Saturday, July 18, 2009

Not At Nationals - Common Romance Writing Mistakes Pt 10.


Missed Part Nine of this Mini-Workshop? You can find it here.

  • Making It Obvious:

Just as we can be tempted to fall into the traps of back-story dumps or long passages of exposition to explain things to our reader, on the flip-side it can be tempting to be too subtle. Simple fact is if you’re too obvious or give something away too soon, an eagle-eyed editor who is good at their job will spot it and suggest it’s toned down or held back until later in the story. But if it’s too subtle she isn’t a mystic who can read your mind and fill in the blanks. If it came down to your story being revised or rejected, which one would you prefer?

The 38 Most Common Fiction Writing Mistakes says; “There are three places where writers most fear being obvious: in defining a character; in stating a character’s goal; and in pointing out the
significance of a plot development. These are interrelated, but for the purpose of discussion let’s separate them and look, one at a time.

Fear of being ‘too obvious’ in delineating story characters seems to be the main fear of inexperienced writers. They try to write about delicate shadings of action and motivation, and, in so doing, get so vague and willowy that the readers don’t get the point at all.”


Don’t think of it as being too obvious or repetitive when it comes to describing your characters. Think of it as constant reminders that help solidify them (make them real) in the mind of the reader. The trick in romance writing is that fine line between being obvious and drowning the reader in the kind of flowery prose that gives romance novels a bad name. So think of the most obvious words you could use to describe your hero or heroine to the reader, and keep in mind that a reader will be more willing to accept an aesthetically pleasing hero than a heroine who is too beautiful. This is fantasy escapism. More than that, it’s fantasy escapism aimed at a female reader. Now think about how women feel about other women. Are we likely to bond with a woman without flaws or are we more likely to empathize and root for a woman with problems, d
oubts and fears similar to our own? Then think about how women feel about men. Do they want reminders in a fantasy, escapist world of all the little irritating quirks and traits men have in the real world? As we’ve discussed before, we can afford to really go to town on our hero – we can be obvious about it – and we can sprinkle those reminders throughout the text in a fairly obvious manner, reminding the reader that he’s: tall, has amazing eyes, a broad chest, wide shoulders, large hands, is confident, has an intense gaze or a deep, rumbling voice or thick eyelashes…

Could any of those things be more obvious? Have a look at a romance novel from the line/category you’re aiming for and check to see how many times those kinds of descriptions are used every time the hero is on the page. We talked about that obsession so many writers have about how many times they use particular words and their constant run to the thesaurus or synonym finder to replace those words. But in this case it’s fine – if not necessary - to pick certain words and repeat them throughout the story every time the hero is there. We don't want those words to be too ‘flowery’, they are words that, if anything, suggest the kind of masculine traits a female would look for on a basic level. With the heroine we’ll take some of the things women obsess about and emphasize the fact the hero finds them sexy so some readers will feel more positive about their self-conceived ‘flaws’; we may give her legs the her
oine has always thought of as gangly, but the hero sees as endlessly long… the curves many women readers may hate having, a hero will find incredibly sexy in a heroine… and of course there’s always that dream make-over or transformation women the world over dream of doing and it having exactly the effect on the hero when the heroine does it as the women in real life would hope to have on the men in their lives. Just look at the number of series romances with a 'Cinderella' theme for proof of the latter...

Along the way we’ll also give our heroine the personality traits women would hope others would think they have or that they value in their friends. She’ll be fun to be around, thoughtful, caring, will work on over-coming her fears, on achieving her dreams; basically the kind of woman the reader will consider ‘worthy’ of our gorgeous hero. Because, just as in real life, we tend to be less forgiving with another woman than we will be with a man. Think about it. It may be biased and unfair and even a little
sexist, but a drop dead gorgeous, unbelievably sexy hero will get away with blue murder and can be called a playboy as a compliment. Make the heroine drop dead gorgeous, unbelievably sexy and say that she’s had multiple partners the way the title ‘playboy’ would suggest and are we likely to let her away with blue murder? No. We’re more likely to hate her and think she sleeps around - and our gorgeous hero deserves better, no matter what he's done in the past! There tends to be more redemption for the hero than the heroine in that department (sometimes the hero is even 'redeemed' through the heroine - as in the proverbial 'bad-boy' who becomes the perfect partner). So we can still be obvious with our heroine, but we’ll tend to be more careful about how we describe her. But even if we get it wrong or we’re too obvious, the worst that will happen when everything else is good is that an editor will make us change things in REVISIONS.

