Courtney Milan and Elda Minger Inspire and Motivate

November 15, 2011

Bestselling author Courtney Milan was the morning speaker at the November meeting of OCCRWA. Her topic? Editing for voice (an analytical approach).

As you all know, I’m editing and doing rewrites, which seems to be taking me longer than writing the first draft did. I’m okay with this. I’m learning so much during the process that the second time will be easier…I think. For now, I’ll focus on the first time!

So Courtney’s presentation was right on time. She did a wonderful workshop extracting lines changing a couple of words from books by some of my favorite authors, including; Jennifer Haymore, Victoria Dahl, Ava Gray and Tessa Dare. We had to consider the emotions of the point-of-view character and the context of the story as we made changes…of course we didn’t know the context or the POV’s emotional state, so we had to create our own. It was a wonderful exercise for dissecting a line and seeing how much the impact and meaning changes by just changing a word or two. Courtney led us through a number of other exercises meant to help us “edit for voice,” and I’ll be keeping them in mind as I work this week.

Our afternoon speaker was Elda Minger, also a bestselling author. Her presentation was on Jane Austen, an author every romance writer should know and read, and Elda Minger knows her well. Austen is often considered to be the original romance writer, paving the way for the romance writers of today…the presentation was very inspirational and motivating.

There are days when I find myself a little overwhelmed by all of the things that I’m learning, but I keep them in mind as I work. I try each technique. I find that if it works for me, it becomes a natural tool in my writing toolbox.

My manuscript has become so much better than the one I started with (at least I think so). My characters are emerging as strong people with unique personalities, and the story has developed into something bigger than what I began with. All because I’ve had opportunities to learn from and work with some pretty incredible writers and editors.

Who are the mentors in your writing life? Where do you find them? How often do you incorporate what you’ve learned from them into your daily work?

Well, back to rewrites for me…editing for voice and appreciating all of the opportunities available to a woman in our time…


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