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?