Wednesday, October 26, 2011

November Writing Workshops

It's your last chance before Christmas to get a little bit of craft improvement in.  There's everything from plotting, to characterization to firearms.  I'm not planning on doing NaNoWriMo this year so I think I'll be signing up for a few of these instead.  Also, keep an eye out for romance royalty - Donna Alward's and Shirley Jump's courses are in red. 

Please note that all course descriptions are in blurb form and more information can be found at the official websites. The writing workshops are listed in order of start date and length.
Writing Between The Sexes (using gender differences to create believable characters)
Instructor: Leigh Michaels
Dates: October 31 – November 25
Course Description: Have you ever read a mystery where the heroine sounds like an oversexed gangster? Or a romance where the hero sounds more like a girlfriend than a man? Chances are, the oversexed heroine was created by a male author; the tender, emotional hero by a woman. Men and women think, act, and talk differently – which causes problems for writers who are trying to create characters of the opposite sex.

Learn about the most common gender differences, and use them to create believable characters of the opposite sex. (And along the way, you may get some great ideas about how to deal with your husband, boyfriend, boss, big brother, or other assorted males -- or for the first time, understand what's really going on inside the head of your wife, girlfriend, mom...)

Instructor: Beth Daniels
Dates: November 2011
Course Description: This workshop will put emphsis on character tells, actions sequences, verbal nuances, visuals with background, wardrobe and character description, plus sound, touch, scent and taste.

Instructor: Suzanne Rock
Dates: November 1 – 30, 2011
Course Description: This course is for beginners who want to learn more about the ins and outs of digital publishing. Over the span of eight classes, this workshop will cover:
• Writing Goals
• Myths about e-publishing
• Small vs big e-presses
• Contracts
• Self publishing, vanity and subsidy presses
• Book Promotion
Instructor: Beth Henderson
Dates: November 1 – 22, 2011
Course Description: Feel like your once very creative muse has crawled into a hamster wheel? You know, nothing but the same old sort of storyline keeps coming to mind and while that can be comforting to some, to many writers it’s like an itch they can’t scratch. We need diversity, we need challenges! We need to do something different occasionally or something silly, or even something downright weird. You know, retrain your muse or at least give them a refresher course!

The Brain Map: Create Intricate Plots & Compelling, Unforgettable Characters
Instructor: Shirley Jump
Dates: November 1 – 30, 2011
Course Description: Editors love books that are character driven and have layered plots. Learn how to create novels with plots created by the characters themselves, using Shirley Jump’s Brainmap Technique, giving a stronger, more powerful–and more emotional story. If you’re stuck in your writing, needing inspiration or just want to learn more about developing characters and developing a multi-layered plot, you’ll get the boost you need for this class with New York Times bestselling author Shirley Jump!

Mindful Creativity
Instructor: Dr. Mary O’Gara
Dates: November 1 – 30, 2011
Course Description: Mindful Creating, aka How to get the most from your muse when you want it, is a month-long workshop focusing on quieting, focusing and working with your creative mind. You’ve taken your Inner Writer on artist dates and talked to her in morning pages; you’ve tried all the writing software and attended all the workshops. You may have plotted six thousand books you haven’t written yet or learned to write a book in a month. And whatever you’ve done is good–but it’s the dating and courtship stage.

Strategizing Contest Workshop
Instructor: Nina Bruhns
Dates: November 3 – 12, 2011
Course Description: Entering writing contests is definitely one of the very best ways for a new writer to get her work in front of an editor or agent. But there is a method to the madness. How do you best position your work to final, and garner special notice by those all-important final judges? Just print off the right number of pages and send it in…right? Wrong!

Characterization Made Easy
Instructor: Caroline Clemmons
Dates: November 7 –13, 2011
Course Description: Characterization Made Very, Very, Very Easy. “Yeah, right,” you say. Okay, maybe that’s a teensy weensy exaggeration. Seriously, since I found this method, coming up with characters that bring the plot with them is not as difficult as it used to be. What do you remember about your favorite novels? For most of us, it’s the characters. Readers love to be surprised by a character’s actions and secrets.

