What I Learned – Third Day’s the Charm at #RWA13

So today I attended Workshops, the Keynote Lecture by Cathy Maxwell, and the Annual General Meeting of the Romance Writers of America.  Here’s some of my favorite takeaways from these:

  • Young Adult is finding out who you are. New Adult is figuring out your place in the world.
  • YA is a different voice and a different mindset for writers. But go with your gut. Do what’s right for you and your story.
  • Books are dangerous because they make you think.
  • Compress the timeline! A ticking clock makes a plot more exciting. Have an impossible timeline and then compress it more.
  • Make your reader have sympathy for the villain because they’re in a terrible predicament, too. A stronger villain equals a stronger hero.
  • If a book is sagging in the middle, you are being too nice to your protagonist.  Make their life miserable and your readers will love it.
  • Give your villain two bad choices on how to reach their goal.  The reader will sympathize with their predicament.
  • Find out what or who your hero needs to reach their goal–now take it away from them!
  • Write yourself into a corner.  Don’t go with the first solution to the hero’s dilemma or the second through tenth. Your reader won’t know how much you struggled to write yourself out of the corner–they’ll only see the brilliant book.
  • A hook does three things: it asks a question, answers a question, or begs a question.
  • Your story has been given to you by the story gods in its entirety.  You’re an archeologist and you must dig to uncover it all.
  • Why would you deliberately devalue what comes from your heart, what’s uniquely yours?  Write your story.
  • The 7 paragraphs of a synopsis should cover the heroine’s goals, the hero’s goals, the moment of change (call to adventure), the first threshold (what throws your characters together), the ordeal (the big thing in the middle of the book where characters begin to tell each other secrets), the black moment (where characters lose trust and revert back to the way they were at the beginning of the story), and the resolution (happily ever after).
  • New Adult is when you’ve “come of age” but don’t feel like it yet. It’s YA with the added responsibility of being grown up and without parental support.
  • Real people ignore their angst.  Writers shine a light on things people shy away from.
  • One person’s bad review is another person’s goldmine. Everybody looks
    for different things in a book. People have different tastes.

I also attended the Passionate Ink Mild to Kink party which featured a BDSM lecture and demonstration with kitchen implements and food. I received my own roll of bondage tape to take home. Woo hoo!

I saw lots of great people at the Rainbow Romance Writers meetup.  Dreamspinner Press gave me a cool t-shirt! I am totally writing a novel for them in the next month.  Watch me!

I finished the evening at the Death by Chocolate party by the Kiss of Death chapter of RWA.  The dresses were beautiful. The chocolate was rich and decadent.  All the great people I met on the KOD Tour on Tuesday were there and we talked for hours.

I can’t wait to see what tomorrow holds!

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Aidee Ladnier

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