Friday, November 23, 2018

5 Reasons to love ROSACon

Today's guest post is from Anthony Ehlers, who has not only attended every ROSA conference to date, but has been a guest speaker at almost all of them too.

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This year, we celebrated five years of our ROSA Conference and, as usual, it was a success. To mark this milestone event, here are five reaons you’ll love ROSACon if you’re a romance writer.

You’ll network. Every writer at the conference is at a different stage of their journey – some are multi-published, others just starting out. Everyone has different skills, contacts and insights. It’s a great place to meet people who will support you – and where you can support others.

You’ll stay ahead of trends. The conference is a great place to know what trends are coming up in English and Afrikaans publishing – discover what agents and editors are looking for and what self published and independent authors are doing to write, market and sell their books.

You’ll learn. From learning more about the craft of writing to the business side of being a writer, from the pyshcology of staying positive and motivated to the insights you gain from how other writers work and live, ROSACon has it all.

You’ll experience fellowship. It’s always good to go back and be part of one’s “tribe” – and ROSA is about meeting up with people who don’t share your interest but your passion for love stories.

You’ll be (very) inspired. Writing isn’t easy – it’s often lonely and hard work. But we do it because we absolutley love telling stories. It’s always inspiring to see other writers living their dreams – some of it is sweat, no doubt, but most of it is pure glow!

Don’t miss next year’s ROSA Conference – you’ll fall in love with the love of romance writing (for the first time, or all over again!)

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

What are the Strelitzia judges looking for? 5 tips to taking home the trophy

Today's guest post is from author Suzanne Jefferies, one of ROSA's founding members, a long-time member of the committee, and judge and mentor in ROSA's previous Strelitzia contests.

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What’s the thing - that seemingly undefinable thing - that will make a judge leap from their chair and exclaim, yep, this one!

It’s been two years of Strelitzia now and both times, when I've read the winning manuscript, I had that feeling. It trick-tracked gooseflesh up over my neck. I itched to turn the page (one I read at the hairdressers and sat sat sat there for hours, for once delighted to be delayed). I ached to know…what…happens…next.

How can you make sure yours is that entry in 2019? Here’s a few tips that might set you on the right path to Strelitzia glory:

  1. Internal conflict. What emotional wound's driving your sexy protagonist and how’s he/she going to be forced to face it in his relationship with the antagonist? And vice versa. Hint: if everything's going smoothly between the two of them when they hook up and continues to do so, you’ve got no internal conflict. No conflict = boring. No conflict = I’m skip reading to the end of this. No conflict = no.
  2. External conflict. Does your protagonist have a goal? What is it? If you’re launching into a ‘it’s complicated’ explanation, he/she doesn’t have a goal. What are the obstacles in the way of their goal? How is the love interest one of those obstacles? Hint: don’t clear the path here and make it less complicated. Turn up the heat. What’s the worst that can happen? Make that happen.
  3. It’s a love story FIRST. Your protagonist and antagonist should spend at least 80% or more of the book in scenes together, conflicting with each other. If there are lots of scenes with the two of them apart, you’re running into trouble. Your book’s going to be about something else and not their love story.
  4. Does this couple have a shot together, long(ish) term? Or are they fundamentally different characters who need a good one night stand? There has to be some emotional ‘glue’ that holds them together, otherwise, not buying it.
  5. Unlikeable male characters. I’m going to be blunt here - if your character, for any reason, carries on about how much she hates the male character (him, not his behaviour), you’re courting a napalm-laced cocktail. There’s a fine line with Alpha-holes - don’t cross it. I get where it comes from: slapping guys as a prelude to passion was all the rage in 80s soap operas. It’s not now. Nagging a woman repeatedly for a date was de rigeur for decades. It’s not now. Even when it’s enemies to friends, try not to use ‘hate’ unless it’s an obvious exaggeration. If in doubt, don’t do it.

Happy writing!

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

The Different Types of Editors

Today's guest poster is author Alissa Baxter, who writes both chick lit and traditional Regency romances.

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Not all editors are the same. Some editors may wear a couple of editing hats, while others may specialise in only one form of editing. It is important to bear this in mind when you are submitting a manuscript to an editor. You need to be clear what you can realistically expect from them. Do they offer developmental edits as well as copy edits? Or do they specialise in proofreading? It is important to be specific about the type of editing you need when you hire an editor.

Here are the different types of editors. A publishing house will have all these types of editors working in-house, while a freelance editor may specialise in one or more of these fields. So if you are looking for a proofreader for your manuscript, don’t send it to someone who specialises only in developmental editing.

There are four types of editors:

An acquisitions editor works as part of a publishing team, and acquires manuscripts for publication. They are concerned more with the business side of publishing.

A developmental editor looks at the content and structure of your book. If your manuscript lacks a clear direction, your developmental editor will help you find it. This type of editor looks at the big picture, and their job is to challenge you and to point out any holes in your plot.

A copy editor checks your manuscript for grammar and spelling mistakes, and looks at style and punctuation. This type of editor will check for inconsistencies, repetition and omissions. A copy editor also makes your manuscript ready for publication, and will try to pick up any possible legal issues in your work.

A proofreader reads late stage proofs to check for any typographical errors. When the material has been edited, laid out, and designed, it is then sent to the proofreader, who will carefully check it.

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For the aspiring authors who are entering ROSA's Strelitzia contest for unpublished authors, it's worth noting that just as not all editors have the same skills, not all authors have the same skills. While the published author who is allocated as your mentor will try to the best of their ability to help you in every way, and to give you the type of help you most need, please bear in mind that they're human too, with different strengths and weaknesses. Our entry requirements this year are more stringent than in previous years exactly so we can match you to the best possible mentor for your needs.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Peter Barker on #ROSACon2018

Today's post is a guest post from author Peter Barker on his experience at the ROSACon 2018 conference held in Johannesburg in September.

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When I signed up for the 2018 ROSA conference I was a bit apprehensive that I would be hearing a lot of the same stuff again. This was the third conference that I have attended and the second one where I have attended the entire conference. My apprehensions were set aside. I discovered that there is always more to learn.

What did I learn? Where there were concurrent sessions I of course did not attend the alternate presentations. I left the conference a great deal wiser on:-

  • Portraying Emotional conflict in writing
  • The wonders of an internet product called Wattpad
  • The market for Christian and other inspirational literature
  • The legal and business side of writing
  • Goal setting
  • The latest and greatest in writing trends
  • The status of marketing books in SA and abroad
  • How to write a synopsis
  • The secrets of market related copy writing
  • Overcoming self defeating behaviours
  • What to do with difficult heroes
  • Advertising on the Internet

Those of you who couldn’t make it this year, see what you missed! Don’t make the same mistake next year. Be there!!

What I also appreciate about attending the conferences is the opportunity to talk about writing with like minded people. When I get excited about an aspect of writing around the dinner table at home I notice eyes rolling and yawns being stifled. It was wonderful to sit down at meal times at the conference and at the banquet and have a really good in depth discussion about our beloved craft.