The New Jersey Romance Writers met Saturday, March 19, at the Hilton Woodbridge in Iselin, NJ. At the General Meeting, President Shirley Hailstock and NJRW’s Board updated members on the group’s finances, the new website, upcoming events including April’s Special Event, planning for October’s Put Your Heart in a Book conference, and the status of NJRW’s writing contests. Hospitality Chair Val Luna handed out Hershey’s Kisses for those who submitted manuscripts since last month, Hershey’s Hugs for rejections, and a sprig of flowers for recipients of good news. The Heartline Herald editor, Joan Raleigh, asked for member volunteers to write articles for the newsletter. Volunteers are always needed and it is a great way to network.
Member Kathye Thornton shared information about CTRWA’s upcoming Connecticut Fiction Fest 2011 on May 14 in North Haven, CT. Keynote Speaker is Eloisa James. Those attending will have the opportunity to pitch their books to acquiring editors and agents. Noted authors will present workshops on a variety of topics. All for only $99. Side note: I’ve learned Kathye has two how-to e-books (pdf) of interest – MS Word 2007 for Writers and also a guide for earlier Word versions. Useful!
Member Terri Brisbin provided an update on NJRW’s exhibit at the NAIBA tradeshow to be held September 21-22 in Atlantic City. NJRW will invite our published authors to man booths to sign their current releases and network independent booksellers. The goal of our involvement is to promote the romance genre and provide information about local authors to the booksellers.
After the General Meeting and a short break, this months’ three featured authors presented their latest books then held a short book signing. Included were Authors Terri Brisbin – HIS ENEMY’S DAUGHTER, Shirley Hailstock – SOME LIKE THEM RICH, and Renee Ryan – DANGEROUS ALLIES.
The monthly program featured author Renee Ryan who spoke on The Art of Layering: From First Draft to Final Manuscript. She began by stating that she received 187 rejection letters before selling her first book. She kept them all. She entered multiple contests and studied the craft of writing. After her first sale it would be nearly seven years before her next. During that time she went back to studying craft and discovered the art of layering. She said if we take away only one thing from her talk, we should remember “the one thing you control is your craft.”
Ms. Ryan discussed her eight-step process in layering. Step One is to write a first draft. After that, using examples from her work, she showed how to layer each scene with movement, senses, dialogue, emotion, and so on. Layering makes the scene come alive. It allows an author to show, not tell. It allows for deep point of view letting the reader feel she is deep in the mind of the character.
She also provided helpful tips, answering questions such as “What do I do if a scene isn’t working?” (Use highlighters to color code dialogue, emotion, etc.) and “How can I write what a tornado feels like if I’ve never been in one?” (Watch You Tube!).
Sensational workshop, dynamic speaker!
Following a pleasant lunch with our fellow writers down in the hotel’s restaurant, we went back upstairs where we broke into two groups. NJRW’s published authors met for a monthly Published Authors session. President Shirley Hailstock led a useful Hands-On session for those not yet published. Writers brought the first 250 words of their manuscripts for a fascinating and very helpful discussion about opening lines.
Simply one meeting, free and available monthly to members of NJRW. One hand reaching forward, one hand reaching back – writers helping writers. It’s what RWA is all about. ∞