Roving Romaniacs at Julie Cohen’s Advanced Novelists’ Workshop

Advanced Novelists’ Workshop – 13 October 2012

 with Julie Cohen

Laura : The two hundred mile round trip from Weymouth, Dorset to Reading, Berks, to attend Julie Cohen’s course was worth every moment.

It started with catching up with Sue and discovering, although we were travelling from different locations, we both saw a village in the sky and a hot air balloon floating above our cars.

Sue : That was so weird, I promise there were no illegal substances involved. Our journeys just happened to merge at the same point, the M3 and that’s where we had this mirage. 

Laura : I arrived at nine thirty and met with the other attendees, all of whom were lovely and very interesting ladies. And what an array of genres and writing styles. I learned much by listening to everyone’s ideas and solutions to writing problems.

Sue : Yes, I got there shortly after Laura, probably only a few minutes, but then spent about 10 more trying to fit into the tiniest parking space EVER. Which I did, I hasten to add. 

It was lovely to see some people I’d met before, some who up until that point had only been a Twitter profile picture and some that I had never met. It was also fascinating to find out the different genres we were all writing, especially the YA authors.

Laura : The day was divided into sessions, all of which we had requested. I’m desperate to learn how to write a sympathetic flawed character, and I asked for a section on what to include in a submission letter to agents. Both topics were discussed in great detail and I am keen to put my new knowledge into action.

Sue : I wanted to find out more about writing sex scenes but in the end we skipped that part as it wasn’t appropriate for all genres. I’ll just have to research it in other ways.  Err, I was actually thinking along the lines of reading more books, not what you were thinking!  Although I did have an interesting conversation with Julie on the way back to the car park about this topic and the ‘key’ words, but that’s for another day.

Julie very kindly critiqued the first five pages of  my WIP and has given me some great advice. I am writing from three different points of view, but experimenting with the third and first person.  Is this wise? Does it pull the reader out of the story? Does it interrupt the flow? Obviously, something I need to give thought to – so thank you, Julie.

Laura : Even though we submitted the first five pages of our WIP’s for Julie to critique, upon her advice, I am using the lessons learned to build up my hero in my first novel, Truth or Dare? The information and methods are brilliant and have given me ways to increase the percentage of the hero’s POV and for it to have purpose. I’m very excited by this prospect. Once I have sorted him out, I will use the techniques to create a likeable, but extremely flawed heroine for Follow Me.

It was a fantastic day with cake, new and existing friends and a great tutor. Oh. And a visit to the pub afterwards. What’s not to like?

Sue : OMG! I was in heaven with all that lovely cake, I think I ate enough for both Laura and I. Okay, I probably ate enough for all nine Romaniacs – I didn’t  like to leave anyone out.  It was a great day, really enjoyed the company, loved Julie’s natural ability to make you feel at ease and then fish and chips at the pub – when can we do it again?

Laura  and Sue x

14 thoughts on “Roving Romaniacs at Julie Cohen’s Advanced Novelists’ Workshop

  1. Have been discussing the course with my writing mate Adrienne Vaughan and am just about getting over the disappointment of not being able to attend. Must be more on the ball next time. It sounded fantastic and I know she enjoyed every minute of it. By way of a consolation prize Laura did send me a very nice SILVER biro which I will be taking to the Festival of Romance. Anyone going to that ?

    • Lizzie – glad you like the pen. I know it’s not much by way of consolation, but it’s stationery. I can see why/how you and Adrienne get along – both lovely, funny ladies.
      Laura xx

  2. Sounds like it was a wonderful day! Wonder would Julie ever come to Dublin to give a workshop? Or online? How cool would that be! xxx

    • Hi Edith
      It was a wonderful learning experience and one I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend.
      Laura x

    • Hi Nicky
      Julie is a great tutor and her enthusiasm and writing techniques have spurred me into action.
      Laura xx

  3. I’m so jealous! Would have loved to have gone but work at the weekends currently so need Julie to do a week day course.

  4. It sounds as though you had an amazing time! Glad you could both go,thanks for sharing with us.
    Still not convinced about the village in the sky being real. Have a feeling you two must have had a bottle of something in the car! I am getting to know you romaniacs by now.
    Lorraine x

  5. Sounds like a really good day. Glad you found it useful. I keep toying with taking a beginners creative writing course but need to pluck up the courage.

    • Hi Lindsay

      I would definitely recommend it and please don’t feel you need courage, everyone is so friendly and welcoming, you will feel really at ease. Back in the archives is a blog Laura did when she went on a writing course run by Sarah Duncan. I’ve been on her courses too and would highly recommend them.

      Thanks for dropping by.

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