Creating Fresh Content for Your Blog
Instructor: Alice Osborn
Dates: November 7 –13, 2011
Course Description: Blogs grow and attract readers because of their content and because they help readers solve problems. Join experienced blogger Alice Osborn as she shares tips and tricks on gathering ideas, creating the perfect headline, developing posting templates to make content creation a snap, and third-party help. All of these techniques have proven results! Most of all, Alice will drive home that blogs need to be reader centered and they need to answer the question: why should I care?

Deconstructing Harry Potter
Instructor: Devon Ellington
Dates: November 7 –13, 2011
Course Description: JK Rowling’s Harry Potter books have captivated both children and adults around the world, and the films solidified its place in the canons of both mediums. Spend a week in lively discussion deconstructing both the books and the films, how they reflect and refract each other, in terms of character, plot, construction, book-specific arcs vs. series arcs, production values, adaptation techniques, themes, etc.

Worldbuilding – Swearing/Speaking in Alien Tongues
Instructor: Linnea Sinclair
Dates: November 7 – 14, 2011
Course Description: A unique and fun way to add realism to your SFF world building is to watch how your characters insult each other…or other species. Whatever your alien culture values or disdains can be used to create epithets and derogatory remarks—and be used to unobtrusively teach your reader about your world. The same holds true with constructed languages. Look at how Klingon has become a reality in our culture, complete with Klingon dictionaries and Shakespeare translations.

BDSM For Writers – Character/Scene Analysis
Instructor: Dr. Charley Ferrer
Dates: November 7 – 15, 2011
Course Description: Now that you have a basic understanding of BDSM and know how to distinguish between the various relationships and character traits, we will address characters and BDSM scenes in your book. Learn the tricks that lifestyle practitioners use and incorporate them into your writing. We will analyze your scenes and ensure they work! Authors are encouraged to submit scenes from their upcoming novels to work on.

Blockbusting: Putting the Joy Back in Writing
Instructor: Laurie Schnebly Campbell
Dates: November 7 – 18, 2011
Course Description: At some point, almost all writers suffer from the inability to tell the story they want. Part of writer's block is a lack of joy in the process. So counselor Laurie Schnebly Campbell looks at the causes -- including exhaustion, boredom and fear of success -- and the benefits of this block. Writers finish this session new awareness of what works for them, and renewed inspiration for returning to the craft they love.

Create Your Own Book Trailer
Instructor: Kris Tualla
Dates: November 7 – 20, 2011
Course Description: Book Trailers are 60-to-90-second presentations that describe your book in the same way a movie trailer describes a movie. They are teasers, meant to make people want to read your books. Book trailer companies charge fees beginning around $300 for their services. In this class you'll learn how to make your own trailers for less than $20 in purchased professional photos plus approximately $49 for a PowerPoint to video conversion program: a cost which will be apportioned over all the trailers...

First Draft: A Book in Two Weeks
Instructor: Candace Havens
Dates: November 7 – 20, 2011
Course Description: Fear and Excuses. Those are the two biggest reasons people don't finish their novel, but they'll say it's time. Candace Havens shows you how to get around the fear and put those words on the page for those first drafts. Her techniques have worked for 1000s of writers and if you follow the rules you'll have a completed novel in 14 days.

Point of View – The Camera’s Eye
Instructor: Masha Holl
Dates: November 7 – 20, 2011
Course Description: Point of View - The Camera's Eye I. Technical Aspects A. Definition B. Types C. Uses II. Practical Aspects A. Picking a POV character B. Defining a character's POV C. Involving the senses III. To switch or not to switch A. A choice to make B. The effect on the reader IV. Deep and deeper POV (3rd person vs. omniscient) A. What the author knows and what the character knows B. Whose eyes are watching C. Whose mind is analyzing ...

Plotting Subplots
Instructor: June Diehl
Dates: November 7 – November 20, 2011
Course Description: Plotting Subplots explores the nature, purpose, and types of subplots that can be used in novels. We will look at ways to develop subplots based on main and secondary characters and to chart the ebb and flow of subplots within the main plot. We will look at some subplots from published novels and the participants’ writing and where subplots might be developed....

