It came to my attention recently that it’s really important to me what font my stories are written in.

My favourite font to write in is Calibri – it just looks sweet on the page to me and generally makes me happy with what I’m writing. I’m okay with Times New Roman and will use it if I have to but I absolutely do NOT like my writing when it’s in Courier or Courier New font.

There’s no reasonable explanation for this but I read it and it just seems blah in Courier. This is a real pain because many contest entries (at least here in Australia) require that the entry font is Courier.

Anyway I’m the first to admit that I have many strange quirks, so I was wondering…. is it just me or does the font matter to you as well???


My friend Christina Phillips – also from Western Australia – has her new book FORBIDDEN coming out very soon.

To celebrate she’s holding a party on her blog and she wants help to spread the word. See below šŸ™‚
To help celebrate the release of Forbidden, Christina Phillips’s debut Roman/Druid Ancient Historical Romance from Berkley Heat, she’s holding a launch party with lots of amazing authors and fabulous giveaways! In addition, Christina’s giving away a signed copy of Forbidden to one lucky person who helps spread the love. All you have to do is mention the party (you can copy and paste this blurb), being held from 1st to 6th September at http://christinaphillips.blogspot.com. You can Tweet about it, blog, Facebook, MySpace or anything! And then drop her an email at ChristinapPh @ gmail dot com (no spaces) to let her know. Please put Forbidden Launch Party (or something similar) in the subject line. The winner will be drawn for that on Monday 6th September.

Well… that’s me done my duty šŸ™‚ Head on over – you won’t be disappointed!

What a GOAL can do for you!

GOALS – I wrote notes about characters’ goals in my last blog post but I think there’s another person’s goals who are really important when we talk about writing.

Or rather the goals of the writer.
Since my dreaded R a few months back, I’ve been more like the tortoise than the hare when it comes to writing. I’ve still typed off the odd chapter but actual books? I’m a lo-ooooong way off! So just before the conf, I decided to set myself some writing goals that I wanted to achieve before the end of the year.
Goal #1 – write 10k of my kinda rural romance single title idea so I could enter it into RWA Oz’ Single Title And Loving It Contest this year. Not that I expect to place, although I do hope to get good feedback… the main reason for deciding to enter this contest was to give myself a deadline. And I’m pleased to report that today I met this goal.
Goal #2 was to finish the partial and synopsis of my M&B Romance targetted mss, ready to sub the first chap to the contest and if I don’t get past the first round (which let’s face it, is higly likely cos there’ll be a zillion people entering) directly to the ed I’ve been working with. I still need to edit and polish but this partial is basically done. The synopsis is well on the way.
Goal #3 was to write the first five pages (at the least) of a new M&B Romance idea, so that I could enter it into RWA Oz’s High Five contest. The deadline of this (like the STALI) is end of September and I’ve written two pages, so I guess I’m on track.
Goal #4 was to write the first 50k of my rural romance so that I could apply for an ASA Mentorship. At the moment, this goal seems the most daunting. But, unless things go extremely well with the New Voices contest and my writing time is busy elsewhere, I’m gonna do my darn best to achieve this as well.
I’ve realised I work best with tangible goals that I can tick of a visual list and FEEL GOOD about!
What about you? Do you set goals? Does it work? If so, what’s your next BIG goal!?

Nuggets of Gold from RWA Oz!

