Tuesday, 8 April 2014

It's Never Too Late To Learn

A couple of souvenirs from our day

On Saturday, 5th April, I went to a fabulous writing day led by the brilliant Sue Moorcroft. Organised by Marilyn Rodwell, the co-ordinator of the Birmingham Chapter of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and thanks to a grant from that highly esteemed organisation, it was a huge success. Sue Moorcroft is known to many of us through our association with the RNA and, besides being the author of several acclaimed novels, short stories and serials, is a writing tutor. What follows is a brief precis of all we learned.

We’d all been asked to bring a book reflecting the genre we tended to write in and discussed the importance of cover images and the need for back-page blurb to reflect the content of the book. We were surprised to learn that in the US, the romance genre always features a man on the cover whereas in the UK, it tends to be a woman. Next came a discussion about ‘saggy middles’ – not our own but those of a work-in-progress – and some of the ploys we can introduce to liven up turgid prose. Sue advocated a one-sentence synopsis which summaries the plot – a useful tool if speaking to journalists or anyone who asks, ‘What’s your book about?’ We discussed the different kinds of heroes and heroines and agreed that when a hero was said to have leadership skills, in a woman the same skills she was said to be bossy! We discussed how to give our characters more depth and make them act, react and interact.

I was impressed by the venue, the prestigious new Library of Birmingham, although not so impressed by the fact that, on the way out, the down escalator wasn’t working and it was very hard on my dodgy knees. Because of the problem with my eyesight, my husband had accompanied me to Birmingham, though not to the workshop. Bless him, he bought me a souvenir mug from the gift shop which read ‘Rewriting The Book,’ very appropriate since that’s what I’m doing with my novel!