Police Use of Force
Instructor: Rory Miller
Dates: November 7 –26, 2011
Course Description: Want to make your Law Enforcement character come alive, give her what she needs to know so that she thinks and acts like a real cop when things go bad? Rory Miller, author of "Meditations on Violence" will provide a class on Use of Force exactly as it is taught to Police Academy officers (with a few insights from the grizzled veteran point of view.) You will learn what constitutes a threat, how officers are taught to discern when force is appropriate and how much to use....

A Writer’s Guide to Harry Potter
Instructor: Susan Sipal
Dates: November 7 – December 4, 2011
Course Description: Though many an envious writer would like to think JK Rowling’s secret to success is just a bunch of magical mayhem, we Muggle writers can learn from the skills which have made her Harry Potter series more than beloved, but truly an absolute obsession among millions. Using Ms Rowling’s phenomenally popular series as a base, we will delve below the surface of her prose to determine what made her writing so magical for so many.

Ignite Your Fiction
Instructor: Sally J. Walker
Dates: November 7 – December 4, 2011
Course Description: Learn how to examine and WRITE succinct, vivid examples of Exposition, Description, Narration/Summary, and Action-Dialogue. Experienced writers will learn to "think" in revision and New writers will work on the habit of purpose from the very start. Each of these “Elements of Prose” will be dissected for what is essential for today's sophisticated readers and the highly competitive fiction market. The concept of pacing in character and plot will be stressed, as well as development of the writer...

Joomla – Web Design
Instructor: L. Pepper Norris
Dates: November 7 – December 4, 2011
Course Description: This class will focus on using the free web design software called Joomla, which is similar to WordPress but has some advanced features that can give you more professional-looking website. It will include: understanding which version of Joomla to use, choosing templates, creating pages and blogs, using modules, creating menus, allowing users, creating links, managing images, and much more.

Conflict Makes The Story
Instructor: Cheryl St. John
Dates: November 8 – December 23, 2011
Course Description: Cheryl will explain opposing goals and how to create conflict that will sustain a story. She’ll give practical advice on:
• Motivating characters
• Creating characters with built-in conflict
• Revealing emotion through conflict
• Internal and external conflict
Instructor: Jodi Henley
Dates: November 13 – 19, 2011
Course Description: Prologue Structure is a tightly focused, highly interactive four day workshop that uses the participant’s own work in progress to create a workable, fully integrated prologue Day One: Do you really need a prologue? The pros and cons of using a prologue. What are you trying to show? Character-driven vs. plot-driven, two styles. Stylized, dramatic, emotional—finding your voice and hook. When is it a first chapter, not a prologue? Putting it all together.

Blasting Through Blah!
Instructor: Donna Alward
Dates: November 14 – 20, 2011
Course Description: Most authors have written a scene that just doesn’t feel quite right, or lacks that certain spark. Saggy middles? Stilted dialogue? Can’t seem to see what’s wrong? This one-week workshop will introduce some fun techniques to blast through the blahs of your manuscript! Come prepared with a work in progress, as each day attendees will try their hand at employing the day’s technique.

Roman Empire Promotion for Authors
Instructor: Deborah Magnus
Dates: November 14 – 20, 2011
Course Description: This third in the series of workshops is easily the most powerful, hard core and down to the nitty gritty workshop of them all. Roman Empire Promotions for Authors builds upon everything taught in the publicity and marketing workshops, and follows up with military-like strategy designed to simplify the implementation of strong, effective book events and promotions. If an author is now to do jobs like Publicity, Marketing or Promotions, they need to know the ropes.

The Character’s Arc
Instructor: Sue Viders and Becky Martinez
Dates: November 14 – 20, 2011
Course Description: We all know that stories have a beginning, middle and an end, but the character who starts out your story is going to be a lot different by the time the story ends. Characters grow, change and develop over the course of a good book. How does that happen and how can you build a character that will fully develop before the reader’s eyes? Why do you even need a character arc? How does it coincide with the story arc?

