Romantic Novelists’ Association – Birmingham Chapter

Whenever a group of writers meet together tongues never stop wagging, a good time is had by all and, most

English: Chamberlain Square With the reclining...

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!


  1. #1 by Marilyn Rodwell on February 27, 2012 - 2:22 pm

    Good post Sally! The value of good advice should never be underestimated. And Jean was generous with hers. But where she gets the time to write on top of a full time district nurse’s job, lecturing, as well as being the wife of a vicar, is answer to all our excuses for not getting on with it.


    • #2 by Sally Jenkins on February 27, 2012 - 4:14 pm

      Yes, Marilyn – no excuse for us not to be churning novels out by the score!

  2. #3 by susanjanejones on February 27, 2012 - 8:13 pm

    Great post Sally, sounds like you gained plenty of inspiration.

  3. #4 by Vikki (The View Outside) on February 28, 2012 - 6:32 am

    isn’t it amazing how inspiring it is just to meet up with other writers for a natter 😉

    What a fabulous afternoon!


    • #5 by Sally Jenkins on February 28, 2012 - 12:54 pm

      Susan & Vikki – yes, a good time was had by all!

  4. #6 by johnlmalone on March 4, 2012 - 9:29 pm

    Although I do not write novels the points you picked up are very useful; and yes being a part of a writers group is really useful to having your work critiqued by other writers and of breaking out of the isolation that is the writer’s lot.

    thanks for dropping by my blog and leaving a comment. I hope you return regularly. It is always good to have a new reader

    • #7 by Sally Jenkins on March 5, 2012 - 1:04 pm

      Hi John – thanks for the comments and I will try to visit your blog again (too many blogs, too little time!)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: