What I'm reading: Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris; Abandoned Women: Scottish convicts exiled beyond the Seas, by Lucy Frost; Illness in Colonial Australia, by F.B. Smith; and Vintage Tattoos: a sourcebook for old-school designs and tattoo artists, by Carol Clerk.
Actually, the title of this blog, 'Four days', doesn't really work now, because I should have written it on Sunday, but I was busy. If I had done it then, it would have been four days until I fly to Surfers Paradise for the Romance Writers of Australia annual conference. Four days of sitting on my bum listening to other people tell me interesting and illuminating things about writing. Excellent.
I'm doing the A-Day on Thursday, which is a professional development day for published authors, followed by a full day workshop on screenwriting on Friday, facilitated by international novelist and screenwriter Alexandra Sokoloff. Apparently there was pre-workshop homework for that -participants were meant to come up with a list of ten films with storylines resembling that of their current wip (I think - I lost the email) - but unfortunately I haven't done it. I've been flat out working on my current wip.
On Saturday I'm doing workshops on 'Relentless Conflict - You Owe It To Your Characters' (timely - my conflict can sometimes run out of steam half way through a book); 'Revisions: Rewriting, Editing, Proof-reading' (can never learn enough about that); and a panel titled 'Love In The Face Of Danger'. Sounds like a book by one of the Mitford sisters. On Sunday I'm doing 'The Most Perfect Cloth: Dress Fabric for Georgian and Regency Characters' (call me a trainspotter but I think it'll be fascinating); 'Why TV Can Be A Writer's Best Friend'; and a panel on 'Dishing the Dirt: Erotic Romance (which no doubt will be packed, given the recent success of Fifty Shades of Grey).
Four days after that I'm going home to New Zealand to, among other things, speak at the Northwrite festival in Whangarei, from 7-9 September. On the Friday night I'll be on a panel with other authors talking about the business of writing, and on Saturday morning I'm taking a four-hour workshop on various aspects of researching and writing historical fiction. During that I'll look at things like the ethics of writing historical fiction (sounds boring but it isn't), using different types of sources when you're researching (with examples), how to blend fiction with fact in a non-lumpy way, and various other issues like dialogue, anachronisms, 21st century points of view, etc. And on Saturday night I'll be talking about my life as a writer and how I go about it my work. I'm looking forward to it. So, a big thank you to the Northland branch of the NZSA for inviting me.