The Business of Creative Writing
Instructor: Alice Osborn
Dates: November 14 – 27, 2011
Course Description: These days even if you're a great writer, no one will know unless you work the business of writing. Writing is a war of attrition, and the writers who keep working on their craft and think like an entrepreneur are the ones who will succeed. In this workshop experienced instructor and writer Alice Osborn will discuss networking, maintaining submission logs, tracking expenses and income, cash flow, and social media, blogs and marketing.

Talking Back to Your Brain: The Art of Asking Questions
Instructor: Susan and Harry Squires
Dates: November 14 – December 11, 2011
Course Description: Did you ever wonder why one day you get stuck on a project while on another day your writing flows easily? Doesn’t it seem like sometimes your brain is actually fighting you? Well, maybe it is.

This class will help you learn how to be more effective in your writing and use these techniques in the rest of your life. Using your current work in progress, Susan and Harry Squires will show you how to solve problems (including writer’s block,), make your characters and plots deeper and more resonant, and create a book that keeps your reader turning pages.
Instructor: Beth Daniels
Dates: November 14 – December 16, 2011
Course Description: No matter what a character in a novel has to deal with when it comes to the major plot of a storyline, they still have a “normal” life to deal with on the side. In some manuscripts it’s an ongoing complication, in others it takes a back seat. But no matter what level in your story the day-to-day business of a character’s life falls, it’s gotta be part of your game plan. Most often it’s the subplot…even in a romance. Some times it needs to evolve and other times it barely gets tweaked.

Let Your Characters Do Your Plotting
Instructor: Jaye Roycraft
Dates: November 28 – December 3, 2011
Course Description: A great character will not only make your book memorable, but can actually do your plotting for you! If you’re an intuitive writer, this technique can work for you. Developing character-driven plots can reap huge rewards for you in terms of both characterization and plot. Instead of boring, one-dimensional characters and plots that feel forced, your story will flow and come to life, but it all begins with the character

Developing a Monthly E-newsletter
Instructor: Alice Osborn
Dates: November 28 – December 11, 2011
Course Description: Want a cost-effective way to build your business by nurturing your present and future customers? Then create an e-newsletter. In this challenging economy, writers should consider the e-newsletter as a vital part of their marketing plan to distinguish themselves from the competition and allow potential readers, agents and editors to get to know them.

How to Write an Easy Tell-All Synopsis
Instructor: Raquel Rodriguez
Dates: November 28 – December 18, 2011
Course Description: With easy worksheets, information and questions, never again be confused or dread this essential part of selling your story. No need to fear writing that synopsis. With my easy construction technique, utilize worksheets, easy to answer questions plus your characters' goals, motives, conflicts to tell everything about a story. And a character's emotional and romantic journey are as important as the main story.

Plot Bytes
Instructor: Beth Daniels
Dates: November 28 – December 23, 2011
Course Description: Clichés are the Grim Reapers of any creative endeavor. Or are they? What is a cliché after all? It’s something that has been used so often that an audience knows what to expect, isn’t it? No, I’m not suggesting you pepper your current plot with clichés – I’m suggesting that they aren’t all bad if you use them properly. Like crutches when your plot is limping along and you aren’t quite sure what should come next.

Power Writing
Instructor: P. June Diehl
Dates: November 28 – December 23, 2011
Course Description: You've developed real-life characters, learned to do more showing than telling, reworked description to become woven into characters and action, know how to write hooks and cliffhangers, make use of metaphors, flashbacks, and other devices. But what about something that is the basic of all good writing: sentence structure? What power does your writing have without the use the different types of sentences and putting them to the best use you can?

Happy writing!


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Give Your Writing A Boost

When one door closes another one opens, or a window opens...or a cat flap. The point is that something opens and if you’re still feeling a little tender from New Voices November’s going to be your cat flap.

Next month Harlequin will launch its second So You Think You Can Write workshop. Last year there was a variety of workshops and challenges to participate in.  I suspect that this year it'll be bigger and better.  One of the challenges from last year involved submitting a synopsis and first chapter to the editors who can then request to see more.  So, all is not lost to NV, another fantastic opportunity to catch an editor’s eye awaits you!

