Monday, 28 June 2010

A stranger in a foreign land...

I've just pressed send on the chapter being subbed for my M&B editor slot at the conference. I haven't been to NTAI (not thinking about it) country for a good while and to be honest the journey has been so knackering I am genuinely not NTAI. Having already been welcomed by a friendly fellow resident (waves to Jackie) I'm ready for a hot bath and bed.
I've weeded enough 'felt's out of my chapter to make several cuddly toys and have spent more time on a one page synopsis than a sane person ever should (Hmm, is that why I'm mad I wonder? All those one pagers?)
I love the story but battling errant 'voice to text' software, acquired dyslexia and a permanent headache to get it into some sort of reasonable format has been exhausting.
I still want to do it, I can't not do it so I have to find some way of making it work, even though it's so much harder. It reminds me of toothache - when it strikes it makes you wonder why you didn't value that great long period of time when your teeth weren't hurting.

If you're still pulling teeth, sorry I meant writing your synopsis, here's a good tip I received recently - remember it should be selling your story to the appropriate line. I got so fixated on making my plot fit to one page I forgot to use it as a selling tool.

Oh and here's the editing checklist I use:

1. Check for clich├ęs

2. Check the following and replace if possible: was, felt, just, that, actually, began to, started, he/she felt, though, observed.

3. Reduce adverbs

4. Cut any pairs of adjectives

5. Check for repetitions, choose the best and lose the rest

6. Don’t show AND tell

7. Cut unnecessary repetition of tense – I’d, she’d…

8. Look for repeated words and use thesaurus

9. Make characters take note of surroundings, create a sense of place

10. Use all the senses

11. Eat chocolate :-)

Has anyone else got any suggestions to add to my checklist?

Friday, 11 June 2010

The weird and the wired

I've been getting seriously hyped up about the upcoming RNA conference. What better way to gear up than attending last week's talk on Writing Romantic Fiction at Reading library? The meeting got off to a weird start for me as I thought I'd lost my marbles when the nice woman sitting next to me introduced herself as Romy from South Africa. Now I have bad memory problems so my first thought was to panic - was this my fellow Minx Romy who I'd believed to be still in South Africa? Actually it was another Romy but I had a very confused moment and as both are attending the conference I shall have to try not to get mixed up :-)
It was also strange when a couple of people mentioned having heard of the Minxes blog. Not to mention difficult to say "Actually I'm a Minx" without giving into the urge to giggle uncontrollably ;-)

Other than cringing on behalf of the panel when they were asked what the formula for writing Mills and Boon was (!) the point that struck me most from the talk was the panel's answer to the question 'How many full length novels did you complete before you were published?' The answer was anything between 2 and 10, the average being 5!
it reminded me again just how dedicated you have to be and how our commitment as writers is to the craft itself, rather than to any particular story.

Having said that I am loving diving into the world of the story I'll be pitching at the conference. For a taster below is the rooftop in Marrakech that my hero is going to whisk my heroine off to

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

It's good to talk...

The Minxes have been brainstorming on Skype recently and it's been great - instant input and discussion (and a real laugh to boot). I'm starting to think about the new story I'll hopefully be
pitching at the RNA conference and knowing I'll be under skype scrutiny at the end of the week means I'll get my act together this week.
It's also good to listen
Reading Library has an event on tomorrow evening (2nd June) - "Writing Romantic Fiction". Julie Cohen, Nina Harrington, Tania Crosse, Beth Elliott and Janet Gover will be talking and I'll hopefully be in the audience listening. There are even rumours of a Mills and Boon giveaway at the event.


I had a sneak peek at the ipad yesterday, I'll hopefully be getting one soon and am delighted to hear Mills and Boon books will be available on the ipad later in the year - I used the voice utility to play part of a book aloud in a shop and was really pleased to hear a natural sounding reading voice, not the robotic voice I currently get on my computer. It will transform things for me, I'll no longer be stuck with just what I can get on audiobook.

Although that said there is even good news on the audiobook front. I'm trying out a romance audiobooks website, audiolark, which has some very reasonably priced titles.
I'll be listening to Nell Dixon's 'The Cinderella Substitute' as my next book which I'm really pleased about, having met her at last year's RNA conference. Talking of which I'm getting ridiculously excited about this year's conference and being able to chat to some of the writing friends I've grown close to over the past two
years :-)
Yep, Bob Hoskins knew what he was on about (famous BT ad in the 90s, for those of you outside of the UK!) .