As I posted the other day, yesterday was my first meeting of my local RWA chapter, the Central New York Romance Writers. As it happened, it was the annual Conference, and not just a meeting. The great Patricia Kay had been engaged to come and speak to us about creating an emotional connection with the reader, and about Scene and Sequel.
Both were fascinating; I’m so glad I joined! As a new writer, I’m still in the stage of wanting to voraciously ingest all the information I can on the craft of writing. The concept of following scenes with sequels was rather new to me; I have certainly read examples of such but now have a name for it.
And creating the emotional connections with readers: KEY. There are only so many plots out there, particularly if you’re writing romance but really, for any genre. What I love: exploring my characters’ feelings. And then you can do anything with them, once you get to know them.
When I think back to the books that have kept me up all night, made me cry, or affected my mood during and after the reading of them, I can’t pinpoint any plot device in particular that did it. It’s because the author did such a fabulous job of making me care what happened to that character. So I feel like the emotional stuff is the most important.
On the shelf above my new desk I keep an array of craft books but also some classics and a few of my favorites: the books I’ll read over and over again. A number of the craft books I’ve perused recommend often grabbing your favorites to see how they handled such-and-such, so I like to keep them within reach. How does Nora Roberts keep me coming back again and again, even though I know how every one of her books will end? That freaking witch trilogy– why does it stick with me? Diana Gabaldon– such a long-winded series but I love every one of those characters, even the ones I hate, if that makes sense. How is it that I feel as though they’re my family? Harper Lee, Janet Evanovich, Eloisa James, Stephen King…a disparate group of authors, to be sure. But they rest next to one another within easy reach.
Just as I love to meet other authors in person, so do I like to surround myself with the masters while I work.
And, Ms. Kay teaches online classes and is available for speaking engagements, so I highly recommend you check her out:
Now, I’m off to torture my characters a little bit more.