If you’d like to see what last year’s SYTYCW was all about click here.

Also, the official twitter account has just been launched @HarlequinSYTYCW and you can follow along with the tag: #SYTYCW2.

But that’s not all that’s happening next month. November is also NaNoWriMo month or National Novel Writing Month. If you haven’t come across NaNoWriMo before the goal is to write 50K in 30 days and the majority of the writing community signs up to cheer each other on. It’s a great way to finish the year and you'll have a completed draft to work on in the New Year. You can find out more information from the official site here.

Harlequin runs its own version of NaNoWriMo with a difference, allowing you to select your own word count for the month. Keep an eye out at the forums to sign up.

Stay tuned later in the week for tips on how to win NaNoWriMo 2011.

Until then, happy writing!


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Top 1069 Button

Elissa Graham's a glass half full kinda girl and when she wants a button you give the girl a button.  Make way for the Top 1069 buttons!

Okay, so really it should be a Top 1090 button but we're not including the disgusting talented people that make up the Top 21 because they have a button of their own ;-)

The buttons come in a variety of colours because I'm a Libran and I can't make tough decisions - that's also why I have too many shoes.

May you always have too many shoes and happy writing!


Friday, October 14, 2011

Why It Doesn't Suck To Miss Out On The Top 21

What does Nora Roberts, Stephenie Meyers, Charlaine Harris, Stephen King and Amanda Hocking all have in common?

They’ve all been rejected.


If you’re one of the 1069 who are licking their wounds today, having not made it into the Top 21 of Mills and Boon’s New Voices competition perhaps it’s because you’re following in the publication footsteps of the greats. People are going to try and kill each other to get to your new release first. That’s something to look forward to.

Of course, what’s going to happen in the future doesn’t help you right now, but this list of rejected authors might. I’ve started with #43 the Queen of romance herself, Nora Roberts, but the other links are in the sidebar. Find Nora and others here.

And remember, the editors haven't had the opportunity of reading a synopsis of your story and they can’t know how fabulous it really is. So, make sure you polish up your partial and send it off. Mills and Boon just bought a new author from last year’s competition and she didn’t make the Top 10 or the additional list of entries they requested more work from. Imagine what she would have missed out on if she hadn’t gone on and submitted anyway?

There’s also a lot less pressure on this side of the fence. You don’t have six days to churn out a perfect second chapter. The words “pivotal moment” aren’t going to make you hyperventilate. And you won’t be having dreams of giant roses eating your house.

You can be polishing while you’re wallowing so that you can get that partial into an editor’s hands ASAP.

For inspiring words from Mills and Boon authors check out:

Happy submitting and congratulations to this year's Top 21!


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

New Voices Competition Update 3

The first submission round of Mills and Boon’s New Voices competition closed with a bang yesterday and a whopping 1092 entries! That’s 271 more than in 2010 and it's now up to the judges to whittle that down to twenty.

Good luck to them!

As Madeline Ash pointed out, the Top Twenty will make up less than 2% which should indicate just how important it is to submit your story no matter what the results are.

The category percentages have also changed and stand at:

Contemporary Romance (50.3%)
Warm and Cosy (11.7%)
Historical (11.1%)
Paranormal (10.3%)
Romantic Suspense (9.4%)
Passion (7.2%)

I'm very impressed by the number of aspiring historical writers. Perhaps we'll see a historical entry or two in the top twenty this year. What do you think?

So, there's a whole 2 days, 8 hours, 25 minutes and 10 seconds until the Top Twenty announcement. Of course you can spend that time obsessively checking your entry and reading others, but if you'd also like to have something to do to keep your mind off the life changing news that could be coming your way I have some ideas...

1. Bestselling romance author, Nicola Marsh, is running a one week pitch competition in which you can win critiques by her and senior editor of Entangled Publishing, Liz Pelletier. You can find the details here.

