As a writer, that is, or at least was, until I went on Kate Walker's writing course in Leeds last month (yes, another one, but you can't have too much of a good thing!) As usual, the weekend proved invaluable and, of course, fun. We focused this time on polishing those crucial three chapters prior to submission to an editor and how to target your work to the appropriate market. We also looked at the all-important synopsis and covering letter, which reminded me that I didn't send a letter with my last submission!! Ooops . . .
There was also a very useful session on who we are as writers. I always assumed I knew exactly who I was as a writer but it turns out I hadn't really thought about it. In fact, during this illuminating exercise, I discovered that I was trying to be a certain type of writer but learned that I'm quite another altogether. Does it really matter though? Romance is romance, isn't it? Far from it! Interestingly, everyone in the group, although all writing for the romance genre, had very different and very distinct styles, not only in the way we write but also in the sort of stories we want to tell. I guess that's part of what editors and publishers mean when they talk about an author's 'unique voice.'
So, since the course, I've found a subtle shift in the way I'm writing, and instead of trying to squeeze my work into a pigeon hole called 'romance', I'm allowing myself to write more instinctively, in a way that feels authentic to me and, consequently I hope, to my characters. Wow!!
With Kate Walker - choosing a tea bag can be so difficult!
For info, Malaga Workshops is running another writing retreat next March, 13-15th, again at Weetwood Hall in Leeds. The cost has gone up a little, to £249 for an all-in weekend, but it really is fantastic value for money. The accommodation is fab and the environment for writing is relaxing and stimulating at the same time and so welcoming :)
In the restaurant after a hard day's writing and still smiling !