On the second subject the book says; “Another potentially fatal error of subtlety often centers on character goal. I have no idea why so many new writers cringe at the idea of overtly stating what it is a characters wants. Such writers would rather have the character drift in, smile a lot, and sort of accidentally reveal his intentions on page 66. Or possibly allow some other character to guess. Or sigh a lot and say he doesn’t want to talk about it.

Whether in a scene or in a planning sequel, your character should think about his goal, w
orry about his goal, talk about his goal, and try to get his goal. And you the writer have to keep reminding me, the reader what it is, because if I forget for a moment, I won’t understand the story any more!”

In a romance novel we’re a lot more obvious about the characters goals than many genres of fiction. Think about how many times an author emphasizes the fact the hero wants the heroine. It might be something as simple as his physical response when she’s around, but how many times have you seen the phrase ‘He wanted her’ used? He is highly likely to have several internal conflicts that make it clear to the reader why he can’t become emotionally involved with the heroine, but when it comes to physical attraction, the goal of sleeping with the heroine will be front a centre from pretty early on; the theory of this being the more traditionally male attitude towards sex being something separate from emotional involvement. This of course, is much less likely to be the case with the heroine, who will automatically understand there’s an emotional involvement with the ‘surrender’ of her body. So one of the hero’s goals may be to sleep with the heroine while one of the heroine’s may be to avoid that happening at all costs. After the act the hero’s goal may change to denying he’s becoming emotionally involved, while our heroine's may become to hide what she already feels. But the reader will understand that. Why? Because the writer has made it obvious to them through the characters feelings and thoughts. It’s laid out clearly and succinctl
y in a logical path the reader can follow in the text. The only time a characters goal isn’t made obvious in a romance novel is when the story is told solely from one POV. Then, and only then, does the character without a POV remain as much of a mystery to the reader as he/she is to the main character whose perspective we see the story from.

The rest of the time it’s essential the reader is aware of both characters goals and how those goals can be at odds with each other. Think of each goal as a stepping stone: the goal becoming the question that drives the action of your scene; the answer to that question leading to reaction in the form of feelings and thoughts that lead to a decision; that decision leading to another goal that forms a question and drives the next scene. Each and every scene and ‘sequel’ where we see the characters reaction also reveals something about the characters. The characters learn about each other as the story progresses the same way two people would in real life. The reader learns a little more because they have ‘inside knowledge’. But each step – each GOAL – is clearly laid out in an obvious manner as we go along, and in a way that MAKES SENSE.

Task Twenty-Nine: Have a look at the romance novel from the line/category you’re aiming for and study the characters goals. What is their’ agenda’ coming into the story? How does it change as th
e story progresses? Does their goal remain the same or does it alter according to the things the characters learn about each other and themselves? Was the goal always clear to you, the reader? How did the author make that goal clear? Was it hinted at or was it obvious? How was it made obvious? And how often did the author continue to remind you about it?

The 38 Most Common Fiction Writing Mistakes is right, it’s not just romance writing where a characters goals are made clear; it’s every genre of fiction writing. At the moment, as I write this, there’s a trailer playing for Mission Impossible 3 on my TV. In it the protagonist is setting out his goals in a far from subtle manner. Out loud he is telling the hero of the story; ‘I’m going to find your girlfriend. I’m going to kill her. And then I’m going to kill you.’ Could his goals be any more obvious?

Task Thirty: Write out your hero and heroine's goals in this same succinct and obvious way. Do it for each of the crucial points of your story to remind yourself how those goals have changed. Do their goals change? What changed them? How does that decision effect what they do next?

It's worth remembering that there will be times when what could be considered a 'disaster' by one of the
characters could, in fact, lead them to a point in the story where we're shown why they work together as a couple. It may reveal things they have in common, things that bring them closer together or demonstrate how they balance each other out. We need those glimpses - and for them to be none too subtle - for us to truly believe in the possibility of a HEA beyond the last page of the book. By allowing us those glimpses, it adds to the emotional roller-coaster; particularly when they come in the last third of the book. Then, just as we get a glimpse of how happy they could be, we yank the rug out from underneath them by having their original fear realized; proof that they were right to have protected themselves. And through that, we not only understand the potential for that HEA, we also understand what they have to fight for when they make that leap of faith at the end...