2. The 26th Annual Hook, Line and Sinker competition has also launched to help you hone your skills for grabbing editor and agent’s attention. Find out more here.

Do you know of any other competitions in the works? Please let me know so I can add them to the list.

Good luck to all the NV entrants and happy writing/OCD inbox checking!


Thursday, October 6, 2011

The Wall of Fame: Yolande Pienaar

Today, we have another addition to The New Voices Wall of Fame 2011!  Please welcome Yolande Pienaar who submitted a Contemporary Romance entry yesterday. Congrats, Yolande!

Check out her blurb:

Veterinarian Laura Westbrook landed herself the receptionist job at a luxury lodge, but writer Grant Smith seems determined to get her fired. Despite hating his methods, Laura finds herself fighting to protect her heart as well as her job.

Grant is a hero on a mission but he may have bitten off more than he can chew because Laura's more than a pretty face.  Find out who wins in this battle of the sexes at:His Vet's Choice (Contemporary Romance) by Yolande Pienaar

Happy writing!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Wall of Fame: Caroline Hartin

I'm very excited to introduce our first Histroical New Voices entry.  A huge congratulations to Caroline Hartin (also known by fellow bloggers as Caroline Storer but shhh she's being sneaky ;-)  ).

Check out her awesome blurb:

Roman charioteer, Aulus Epidius Marsallas, had once loved Justina Philipus. But then she'd betrayed him. Now six years later the Fates have brought them together once more, and this time Marsallas wants revenge.

Find out what happens when a sexy (super sexy!), Roman charioteer has his desire for revenge sparked at:

Mistress to the Roman (Historical) by Caroline Hartin

Happy writing!


Sunday, October 2, 2011

New Voices Competition Update 2

Are you obsessively checking the New Voices competition site? Perhaps you've even thrown in your attempt to cover your tracks and set it as your home page.  I tell you what, I'm tempted.  I'm really tempted.  And I haven't even entered!

The rose bombings disappoint me, not because I wasn't expecting them, but wouldn't it be nice if we lived in a world where people weren't compelled to do that sort of thing.  *Sigh* I'll watch a Disney video later...  Does anyone else expect the rose terrorists haven't read the fine print?  Round one is all about the judges so they should really be thinking along the lines of three new sports cars in Tessa, Mandy and Jodie's favorite colors.  Heck, bribing me would probably be more effective than their current strategy (and by all means give it a go ;-) ).

There's just nine days left in the competition and only twelve until the top twenty announcement!  (There's also eleven until my birthday but I don't think that's going to influence Amazon's new Kindle November release dates...).

Currently, there are a whopping 466 entries, that's 31 new entries per working day (we're not including weekends because they're not uploading on weekends) and 240 of those are Contemporary Romance.

I think we know what the favorite category is.

What's fascinating to me is where the Passion section is ranking.  I really thought it would be more popular.  For now, the rankings stand at:

Contemporary Romance (51.6%)
Paranormal (10.7%)
Warm and Cosy (10.5%)
Historical (10.3%)
Romantic Suspense (9.4%)
Passion (7.5%)

It will be interesting to see what the final numbers are.

If you haven't entered yet and are still hovering over the submit button, worried about all the rose terrorists and nasty commenters, just think about all the fabulous comments that you're missing.  They'll make you feel all warm and gooey inside.  It's worth it for that alone. Besides, the psychos are few and far between ;-)

If you aren't already, remember to keep an eye on the Top Tips and News sections of the NV site for information straight from romance mothership.

Also, Mills and Boon have also put together a book for writers who are targeting their lines and entering the competition. I really enjoyed the section of the heroine's BFF.  If you haven't already, you can download it for FREE (woot!) here.

Plus, find out what Desire's Senior Editor, Stacy Boyd, gets done in a day (wow!) and her advice for aspiring authors at Wynter Daniels' blog.

I hope everyone involved in the September 30K challenge is recovering well. If you didn't quite reach your goal or haven't finished your WIP, Maya Blake, is doing 20K in 20 days for October.  Join in here

Happy writing!

© 2013 Lacey Devlin

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