This summer will mark seven years that I have been writing and pursuing my dream of publication. Seven years is a long time and yet it flew due to the fabulous community of Romance Writers.
Romance writers, and for all I know, writers in general, are a unique breed. When I attended my first NJRW Romance Writer’s Conference back in 2006, I was shocked to discover the vast amount of knowledge published authors willingly shared. Having come from a highly competitive industry of theatre, this struck me as quite unusual. Not only did these women put their hearts and souls regarding their journeys to publication on their sleeves, they shared their honed-over-time craft secrets. Any other industry professional would guard and hide this information. From the conferences, workshops and sessions that followed in monthly meetings, I learned how to write a query letter and synopsis. I learned how to write in a clear POV with no head hopping, because Nora Roberts has the market cornered on that and no one else is allowed! I learned how to pitch my book. I fell in love with The Hero’s Journey. I learned to write with emotion, and countless other things. In short, I discovered with the help of a community what it would take to transform my fledgling writing and dreams into the reality of a publishing contract. I look forward to the day when I can confidently share a component either of my journey or writing technique that might make an impact on other writers. The day that I can give back to this community who have invited me on their journeys and showered me with knowledge and support and will mark an immense milestone in my writer’s journey.
Until the day that I can give back in a big way, such as a conference or workshop, I will look for small ways to pass on amassed knowledge and share my own personal aha moments here on my blog. I made a recent discovery of an amazing book that should live inside every writer’s tool box. THE EMOTION THESAURUS: A Writer’s Guide To Character Expression. The book, written by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi, tackles 75 emotions listing the possible body language cues, thoughts, and visceral responses for each. The book is easy to use with each emotion given its own page(s). I’m not suggesting that writers use the book as a crutch, select something listed on a given page, and move on. For me, the book has helped me analyze my own writing, identify where I’m being lazy or repetitive, nudge me to dig deeper, and spark further thought/emotion to infuse into my writing.
This weekend I attended The Liberty States Fiction Writers Conference where I was given a First Sale memento and I met a young writer. This was her first ever writing conference and she was anxious about the submission process following her successful pitch meetings. Within an hour of my arrival home, I sent her information I had gathered over the years on how to write a query letter and synopsis. Paying this information forward made me feel a deeper connection to my writing community. So thank you to my fellow writers and friends. Were it not for you, I’d probably still be writing that 160K word, head hopping novel that refused to end!