As you can see from the posts earlier this week, the authors who attended this year’s Romance Writers of America conference have shared great pictures and stories to go along with the trip. Rula and Catherine posted so many pictures, you’ll feel like you were there. Anna filled you in on the things she learned at the conference and her trips to the Disney parks and other conference tidbits. So I decided to recap the trip from another angle.
While RWA is a time to catch up with friends we see only once a year, meet with our editors, learn latest promotion trends and attend award ceremonies, for me, the craft workshops are still a very important component of the conference. Each year RWA offers so many workshops, with a wide variety to choose from, it is very difficult to pick and choose. Yet every time I attend, I’m drawn to the craft classes. I suppose it has to do with the creative part of me, but whatever the reason, I always gain something new to add to my writer’s tool box.
In my early years of writing, I belonged to a local chapter that brought in superb speakers. The foundation I received on the craft of writing was invaluable. And overwhelming as a newbie. But I studied goal, motivation, conflict. I dove into characterization. Learned more about plotting. Through time, my work became better and I felt I was ready to submit to a publisher. I had rejections- haven’t we all!- but I kept plugging away until I finally got the call that changed my life.
Now, whenever I start a new project, I go back to my favorite books for a refresher. There are old books I keep within reach, as well as new books I’ve discovered through the years. As writers, we need to be immersed in the creative process so we can submit our very best project. I’m so thankful for the years it has taken to understand craft, the many manuscripts it took to get it right, and the teachers along the way who helped, encouraged and inspired me.
There are many books to choose from, and as writers, we tend to gravitate toward those authors whose writing advice resonates in us. If you asked ten different romance authors who they go to when starting a project, you would probably get ten different answers, which is great because we all aren't the same.
Bottom line? Our craft is important. We need to write compelling books. The books that keep our readers turning the pages because they can’t wait to get to the end, even if it means losing sleep in the process. The books that bring a sigh after the final words. The keepers we reread year after year because we loved a particular story. We honor our readers by continuing to hone our writing skills, no matter what stage we're in during the publishing process. It's an awesome career and I'm so thankful for the wonderful readers who support us and join us as part of the journey.
Tara Randel is an award-winning, USA Today bestselling author of fifteen novels. Family values, a bit of mystery and, of course, love and romance, are her favorite themes, because she believes love is the greatest gift of all. She is currently working on new stories for Harlequin Heartwarming, The Business of Weddings series. Visit Tara at www.tararandel.com. Like her on Facebook at Tara Randel Books