Back from my conference marathon – the NZ conference has just finished and I’m now, officially, shattered. Think this conference was harder mainly due to the fact that I was the Registrar and was running around stressing that I had everything right. Was not helped by the fact that my useless spreadsheet skills had mucked up some of the pitch times… Argh!! Anyway, highlights…
Jane Porter gave a workshop on using your own experiences in your writing and also spoke on the importance of emotion in your stories. Weren’t we lucky?? She is one fabulous woman, not to mention incredibly honest about her own life. I don’t know if I’d be comfortable talking about my divorce with a bunch of strangers but she made everyone choke up when she did. I overcame my shyness to say hello (oh, okay, Maisey made me) but not enough to get her to hold Hoo while I took a photo. 🙂
Another big highlight was the wonderful Natalie Anderson’s workshop on writing great love scenes. Now, I like writing love scenes, I’ve been told I do them moderately well, and I thought I probably didn’t need to learn anything about them. Oh the arrogance! Natalie gives great workshop and boy did I learn some things that although I kind of knew intellectually already, I suddenly ‘got’ in a way I hadn’t before! Does that make sense? There was a particular piece of advice that clicked for me and that was about trying to think of one word that sums up the whole love scene. I over complicate things terribly so thinking of one word made it suddenly seem a whole lot simpler. And that word is the emotional underpinning for the scene itself. Your characters don’t just involve their bodies in the scene, it’s thinking of how they feel during it. It’s not just about desire. Are they scared? Are they anxious? Are they relieved? And if so, how does this affect the way they make love? I’ve been struggling with my current WIP, wanting the love scene to go in a certain way and it’s been difficult because I suddenly realised during Natalie’s workshop that I’m forcing them to make love in a way they wouldn’t because emotionally they’re not ready for it. Woohoo! Of course, it means more rewriting but that’s fine. Hehe.
What else? I met the very generous and lovely Rachel Bailey who gave me lots of fabulous encouragement and advice – can’t wait to read her book! I also pitched to Dianne Moggy who told me to enter the story into the New Voices comp and was very encouraging about working with an editor.
There was heaps more but my brain has reached overload point and I probably need to go somewhere quiet and have a wee lie down (not to mention unpack my goodie bag!). 🙂