Workshop 1 – Bootcamp

Presenter: Anne GracieAnne Gracie

For: Aspiring and Emerging Authors

Friday Bootcamp at the conference? What’s that about?

Traditionally the Friday workshop before the conference has been an intensive craft-of-writing program. As RWA has grown, we’ve been trying to cater for a wider variety of members at very different stages of their career, and we’ve passed the one-size-fits all stage.

At the same time, very few of us have studied writing formally — we more or less fell into it, learning by doing and from studying the books we loved, and maybe doing an on-line course here and there along the way. Even so, most courses in Australia focus on literary fiction, and ignore or are unaware of some of the most important aspects of writing popular fiction.

So the Bootcamp Friday workshop is an intensive craft-of writing program with a clear focus on writing romance — though the elements covered will be useful for all kinds of popular fiction.

Who is the Bootcamp for?

Whether you’re just starting out or have published a number of books there will be writing exercises and tips and tricks for all levels of experience.

It will be a day of intensive writing and rewriting, working in groups. The focus is to try out a range of techniques and approaches, to play with your writing and see what might suit you and what doesn’t. The last part of the day will concentrate on dealing with questions raised by the group.

It will also be a day of connecting with like-minded people — through working in groups and discussing some of the issues raised, you might arrive knowing nobody, but you will leave having made friends.

Topics covered

1) Starting a novel

  • How to engage readers from the start and keep them reading.
  • Getting into characters’ heads. Point of view, backstory, motivation, info-dumps, character arcs.
  • Dialogue  — tips and tricks to make your dialogue sparkle.

2) Structuring a novel

  • Plotting and structure, building scenes.
  • Conflict – internal and external, levels of conflict, building tension, the black moment and the climax.
  • Techniques — foreshadowing, pacing, avoiding the sagging middle

3) Editing and rewriting

  • Techniques to sharpen your writing.

4) Your unique writer’s voice

  • Developing your ideas — avoiding clichés and the “same old same old.”
  • Your voice, your world, your themes
  • The long haul.

5) Questions from the floor