Then the book says; “Finally, don’t make the mistake of trying to be subtle about what plot happenings mean – and don’t ever downplay their significance! Readers confuse easily. If you have any doubt that the reader will understand the meaning of what someone in a story says or does, you must work in at once some method of pointing out what you may think is obvious. I mean, if the family’s pioneer home burns to the ground on a bitter winter night, don’t assume the reader will get it. And don’t be subtle. Either directly say something like: ‘Now the family faced death by exposure to the cold,’ or have one of the characters say something like, ‘I’m really scared now. Without shelter we won’t last through the day.’”

In Manhattan Boss, Diamond Proposal chapter one opens with Quinn discovering Clare talking to som
e guy he’s never seen before. The scene question then becomes ‘Who is this guy?’. Does Quinn skirt subtly around this question? No, because the first thing he asks is: ‘New boyfriend?’ Far from subtle, right? During the course of the conversation he discovers who the guy is – so the initial question is answered. But at the same time he realizes for the first time just how serious Clare is about her fledgling business. He realizes that, if the business is a success she will leave her job as his Personal Assistant. How subtle is he about that? He asks: ‘Working for me proved too tough in the end did it?’ and just in case that was too subtle he repeats the question again a few lines later with; ‘So how much notice are you giving me?’ Through his INNER POV a new question forms in reaction: ‘how exactly was he supposed to list all she did for him in a Help Wanted ad if she did quit?’ He realizes what it would mean if she left (the THREAT). Through his feelings and thoughts in inner POV he realizes it’s not just the impact it would have on his working life – he would miss having her around. That leads him to the conclusion that he has to do something to stop it happening, which brings us to the end of the scene where Quinn states in inner POV: “He’d find a way to make Clare see sense about the matchmaking – he just needed the right opening, and it was for her own good after all. She’d thank him in the long run. What were friends for?

The beginnings of the plot have been clearly pointed out to the reader. A goal led to a question that led to a reaction that led to another goal and another question and another reaction and so on… All of it following a logical path that made sense to the reader and formed a chain of events. None of it obscure, none of it overly subtle, and if it was subtle it was backed up with a second reminder to make it crystal clear. But where was the ‘disaster’ that ended the scene you might ask? Well this is where romance novels can differ slightly from other genres of fiction. How much of a ‘disaster’ Quinn’s statement at the end of that first chapter is becomes clear as the story progresses. By making that decision, he has started a chain of events. When we know Clare a little better we realize what that fledgling business of hers means to her. When Quinn finds an opening to act on, he unwittingly places himself in danger by being forced into a position where he has to look more closely at what having Clare in his life means to him. What it also does is place Clare in the same position when it comes to looking more closely at what having Quinn in her life means to her. As the story continues and the reader gets to know them better, we understand what holds them back from just talking about it and getting it out in the open. Every single step is made obvious to the reader. It should all MAKE SENSE. And ACTION leads to REACTION until the whole thing snowballs to the BLACK MOMENT when Quinn finally reveals the secret he’s been keeping from Clare and their HEA is put in jeopardy.

The 38 Most Common Fiction Writing Mistakes says; “… what seems obvious to the writer may be obscure as hell to the poor reader. And you’re writing for the reader, not for yourself. Aren’t you?”

Task Thirty-One: When you come to the editing stage of your manuscript and are reading it with a more critical eye, ask yourself if your characters, their goals and the plot are obvious to a reader. Is there a point where you’ve been too subtle and things aren’t clear?

Remember both the reader, and more importantly an editor (who is one of your first readers and let's face it - the most important one) can NOT read your mind and automatically understand what you were aiming for. You have to literally spell it out on the page. And if it’s too obvious, or too much, or too soon in the story for something, an editor will do her job, point it out, and get you to fix it with REVISIONS. It’s one of the many reasons some authors LOVE revisions (and I’m one of them). For every thing your editor points out that gives you a palm/forehead slapping ‘duh!’ moment, there will be points that teach you something or add to the story in a way you might not have thought of having read the damn thing ten or twenty times already. It’s a wood for the trees scenario. But when in doubt, err on the side of caution and make everything crystal clear. Don’t be subtle or try to be clever about it. SPELL IT OUT and make it OBVIOUS. Just don’t treat your reader like she’s stupid either – no flowery words or long passages or explanations or reminders every other line…

  • OVER-EDITING.

(And here's where I get to the part where it should make sense why I keep harping on about looking more closely at your MS during the EDITING stage.)

