It’s a tough job.  But somebody has to do it.

Saturday found me in Orange County, California, in the company of the Romance Writers of America OC chapter. Just me and 100+ amazing writers who are experts in love AND storytelling. Talk about a good time!

Something close to heaven for a kid who raised his hand at age 8 and said: “I wanna be a writer someday!”

The topic of my talk was what novelists can learn from screenwriters and vice versa — and I have never had a better time discussing my topic, or felt more welcome. And not only did I get great feedback but I saw first hand how the RWA supports and empowers its members. It is a model I have long sought to emulate in our Save the Cat! writers groups around the world — but nobody does it better than the RWA.

Prior to my talk, I got a chance to sit in with fellow authors in a networking meeting where leads for upcoming RWA events were discussed, including how to interact with buyers at the big bookstore chains, agents, and publishers. Later, just before I went on, I was pleased to see an awards ceremony for members who had just sold books, some for the first time. We also saw new members welcomed aboard. The experience made me realize how important the small group model is for success in any venture.

Would that this be so for screenwriters! I am hoping as we go on that our Cat! groups can be as supportive of each other, and as generous with leads to sell our projects. The idea that all writers are in this together — helping each other achieve fulfillment and reap the rewards of their talents — is the reason we are here.

I also got to meet Alyson Noel, whose #1 book on the N.Y. Times bestseller list, Evermore, is the latest achievement in her career as a bestselling YA (Young Adult) author. And the same spirit of the group is shared by Alyson, who despite her amazing success, was most concerned about making me feel welcome and thanking me for the influence Save the Cat! has on her career. I was so glad we got to meet at last!

All in all, an amazing day, and one I hope to build on as I speak to other RWA groups around the country. Thanks to my hosts for inviting me, author Vicki Crum for being a great help to me, and all the rest of the authors I had a chance to meet.  Thanks for making my visit such a positive learning experience.