So I was continuing my study of Kate Walker‘s 12 Point Guide to Writing Romance.. you know what it’s like; a couple of pages in the bath trying desperately not to splash the pages, a chapter while Man of the Woods checks the farming forums to see if anyone has anything interesting to say on-line…
The chapter on conflict I made sure I read twice, because first time through you don’t take it all in do you? It makes such perfect sense. Internal and external conflicts are essential in any decent fiction, whether it’s book or film .. let’s think of one…
External conflicts I would suggest might have been the fact that she was an instructor and him a mere student (is there a fan in here please?).
Another would be that after they have become ‘a thing’ he goes off to do his job and potentially may not come back.
Internal conflicts are she’s trying to avoid giving the wrong signals to yet-another-hot-shot (good try; I’d fall for that too).
In the second half of the film, Maverick is dealing with the loss of best mate Goose and contemplating his own relationship with his father who is no longer around. Lots of emotional punch there (and watching him sat alone and silent on that bed staring at the photo of him on his father’s shoulders was very powerful).
This amazing monument, called The Scott Monument is located along Princes Street in Edinburgh. I’ve admired it on both occasions that I have visited this beautiful city, both times with Man of the Woods during the last two years.
The characters in my novel spend most of the book in Italy, at a vineyard approximately an hour from Milan in one direction and an hour from Lake Garda in another.
This morning, I’ve scribbled a rough outline for a final chapter which takes place … in Edinburgh.
Now I’ve had two weetabix with a whole banana sliced over it, yoghurt, a little milk, a drizzle of honey and a few blueberries, I’m now off to type a first draft of the scene while it is fresh in my memory!
(We’ll then only have about forty thousand words to fill in, but we won’t worry about that for now 🤣)
I’m reading a really good book on writing romance novels by Kate Walker. I met her at the RNA conference (and she kindly signed this copy which I bought). If you wish to check out the book on Amazon, see it here!
I love how she is blowing clean out the water, the common assumption that writing romance novels, especially for Harlequin Mills & Boom is easy peasy – anyone can do it! Because not anyone can do it. Do it well anyway.
The myth that there’s a ‘formula’ I admit even I had assumed was true, because my mother told me twenty years ago they were all ‘similar’.
The fact mother was missing is this. The titles she chose, and billions of fans continue to choose, contain the component I mention above in much greater quantity than my present manuscript contains. Emotion.
Why did JoJo Moyes’ Me Before You reduce me to tears? It was the same with The Horse Whisperer, and Sophie’s Choice. Emotion. Deep, anguished, gut-wrenching emotion.
It wasn’t a quick fondle on the village green, on a Friday night because a newsagent’s boy has a crush on the barmaid.
These stories touch our souls as readers, dreamers, hopeful and hopeless romantics. And why not? We want to escape in our reading from real life. Real life is full of flies in the fish pie (yes, really pissed off about that. I had turned my back to mash potatoes to top it with and the bastards were swimming. Don’t live on a farm and have your windows open in the summer. Gross. Binned it).
This was the pie before the offending beasties took residence.
Anyway … I’ve got my plan for Book 2 … my Post-It notes ready for plotting scenes for NaNo… and guess which story I’m going to develop??? I’m so excited!!! You know it!!! C’mon!!! Go back in time with me … Radhanagari Damsel (here’s part 4 of a serial of ten if you’re new to my blog). I always thought this story had legs. I’ve learnt so much since writing it and know it can be improved a lot, but it already has emotion and anguish. YES!
Skiathos, 2017. A tapas bar on the harbour, under some fir trees.
L’herbe had joined me, as he always did. My travelling bear. The cutest bear, a mini Steiiff almost in design though I’m not sure he was one.
He came to Paris once and watched me sip gin and nibble a salad in a restaurant in the shadows of Le L’ouvre. Night time lighting from the pyramid cast yellow shapes on the puddles in the quadrangle after a shower.
He accompanied me to The Bahamas last July to watch my son throw his javelin.. he doubled as a mascot!
There is a bar in Skiathos called ‘The Blind Dog‘ which is truly brilliant. An English guy meets a Greek girl and together they make beautiful music, him on his accoustic guitar and her singing covering all the classics an far more besides … it is a place to behold and worth visiting the island for!
This was the last place I remember seeing L’herbe. He’d sneaked out of my bag to dance to Queen’s ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’
I miss my little friend, but you know when you love something deeply, you have to let it go? He’s on his adventures somewhere, with someone and I do hope he is happy because he brought me many happy moments.
I’ve allowed myself this post today because I’ve completed my goal of editing of the first 19 chapters and am now ready to send the whole lot off to the two destinations I keep mentioning 👌🏼
(I had 21 chapters but may have been a little tipsy when writing one day as two were repeats of others – most strange – and how embarrassing would that have been to not have spotted this error?!)
Once it has gone, I shall take an official week off writing the WIP, and do housework (have you SEEN this place 😱🙈) alongside my day job. We will wait for the feedback and act upon it as I know the NWS readers will know what they are talking about 💫
I’m going to put on my CV ‘juggling expert’.