We’ve ALL been guilty of this at some point. You know what I’m talking about. This is when every word, every line, every paragraph and every page has to be perfection itself before you can possibly move forwards. This is when your daily word-count screeches to a halt. Because by over-editing at the creative stage you’ve stopped TELLING THE STORY. You’ve skipped a step in the writing process, you’ve stalled the chain of events created by ACTION and REACTION. And you’ve become so self-critical that even having ordered and re-ordered every word, sentence, paragraph and page to the point of perfection – you’re STILL convinced that what you’ve written sucks nine year old lemons.

The 38 Most Common Fiction Writing Mistakes has a lot of very relevant points on this subject and some very interesting facts I hadn’t thought of before. It says; “Such fears are as much a part of writing fiction as headaches, wads of crumpled paper on the floor, and rejection slips. When you write fiction, whether you realize it or not (and at some level you probably do), you are risking revelation of your dreams and deepest emotions. It’s frightening to reveal yourself this way, even indirectly. Further, the act of writing is tied very close to a person’s ego structure; I have seen students shaky with worry when I was about to read one of their routine classroom essays, or even a brief paragraph of factual material. ‘Criticize my work, criticize my personal essence,’ the feeling seems to be. The most humdrum piece of writing somehow represents the writer’s worth as a person sometimes. Small wonder, then,that the writer of a story or even (horrors!) a novel often gets worried sick – literally – about whether the reader may think it’s dumb. Because if it’s dumb, the writer is dumb. And if the writer is dumb, he is also, ipso facto, worthless, an object of potential ridicule… doomed.”

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again here; writers as a whole are a needy bunch of people. We seek validation for our work that goes beyond selling and being paid and holding your book in your hands. From critique partners to agents to editors to reviewers to readers to awards – we want people to bolster our self-confidence. Because even if it’s a book we’ve put our best work in to with characters we adore, we never completely allow ourselves to believe it’s any good until we have that validation (it's the reason why ten good reviews can be great, but it's the one BAD review we wallow over for weeks on end). Even with frquent validation from varying sources, we’ll keep ‘score’. If one book does better sales wise and review wise and awards wise and fan mail wise than another then it therefore means the one that received less isn’t as good as the one that received more. None of us ever let this need for validation go – we always have moments of doubt, insecurity and downright depression. And The 38 Most Common Fiction Writing Mistakes is absolutely right – it’s because it’s PERSONAL. Criticize my work, you criticize ME; that’s the universally accepted fact most authors have to learn to cope with. We can be overly protective of our work at the revision stage, even when it’s in print or if it makes a best-sellers list. I’ve been known to challenge harsh reviewers on my blog in defence of my work, so I’m as guilty of this as the next person. Our books become our children - and you show me one mother who won’t go head to head in defence of their child at some point! But then I’m also bloody minded. I have an attitude that says I can let what I consider to be fair criticisms go (I don’t feel the need to huddle in a corner with cake any more – let’s put it that way) but when a reviewer seems overly critical to me and I’m particularly proud of the work and it’s had great reviews from pretty much everywhere else, I tend to take an attitude of ‘if they can dish it out, then they can take it’ - and I’ll review their review to demonstrate to others that sometimes it’s simply a case of not being able to please all of the people all of the time.
But then I like to think I’m also honest. I’ve even had a conversation with my editor when a book has gone through and we’ve admitted it wasn’t my best work. That was quite a milestone for me. No tears, no cake. Just acceptance and the realization that it was still good enough to publish. But it did make me more determined to do better next time out. We all have to develop a thick skin. We all will have moments that require a good old wallow and lots of cake. What makes us professionals is we get over it, we dust ourselves down and get on with it; leaving a bad writing experience behind, learning from it and moving on to the next story. Remember; if it was easy, EVERYONE WOULD BE DOING IT. What we all have to learn to do, is run with the odds. If the good outweighs the bad, we need to accept that. And every milestone should be celebrated - no matter how big or small!

FACT: A great many people who decide they are going to write a book never manage to COMPLETE A MANUSCRIPT.

FACT: Harlequin and Mills & Boon receive THOUSANDS of unsolicited manuscripts every year.

FACT: The vast majority of those will receive a standard rejection slip.

FACT: If you get anything more than a standard rejection slip YOU HAVE DONE WELL. You’ve already beaten the odds.

FACT: If you get suggestions for revisions and/or the invitation to submit again you’ve beaten the odds again and have stuck the tip of your toes through the door.

