Sunday started bright and early with the announcement of the Group Grants award (our face-to-face writer's group was lucky enough to be awarded a grant to go towards paying for a workshop on self-publishing later in the year).
We then heard from Harlequin Australia and had a lively panel session - 'Speed-dating with Aussie Publisher's where publishers and agents from Harper Collins/ Avon, Curtis Brown Australia, Momentum, Harlequin and Simon & Schuster tried to 'sell' themselves as to why they would be good to submit to.
After morning tea, we broke into our first session of the day. I had 'The Joys and Challenges of Romatic Attraction' by couples therapist Dr John Barletta. It was quite an amusing talk, with lots of good information.
After lunch, I attended 'Why TV can be a writer's best friend' with Amanda Ashby and Sara Hantz. Boy, these ladies watch some TV - I don't know how they ever find time to write! (Actually I think it was Amanda who admitted she writes in the ad breaks!!)
- Television teaches us how to use action, emotion and characterisation.
- Show not tell to heighten emotion. ie Let the reader see for themselves. It's more believable than just telling people something. It's why the news uses 'live coverage' even when there isn't anything to see.
- To make every action count, you need to follow it up with a reaction. It improves both your character arc and your pacing.
- Take the time to highlight the emotional fallout.
- Look at what your characters are doing, not what they're saying. Character is revealed through action.
- Backstory makes a character feel more real and where motivation for their actions comes from.
That was followed by 'The hidden strength of secondary characters' with Erin Grace.
- We should know our secondary character's life story and personal quirks, even though it doesn't all have to be revealed to the reader.
- Having a secondary character reveal facts, hints and secrets about the hero/ine can be more effective & credible than narrative.
- A secondary character adds layers to the main characters. They may also act as a mirror to the mains.
- They can be used to cause conflict, deliver vital plot information
- A secondary character MUST move the story forward - otherwise drop them.
- Consider the length of your book - the more secondary characters, the longer it needs to be so that they're not cardboard cutouts. Also the more secondaries, the more complex the plot may be.
- Secondary character doesn't need to have a character arc - it's not their story.
We finished up with another speed-dating session - this time with Alex Adsett, Random House and Penguin.
The next conference was launched in spectacular fashion - now everyone is looking forward to Fremantle in 2013!
So that was it. An exhausting yet motivational and knowledge-filled 3 days. 3 days of lots and lots of chatting, hugging, the occasional squeal and eating!
See you all next year!