Debra Dixon’s GMC Workshop

  • Characters who want something they don’t have = BETTER.
  • Goal – important enough for character to act against their own best interest; needs a sense of urgency.
  • Make sure short term goal outweighs long term goal but will affect long term goal.
  • Make the goal specific – something that is ACTIONABLE.
  • Starter goal – gets book going but is not necessarily what the book is about.
  • One goal should lead to the next – and keep raising the stakes!
  • You have to support the BIG GOAL with SMALLER GOALS.
  • External Goal – go something/do something – created FOR THE STORY.
  • Internal Goal – what character brings into the story – their baggage/damage that character has to deal with by the end of the book.
  • EVERY character should have goals/have an agenda.
  • Goals are NOT ALWAYS achieved.
  • If character doesn’t read the goal, we need to know WHY.
  • If character is NOT going to achieve a goal – make the reader satisfied by showing it was the WRONG goal.
  • If you don’t show character growth – YOU FAILED.
  • There are two choices for any character: 1) Sucky 2) Suckier.
  • Give characters grey areas – not necessarily noble choices/actions. eg) Give them decisions to make that are HARD – to adopt out a baby or to abort it.
  • Think about what a character will sacrifice and what they will not, then bring them face to face with these things/those choices.
  • Give your characters what they say they want and take away what they say they don’t want – because its one thing to say things and another to actually do them.
  • Motivation – can be multi-layered/have more than one.
  • Characters can lie to themselves and they can take action on lies they’ve been told.
  • Minor goals need motivation too.
  • Any time the goal changes, check the motivation.
  • Conflict – bad things happening to good people or Two Dogs + One Bone.
  • The characters GMCs should COLLIDE.
  • Love is often a conflict – eg) wrong guy, wrong time.
  • Good conflict doesn’t have an obvious conclusion.
  • You don’t have to get BOTH the external and the internal conflict on page one.
  • You have to break your h&H to make them WHOLE AGAIN.
  • You need to be able to sum up each character’s GMC in 25 words.
  • Each book has a life lesson and its often good when the character vocalises the life lesson.
  • Each scene in a book needs THREE reasons to be there – at least one reason needs to be G or M or C!!!
Debra Dixon’s Hero’s Journey Workshop
  • There needs to be a physical outward journey AND emotional inward journey.
  • Mass Market Fiction deals with BIG LIFE ISSUES and shows that change is possible, offers hope.
  • Journey teaches hero how to change.
  • Ordinary World – gives context for story; establish as quickly as possible but take as long as you want – LOL.
  • Call to Adventure – make clear the goal and what’s at stake; big or small.
  • Reluctance/Refusal to the call – shows character is not stupid.
  • Mentor – helps prepare hero for journey.
  • Cross The First Threshold – point of no return.
  • Tests, Allies and Enemies – has to face things and take action, helps readers understand the conflict, develops character and plot development, tests character’s motivations.
  • Approach The Inmost Cave – character faces danger, there’s often a love scene.
  • The Ordeal – grey moment, on the brink of greatest fear, secrets about to come out, goals in jeopardy, characters lose ability to lie to them-self.
  • Reward – small victory.
  • Roadback – hero’s decision to get out; recognises that we haven’t won the war yet.
  • Resurrection – old self becomes new, central problem comes back, last gasp of evil forces, characters make decisions that they wouldn’t have made at the beginning.
  • Return with the Elixer – back in their ordinary world, helps readers leave the character/s in a better place.
Melanie Milburne’s Bin To Bestseller workshop
  • Each story needs a controlling idea – controlling idea is NOT the same as premise. (eg. Think I worked out the controlling idea in my current wip is “Hero throws himself into relationships because he doesn’t feel worthy and heroine avoids relationships because she doesn’t feel worthy.” They both need to learn that they ARE worthy.
  • Characters are only revealed in their true essence when under pressure – when they have to make hard choices.
Jessica Hart’s A to Z of Writing Life
  • Understand your writing process and accept it – however wacky and different from your friends, CPs and famous writers.
  • h&H’s have to recognise the truth about each other and falling in love makes them realise the truth about themselves.
  • Reader has to understand why the characters think the romance can’t work out.
  • Her take on Presents vs Romance: Presents = unresolved sexual tension; Romance = unresolved emotional tension.

The Girl Who Spread The Lurgy…

Otherwise known as The Conference Delegate Who Kept Kleenex In Business.

That’s right… I hit RWA Oz on Thursday laden with the most shocking cold I’d had in a long time, so I want to take this opportunity to apologise to anyone I passed on the shocking cold to. Send me your snail mail addie and I
‘ll post you a box of tissues šŸ™‚
Did I let the Cold From Hell ruin my weekend? No siree!
The conf was as fabulous as it always is, but this time it was even sweeter cos I had so many good writing friends I got to catch up with. Always awesome catching up in person with the delightful bloggers Becca J Heath, Leah Ashton and Janette Radevski,
my other CPs Melissa Smith and Joanne Dannon, my lovely email buddy and now rooomie Cathryn Brunet and of course finally meeting the gorgeous Jackie Ashenden (who I felt like I’d known for a lifetime). Was also fabulous and awesome to share one night with my good friend Fiona Lowe and to meet people I’d met online via the loop or email but hadn’t met
in person until the conf. Too many to mention, so I’m not even gonna try.
Enough with the name dropping, hey?
The whole weekend was fabulous – being in the company of other writers
is always inspiring but my favourite session would have to be The A to Z of Writing Life by Jessica Hart. She is one very funny and down-to-earth lady and I reckon her local pub will be famous after her talk. If only I could remember its name.
I hope to write more about what I
heard/learnt at the conference when I’m feeling a little better but I’ll leave you with some pics from the Fancy Dress party on Friday night. Apologies in advance if Blogger won’t let me position them properly!
The top pic is of Jackie, Janette and me.
The middle pic is my lovely CP Melissa Smith and moi!
The bottom pic is me with three of my fave writing people – Becca, Jackie and Janette before the conf… pic was taken by the gorgeous Cathryn!

Absolutely completely only two sleeps to go!

Two sleeps until all the fun of the RWA Oz conf begins. I arrive in Sydney on Thursday and its pretty much straight to the e-list dinner. From there there’s dinners, drinks, workshops, brekkies, parties, more workshops, more dinners and I just can’t wait.

Cannot wait to get up and cheer on my fabulous friends Becca J Heath, Leah Ashton and Melissa Smith (aren’t my buddies talented?) who are up for awards. It’s the first year I’m not up for an award, which is a bit depressing, but oh well… hopefully it’s the lull before The Call! LOL
So, I’ll be quiet online until mid next week when I’ve settled back in home, spent time with my men after the weekend drought and caught up on the mammoth pile of washing that will no doubt await me. But hopefully I’ll be back with lots of pics (please send me remember-to-take-photo vibes, cos my track record isn’t fabulous) and lots of inspiration to get writing again!
Until then… HAPPY WRITING!