FACT: If you get a request for the full manuscript YOUR WRITING AND SYNOPSIS WERE GOOD ENOUGH TO GET THE ATTENTION OF A PROFESSIONAL EDITOR. You stood out of the crowd.

FACT: If you get a rejection on a full manuscript it still doesn’t take anything away from the fact you were good enough to get that professional editors attention out of thousands on the slush pile to begin with!

FACT: If you get a revisions letter from the submission of your full manuscript you are in a place some people strive for YEARS to get to. You’ve not just beaten the odds and proved that your synopsis and writing were good enough to stand out of the crowd and get an editors attention – that editor believes, with work, your manuscript could be good enough to consider for PUBLISHING.

FACT: Very, VERY few people sell on a first submission.

FACT: A manuscript can be rejected as far up the line as the ACQUISITIONS MEETING.

FACT: Despite the fact Harlequin Mills & Boon own 46 odd percent of a romance market that sells in the region of six BILLION books per year – one every FIVE SECONDS in the UK alone – it employs little more than 1300 authors WORLD-WIDE (200 of those from the London Offices).

FACT: Even multi-published authors can have books rejected and can be dropped by the company when lines change editorial direction or are merged/discontinued.

Keep ALL those things in mind, realize that every single achievement from the completion of your first full manuscript to your first submission to your first rejection slip to your first editor comments to your first request to a full to your first rejection of a full to your first revisions letter to your first rejection after revisions to your first request to submit further work to your first, second set of revisions are ACHIEVEMENTS TO BE CELEBRATED. Give yourself credit where credit is due. Remember you are not alone. And I highly recommend the consumption of cake when the situation calls for it…

When it comes to the sin of over-editing The 38 Most Common Fiction Writing Mistakes brought up an interesting fact that I hadn’t known before, but which further strengthens my belief in FIRST TELL THE STORY. Here’s the proof the book provided me with; Especially when you’re writing rough draft in a story, your job is not to be a critic. It’s to be a creator. Any thought during this time that ‘This is dumb’ is a bad thought, a thought likely to screw up the imaginative process. If such a thought comes to you as you’re writing early-draft copy, you must recognize it as bad, toss it out of your mind, and simply press on.”

I agree with every single word. And then came the interesting part;

“As I’m sure you know, the human brain is composed of two hemispheres. The right hemisphere, or half, is the seat of emotion, imagination, creativity and intuition. The left hemisphere is the logical side, the analyzer, language processor, critic. The two halves of the brain communicate with one another, but imperfectly; there is even one theory that says much of psychological theory is really the result of the left hemisphere’s attempts to make sense of stuff felt and done by the right side, which is impulsive and basically kind of crazy and essentially unexplainable!”

Which to me taps into that intangible that just can’t be taught. Writers - people who see ideas for stories everywhere and anywhere and immediately begin to form them into scenes and dialogue between characters that they feel the need to write down on paper - are a particular breed of people. It’s said that everyone has at least one book in them. But the simple fact is not everyone can TELL that story. Some things, despite years of study and dedication, just can’t be taught. Every writer at some point will be asked how and why they do the things they do, and there will be a moment when they think about it, but the answer is; they just do. It’s often referred to as a gift. We all have particular gifts – things that we’re naturally good at – and I don’t believe there’s anyone in the world who doesn’t. The sad thing is not everyone discovers what their gift is, and some who do are unable to make a living from it. Maybe it’s because it can’t be quantified and we ARE lucky enough to make a living from it that writers are reluctant to try and nail down where it comes from; we’re just thankful it's there. Another simple truth is that the ‘gift’ is there in varying degrees with different people. You’ll hear people in the business refer to someone as a ‘RAW TALENT’. THIS is when study and dedication comes in. You’ll also hear people in the business talking about ‘HONING THEIR CRAFT’. This is the learning process, and in my experience, it never- or at least never should - stop. Where the line has to be drawn between natural talent and education is when the latter begins to have a detrimental effect on the former. Once you discover what works for you, stick to it. TELL THE STORY your way, with your voice, and with the approach that it’s something YOU WOULD READ. That may seem self-serving to some but if you have to spend every day of your life doing a job then why on earth would you want it to be something you hate?! Life’s too short my friends. And if you love what you do, it shows on the page… the reader can feel it… and as to whether or not the book you’d love to read is one that will sell, well some of that comes down to luck and timing, but how do you think the books you’ve read and loved got printed? Possibly because someone else loves the same thing you'd like to read?

