Last month, as some of you know, I attended a writing retreat in Asheville, North Carolina, sponsored by The Wild Rose Press. Two representatives from the Carolina Romance Writers, a chapter of Romance Writers of America, came up from Charlotte, NC and hence another bread crumb on the trail that I have been following.
Yesterday I attended their meeting at The Hickory Tavern in Charlotte, NC. Several of the women I met in Asheville were in attendance and celebrated author, Anna DeStefano, was the speaker and presenter.
Anna was wonderful! She shared valuable lessons from her own writing journey, focusing mainly – though not exclusively – on revision. I have to say, it was the perfect lesson at the right time for me. She explained a process of using different color post-it flags for each character, their dialogue, and wherever they appear together in the story. Then she advised going back and reading only the portions of one flag color at a time, giving a full picture of the development from inciting incident to the very end, ie all of the hero’s dialogue, then all of the heroine’s thus giving a full picture of the development of each part of the story. If there is a problem with continuity or a place where it is losing momentum, it would be more easily discovered this way. Brilliant!
I may not have explained this as succinctly as she did, but you get the idea. And if you have the chance to hear her speak, you should take advantage of it. Anna DeStefano also gives writers a place to connect at her ‘How we Write Wednesdays’ on twitter @ #wewrite. Check out her website.
As for the business of the meeting, the Carolina Romance Writers are streamlined and organized. They didn’t waste time, just got things done. We were updated on workshops, online classes, fund raisers, and the schedule for the next few months. There was even a place for good news and bad news to be shared among the group. They also presented awards to writers who finished their manuscripts – which I was impressed with. There is something very satisfying about reaching conclusion on a journey you’ve been engaged in. I am convinced that this is a good home for me and look forward to pairing up with a critique partner. If you are a writer, live within driving distance to Charlotte, NC, and are looking for a group of like minded women – and men – then check them out @ http://www.carolinaromancewriters.com
As for my own two cents’ worth of writing advice, I’d say it just has to take priority and keeping yourself immersed in activities that spur your intellect, inspiration, or technical abilities. Every event, workshop, retreat, or interview with an author, has a pearl of wisdom and strung together, they make a beautiful complete circle. I sometimes refer to them as my trail of golden bread crumbs which – like the yellow brick road – is leading me on a fascinating journey to discovering myself.
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