What? You mean you’re one too?!
I can do this, I’ve made those changes to the early chapters and completed the name-change.
Having read (in probably a total of around 6 hours) this book by Julie Cohen all week, my decision is made that I wish to make my book a dual POV read.
This opens up a whole new bunch of chapters where we can discover Antonio and I’m severely excited about this.
But this book.
Have you read it? OMG, it blew me away. A love story, yes. But a wonderful study in empath behaviour too, yet the two main characters wish to follow their dreams.
Very clever writing and guess what???? (sshhh .. I met Julie last week at the conference 👀🤩 .. I think we even had a short conversation over a coffee about her writing course in Devon in November!! Eeeeek. Guess who wants to go?)
Here’s the blurb;
RICHARD AND JUDY SUMMER BOOK CLUB PICK 2018
‘This big, clever, tender and twisty love story reminded me of One Day & The Time Traveler’s Wife‘ Erin Kelly, author of He Said, She Said
Robbie and Emily they have been together for decades. Now, their joints are creaking and their eyesight is failing – but their love for each other is as fresh and fierce as the day they first met. They have had children and grandchildren, lived full and happy and intimate lives.
But they have been keeping a secret since the day they met, when their lives changed forever. Over the years, the sacrifices and choices they made have sealed their fates together.
Did they do the right thing? Read their story, and you decide.
So you’re itching to hear how I got on aren’t you?
Have you ever been so tired, you’re almost delirious? You’re aware of how many bags you need to keep near you and which pocket your ticket is snuggled in, but there’s a general fog? Not a hungover fog as I kept my alcohol intake to a sensible level so as to attend my one to ones with wits about me. Drunk on information and inspiration maybe….
I did have a little lift selfie moment. Does my bum look big in this? Doesn’t matter if it did because I found a hibiscus 🌺
Maud has become Blanche as the niggle about introducing two characters in a first chapter with names starting with the same letter grew into a cactus which kept meeting me head-on at every corner.
I’ve been advised also to think about an aspect in my early chapters so they make more sense – feel more ‘true’ – as opposed to simply convenient.
An agent did ask to see more than the three chapters I’d sent her so this, for me, is very positive. My plans are now as follows:
• Utilise what I learnt to improve early chapters.
• Do a Find/Replace name-change Maud to Blanche.
• Polish as far as I can the 24,000 words and submit by 30 July to NWS.
• Send the sane 24,000 words to the agent who was ‘intrigued by this rich family story with so much going on.’
• Re-write submission pitch as I now realise what genre my book is – Romantic Suspense. Before this weekend, I wasn’t sure if it was a crime thriller with some romance … or a love tale with a backstory of crime.
• Wait to hear whether I’ve been successful with my application to be on the Curtis Brown Creative novel-writing 6-month online course which starts in September (perfect as I can help Man of the Woods with harvest support).
• complete manuscript by March 2019 and this time next year be receiving NWS critique for the whole damn thing! Because yes, you can do the scheme more than once and many published authors I spoke to this weekend went through it two, three and sometimes four times, getting stronger each year.
• Mentally prepare for Book 2’s birth during NaNoWriMo this coming November with A LOT more planning than my zero effort during 2017!
The authors who gave talks at the conference this weekend about patience, perseverance and struggles were very inspiring. Milly Johnson, for example, has fourteen published titles and she spoke of how hard it is each time she sits to start a new first page. An after-dinner speaker, Milly had us in fits of laughter, a Yorkshire lass proud of her roots, her stories are set around her home county and the trials of real life. Just ordered the title below as it’s about time I introduced my reading-self to this amazing woman and writer.
I am relieved I did not hurl a rushed manuscript through to the NWS, in an effort to gain a larger wordcount. (NaNo wordcount is a different beast – it’s a great to accrue a foundation from which to work).
I rubbed shoulders with Jill Mansell, Katie Fforde and Kate Walker.
I also met Julie Cohen who as well as writing, runs residential courses and I very much hope to attend one in Devon this November. Have you read her? This title below is a Richard & Judy Book Club 2018 choice and I can see why.
I have been blown away by part One .. which covers the first forty pages. I became quickly invested in her characters; I am worried for them and can feel the love shared between. It’s beautiful prose and she shows with clarity and vision the home of this new family I wish to find out everything about. Oh, goodness, I just LOVE it when a book grips me like this 💙
Jack noticed a new regular sitting daily at the same table.
Always reading, her slender fingers had not escaped his notice.
She would turn pages, the glare from the sun masked by sophisticated shades.
He made sure he walked past at the same time, waiting for her to look up.
Where was she going or whom was she meeting? No-one it seemed.
He knew the waiter and her choice of refreshment was always the same.
Today he sat at the next table sketching; he’d watched her for 12 days.
He started to draw her, to sketch the dainty feet tucked beneath.
She paused in her reading and smiled across at him and his heart skipped a beat.
He smiled back and continued his work, as the waiter emerged,
“Your lunch Mr Vettriano!”