Whenever a group of writers meet together tongues never stop wagging, a good time is had by all and, most
importantly, everyone goes away fired up with renewed enthusiasm!
This was the case on Saturday at the first 2012 quarterly meeting of the Birmingham Chapter of the Romantic Novelists Association. Nine of us had lunch at the Edwardian Tea Rooms in the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery.
Jean Fullerton, winner of the 2006 Harry Bowling Prize, was our special guest. As well as writing historical novels based in the East End of London and giving regular talks to Women’s Institutes and other organisations, she continues to work full-time as a district nurse – so there’s no excuse for the rest of us not finding time to write!
Jean was generous with her advice and, amongst other things, emphasised that in romance novels, the author must be in love with the hero she’s created – otherwise why on earth should the reader fall for him? Also protagonists must remain ‘in character’ and not be shoe-horned into doing something not in their nature just for the sake of the plot. And in answer to a question, Jean said that there’s no need to get hung up on what is the ‘right’ chapter length or worry about making them all equal – if necessary this can be sorted with the help of an editor later.
Elsewhere around the table we discussed the pros and cons of basing characters on real people, emailing manuscripts to our Kindles in order to see them with fresh eyes and spot mistakes missed on the computer screen plus we caught up with how everyone had been doing over the last few months.
Writing can be a lonely and frustrating business, so if you get the chance to go to a workshop, class or other gathering of writers – grab it with both hands!