Saturday, 19 May 2012

Kate Walker Workshop...

My post is a little late because I've been at the Kate Walker workshop on Writing Romantic Fiction at Nottingham Writers' Club today.

Thanks to everyone who took part, especially those who travelled a long distance to attend, and of course the brilliant, Kate Walker.

I'm not telling you what I said that caused everyone to laugh or smile- I only realised what I'd said after the words had left my mouth- and it wasn't what I'd meant, but that's romance writers for you, quick witted... :-D

I can assure you it was not just a roomful of women either, we also had four men there to learn about, or improve, their romance writing skills.

We started with a few facts about getting romance published in today's markets- the words, marketing is 'cut-throat' was mentioned. And just as with genre fiction generally, the 'who can market you' is important- after all there's no point in producing a book for publication if you can't sell it.

Writing a romance  requires characters, conflict, emotion and the HEA (happy ever after). And we looked at each element in more detail.

I'd never thought about the readers expectations, but thinking about it, it makes sense. A romance wouldn't be satisfying if the two main protagonists could solve their problems easily and without any suffering.

There was even a writing exercise, and we were soon being very creative- the only sound was pens on paper and pages turning.

So here are a few of the snippets I learnt today:

Setting is not just the background, but it can also be the stage that your character has reached in their life.

'Feisty' is a current buzz word...

PTQ- Page Turning Quality. 60% dialogue and 40% narrative.

"Emotions don't have a logical basis, so can't be reasoned away."

If there's a secret involved, write it from the point of view (POV) of the one who doesn't know it, as that makes the most of the emotional impact...

BM and GM- Black Moment and Grey Moment- those points in a novel when things are looking bad, and possibly unrepairable. (I'd not heard these terms before.)

There's a lot more but you'll have to go on one of Kate's workshops to find out more...

And yes, sex did get mentioned briefly- we didn't have enough time to go into detail :-), but the scene must 'work' for you-have a purpose, as sexual intimacy can change everything (between the characters, their circumstances etc). We should also consider the emotional vulnerability of our characters at these times.

I certainly learnt a lot to add to the mass of writing information I've already absorbed.

Many of us bought books and Kate signed them for us. I got her '12 Point Guide to Writing Romance', now on it's Third Edition.

But I must also thank Mills and Boon for providing a freebie book for everyone attending the workshop- Kate signed those too.

And finally...

There's a new term that I must share with you- you've heard of the slush pile (the hard copy type) well there's even a digital pile- manuscripts loaded onto an e-reader for an editor to read- it's 'slush Kindle'...


  1. Brilliant day. Kate ran a great workshop. Excellent value.
    The sex didn't last long and Dave went home straight afterwards - I'll say no more.

  2. :-)Keith.
    Yes, it was a good day, and the feedback has been very positive.

    And Dave going home before the end was quite innocent in case anyone wondered...:-)

  3. An excellent day. Well worth getting up at the crack of dawn to attend. Even though I've read Kate's book, it was so useful to hear her clarify and expand on points. It has certainly got me thinking about Mills and Boon again.

  4. Glad you had such a great day, Carol - I really enjoyed Kate's talk a few years ago and came home inspired from it.

    Hope it gets your pen writing!

  5. I agree totally, Meg. I learnt quite a lot from the day, and it really was worth the very early start.

    Thanks, Rosemary. I think everyone went home inspired.

  6. Thanks so much for organising this Carol, well worth attending (I won't comment on the sex!) - I had read Kate's book a while ago, but as Meg commented it was very useful to hear her clarify points.

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  8. Thanks, Susie. I think we all benefitted from the day in our own way.

  9. Great post, Carol, and thanks for sharing the tips. I love the comments too.

  10. A great summary Carol - thank you! Thank you to you and Mars for inviting me to do the workshop - and organising and making the day go so smoothly. And thank yo to everyone who came on the day and joined in so enthusiastically so that it all went so well - the day seemed to pass in a moment! I really enjoyed my visit to the NWC and I'm glad that the comments here show that those who came enjoyed it too.

  11. Thanks, Fiona.

    Thank you for doing the workshop, Kate. A great day was had by all, and certainly inspired everyone, including me.

  12. Good post! This is the kind of information that should be distributed on the online community. I would like to read more of this.

  13. Thanks for that, Carol. I'd love to have gone on that workshop, it sounded great. I've got Kate Walker's book you mention here, and am about to start it. I keep getting so far with M&B and then falling at the last hurdle so am hoping for some tips to help me jump it this time. Thanks for the snippets you shared!


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