My Weekend with the RWA
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.
- Shauna Roberts
We loved having you at the meeting! Yours was one of the best talks we’ve had since I’ve been a member.
- Alyson Noel
Your talk was inspiring and informative and just overall awesome!
Thanks so much for speaking to our chapter and for sharing your techniques so generously!
- Debra Holland
I tried to email you, but it bounced. :( It was great to see you again and hear your wonderful talk. I’d been struggling to write a synopsis today for my current work in progress and had been stalled out. I drew a line with hash marks for all your points. Then underneath, I drew a second line, detailing what happened and filling in some gaps. Even made a couple small changes in the manuscript to bring out a point better. On a third line, I drew in an emotional/love/sex timeline. When I was done, I knew I had my synopsis. Now to write it…. :)
Thanks so much for your help!
- Kitty Bucholtz
Blake, you were such fun to listen to! We really enjoyed having you there! Much as I promised myself not to buy any more hard copy books before I move, your book is still tempting me! LOL! But I also clicked on the “Tell the Publisher I’d like to read this book on Kindle” button! Hope I can help you get to Sydney to talk about this! :)
- Vicki Crum
I can’t tell you how much we enjoyed hearing you speak on Saturday. I think I speak for all the members when I say we could have listened to you for hours, and hated having the meeting come to an end. Your enthusiasm and insight into telling a good story sent each of us home filled with the inspiration and encouragement to write, write, write!
- Laura Drake
I second all the gushing – I”m still fired up from your talk – it’s so refreshing to see someone who is as excited about writing as we are!
I could have listened for two more hours…and am anxiously awaiting my copy of “Cat” in the mail!
- JD Scruggs
“Would that this be so for screenwriters!”, Have you been talking with John Patrick Shanley? JK, No cat fights in the cat groups.
Nice job Blake!
- Bradford Richardson
I’m picturing a turbulent romantic illustration, set in the volatile gangland underworld of 1930’s Chicago. A bare-chested Blake wears only a fedora, empties his 9mm with deadly accuracy at shadowed assailants as he rescues Garfield from a torrent of hot led.
- Kim Ivora
I enjoyed your workshop on Saturday. I hadn’t even looked to see who was speaking and was pleasently surprised to learn it was you! I’m not a plotter, but your 15 Beats really made sense to me. It feels like something I can apply to my WIP right away. Thank you so much for coming to speak to our chapter.
- Bonnie C
I’ve been an on again/off again member of the RWA for about 7 years now – it’s a fabulous group. The OC Chapter is actually one of the most prolific in the nation and it’s always been great to be able to tap that resource.
I actually found Cat! because I’d just finished my first draft of a category romance novel and needed someway to filter out the (atrociously) bad and keep the good. Consequently, I got bitten by the screenwriting bug (too many ideas, not enough WPM) and was able to attend the Cat! workshop last month. I know it helped me tremendously and I’m sure you garnered plenty of converts in OC.
I think we can only benefit from studying other disciplines, catch different perspectives on how to tell stories. It works in painting and drawing so why not writing?
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As a long-standing member of RWA, I wouldn’t trade the support I receive for anything! And I can speak to the fact of how nice, supportive, friendly and wonderful Alyson is–and she’s a fabulous writer, too!
Wish I could have been there!