The 38 Most Common Fiction Writing Mistakes then goes on to explain how this left brain/right brain effects the writing process; “Given this bicameral brain of yours, consider what goes on when you write. Ideas, pictures, characters and plots drift out of the right hemisphere. They have no shape and no linearity. So you turn on your left side and analyze, logicalize, form, plan. Then you sit down and write your first draft, which is to say, to dream a patterned dream; and the right hemisphere is called on to do that.”

This confirms what I believe and have learned along the way. It says that the PLANNING and research you do BEFORE you start the story is your foundation. You have to KNOW YOUR CHARACTERS before you begin writing. You have to DO YOUR RESEARCH before you begin writing. All that work is then there for REFERENCE. And then we set it ALL to one side, and simply TELL THE STORY.

The book then explains; “The left hemisphere, however, is not entirely decommissioned while the first-draft dreaming is going on. The left has to process the language, and it has to stand by in the wings, watching the performance, auditing it to make sure that the dream doesn’t suddenly lose all form and direction. Then, later, during revisions, the left-side critic may come much more to the fore, seeing logical problems, examining story pattern, character motives, the purity of the grammar and spelling and so on.

So writing becomes a most strange and wonderful product of alliance between the hemispheres of your brain, in which first one, then the other hemisphere is dominant.”


Interesting isn’t it? But it makes perfect sense. Because as the book concludes from this; “To put this another way, I think most ‘this is dumb’ fear messages are destructive for two reasons:

1. They get the wrong side of the brain in charge and thwart the creative process, and

2. They signal a revolt inside your head that can only lead to fear and further slowing of your story’s progress.


There is a time for the left-side critic. But during the writing of a draft is not that time. You use your left side to make your plans, draw your outlines, lay out your characters. But once you start down the creative highway of writing a draft, you keep that logical roadmap on the seat beside you; you don’t keep reading it while you’re driving.”

I LOVE that last part – the thinking of all your work before you start the book as the creation of a road map you can refer to when you get lost. I think that’s why the pantster in me focuses so heavily on the building of the characters before I begin. Because THE CHARACTERS ARE THE FOCUS of a romance novel. From them we get the motivations, goals and conflicts that form the building blocks of the story. They are my roadmap and when I get stuck I refer back to them, put myself inside their heads and think about their reactions to what has already happened. Nine times out of ten this will get me out of any hole I’ve dig myself into. Then I set that ‘roadmap’ to one side again and focus on telling the story. You could also think of it as a Chef cooking an amazing meal. There’s preparation and creativity involved. Preparation and the ingredients he will use are the keys to the end product. But while he is cooking he will go by his senses, by taste and scent and a sense of timing that some people will never get, even if they follow a recipe religiously step-by-step (trust me – I can burn water). A Chef may do a lot of his cooking based on instinct and experience, but without the ingredients and the preparation he has nothing to create something from. And if things aren’t quite right during the creative stage, what will he do? Isn’t he likely to go back to the ingredients and adjust the levels; adding a little here and there until he gets it right to his satisfaction? Maybe having a roadmap is the kind of more detailed outline a plotter would have, and a Chef’s ingredients are closer to the basics a pantster might have… I'll let you decide...

But, as the book points out, there’s a flip side to being too critical of yourself and your work; “Your plight could be infinitely worse. You could be one of that small, truly doomed minority who thinks every word they write is precious, every idea immortal, every character a demigod, every plot a classic. They never think anything they write is dumb. So they never self-criticize even at times they should, never listen to advice, never study published writers, and spend all their emotional energy defending the rocky turf of their enormous ego."

Thankfully I have yet to meet someone like this in the romance writing community; we tend as a whole to stand on the paranoia side of the fence. Maybe that’s why we tend to band together the way we do; misery loves company and all that. We’re also fantastically good about sharing our techniques for procrastination, but that’s a whole other lesson. Bottom line: If you over-edit or criticize your work too much. Knock it on the head.


  • CHECK BACK LATER for more of this 'mini-workshop' and remember to LET ME KNOW if you're Blogging something for those of us Not At Nationals so I can add a link to the sidebar! Got questions about anything in the Blog just ask in the comments and I'll do my best to answer them ;)
(You can now Move on to Part Eleven of this Mini-Workshop here.)

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For a transcript of the Rogue Conference on Digital Publishing at Nationals you can now go to Scorched Sheets here. It makes for VERY interesting reading.


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And the Washington Post has an article up about the RWA Conference here.

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