twitter

Ace of HashtagsThere are plenty of articles on how to use twitter effectively and I’m not going to write about that here. Go forth and Google that on your own. What I am here to tell you about is what I look for when I see someone’s tweets, whether directly from that person (via a hashtag I follow) or retweeted from someone else. What is it that makes me decide that I really need to follow this person and add to the endless stream of information that flies past my eyes when I’m not on self-imposed “I’m writing and don’t bother me” radio silence, so to speak?

Honestly, it starts with your twitter bio. Okay, technically it starts with that tweet that makes me take an interest in you and click on your twitter bio in the first place. Once you’ve piqued my interest with that tweet, I ask myself three things. Continue reading

Write What You Know

Write what you know.

It is the mantra drilled into us by every single writing teacher, a stifling force to our creativity. From day one, it is preached to us that in order to write effectively, we must only stick to that which we hold intelligence on. We start to think then that we are limited only to what we live every day, and for most of us, that leaves only boring tidbits no story can be fully formed from. If I was only to write in my novel what I “experience,” it would be divested down to the following lines: I like pink and pit bulls and have an unhealthy shoe obsession. Would you like to hear about my seventeen thousand heels? After the first twenty shoes, your eyes would glaze over.

I’ve often thought that every person, no matter how “interesting” their life seems on the outside, is convinced at one point that they lead a boring existence no one wants to hear about. For a writer, this is particularly painful. You’ve got stories bubbling at the surface but you can’t bring yourself to put them down on the page, perhaps because you think people won’t like what you write, or you worry they’ll flop down on their pillow and drool. Or maybe you feel limited by your subject matter, like what you do every day as a person isn’t worthy of a book. Continue reading

Twitter Finds

coffee-laptopI have an early morning routine. Every morning between 5:30 and 6:00 am, I sit down with my first cup of coffee and start my twitter browsing and posting to Facebook to share with the RWA Special Interest Group the Beau Monde.

I post links to blogs about writing, history, fashion and other things of interest to those who write Regency Historical romances.  I constantly get asked how I find all the different things I’ve found and I thought I’d blog about it. Continue reading