Writing Routine Blog image

One of the most difficult things about writing is that, in the end, it’s all up to you. Whether you’re an amateur or a paid professional, writing demands those hours in the chair to build the word count on a story that might never go any further than your bottom drawer. Writers have all sorts of routines to keep their momentum going. Haruki Murakami believes the repetition of his routine is important in itself; mesmerising him into a deeper state of mind. Junot Diaz wrote his first book to the soundtrack of Conan The Barbarian (not something that would inspire all of us). Stephen King, like Murakami, loves a bit of routine and describes the cumulative effect of his daily repetition, as being like a bedtime routine. Australian author, Melanie Cheng, is a fan of King’s advice but adds that you need a good editor – once the writing’s done.

So how do you find your own writing routine? One that fits in with your life and gets your idea out of your head and onto the page? And once you’ve started, how do you get to ‘The End’? Because we’re all hoping to get to the stage of handing our work over to an editor.

At the Queensland Writers Centre we’re always working to come up with ideas that help our writers do exactly that – reach ‘The End’ and get your work in print. Our new writing consults are designed for writers at any stage. Come in and spend a half hour talking about your work with someone who understands. We want to hear about your work, your plans, your successes, and your failings. Then we’ll be the writing best friend you never had, who tells you how it is and gives constructive advice on what to do next. This isn’t a critique, it’s a time for judgement-free fresh ears. We want to find out where you’re at and send you back to your work with three recommendations to help get you on your way. Each session comes with a follow up email to see how you’re going. This offer is exclusively available to members. At $100 per session, it’s the perfect price to gift yourself or others and a small investment in what we hope will be a great end result.

Developmental book editor, Laurel Cohn, has been helping writers with editing and manuscript development for many years. You can read a bit about her experience of getting writers through the development phase here. Laurel is running a workshop for writers with a completed draft on 22nd June. If Laurel’s story sounds like you, book in for her course and start developing your work this Saturday – members enjoy a discounted rate. And when you’ve typed ‘The End’, let us know. We love to hear your success stories.

Development Phase Feature image

Development Phase Blog Image

You’ve finished your manuscript. What next?

To give your work the greatest chance of success, whether you want to approach an agent or publisher, or you want to self publish, you need to develop your manuscript to the highest possible standard. It is important to revise your work as much as you can before you offer it another reader for feedback. And it is immensely helpful to get feedback on your work from trusted readers and professional assessors or editors who can bring fresh eyes to the work and point out the strengths and weaknesses in the manuscript, guiding you through the next draft. Then you revise again. There is a repeated pattern here: revision – feedback – more revision – more feedback. Eventually you will send your work out, and then perhaps it requires still more revision before it is accepted for publication. This is the development phase, from the end of the first draft through to publication, or to the manuscript’s final resting place, which may or may not be a bookshelf.

The development phase can be challenging and frustrating but also incredibly rewarding. It is likely to take longer than you thought. Many years. It is not uncommon for a first novel to take seven years from inception to publication. I don’t say this to put you off (I heard the groans), but to prepare you for the realities of the development phase. If you are committed to becoming a writer, you can’t avoid it. And it is, ultimately a voyage of discovery.

As a developmental editor I am privileged to work with writers on this voyage, helping them understand their own work and how they can take it to the next level. But over the years I have been struck by how many writers are ill-prepared for the long haul, even those who end up achieving their writing goals. It got me thinking. Perhaps if writers had a greater understanding of how to navigate the rough seas and smooth sailing, and how to sustain themselves through the unexpected setbacks when they feel adrift or are blown off course, it would make the voyage not only easier, but more satisfying, and it would ultimately make them better writers.

If you identify with being in the development phase, I invite you to drop anchor for a day, step away from the desk and explore concepts, strategies and tools to help you reach your destination. Join me in the workshop Surviving the Development Phase to delve into separating yourself from your work, seeking and managing feedback, surviving rejection, recharging your batteries, building resilience as a writer, and answering that perennial question – when am I done? Life vests will be at the ready.

LAUREL COHN is a developmental book editor passionate about communication and the power of stories in our lives. She has been helping writers prepare their work for publication since the mid 1980s, and is a popular workshop presenter. She has a PhD in literary and cultural studies. www.laurelcohn.com.au

CaylieJeffery Blog Feature Image

CaylieJeffery Blog Image

A huge congratulations to Queensland Writers Centre member and tutor, Caylie Jeffery, on being awarded the 2019 John Oxley Library Community History Award for her Under the Lino project.

Inspired by Caylie’s find of bankbooks and money under the lino flooring of her 1912 Queenslander, the Brisbane writer created a community-based research project that brought together people with similar stories and interests. Caylie first shared her discover on Facebook’s Old Brisbane Album, where hints about her home began to emerge. In uncovering the mystery behind her find a community evolved, and a book created to document and share this important part of Queensland’s cultural heritage.

Caylie accepted the award at the official Queensland Memory Awards ceremony held at the State Library on Wednesday, 29th May. The Community History Award is part of a range of research fellowships and awards presented annually as part of the Queensland Memory Awards. The Awards recognise the valuable contribution individuals and organisations from across Queensland make to the investigation, preservation and celebration of Queensland’s rich history.

Applications for the 2020 Queensland Memory Awards will open early next year. If you have your own piece of Queensland history you’ve been looking to get creative with then now is the time. Or learn how to turn any historical source into fiction with Melissa Ashley’s Alchemy of Research workshop on 15th June.

Author Website Post Feature Image

Author Website Post Image

3 On-Brand Authors to Inspire Your Online Presence

An important part of any author’s brand is their official website – the place where people go to find out more about you and your writing. It’s the place to answer those burning questions of who are you, what do you do, and why should readers care?

Done well, an author’s online presence allows readers to get to know their favourite writers better. Consider these three authors and the things we know about them. Stephen King hates adverbs and loves his corgi Molly. J. K. Rowling loves feuding with Donald Trump and traumatising her fans with anecdotes about the bathroom habits of pre-plumbing wizards. And George R. R. Martin loves… anything but finishing the last Game of Thrones books.
Check out their websites and you’ll see each author has their own unique style. No matter what stage you’re at you can create an author’s website that’s like the hub of your online wheel. Whatever your preferred social media platform/s, a website is a great way to tie it all together and create a gateway for readers looking to connect.

Share Your Experience
If your website includes a blog, this can be a great way to share your experiences. Has there been a story you couldn’t get finished, a character you still don’t understand, or a scene you just couldn’t get right? You can talk about the problems you have faced with your writing, and maybe help someone else who is having the same issue. There is a rich and passionate community of writers online, and most of them are potential readers as well.
George R. R. Martin has shared what he’s reading and watching, in addition to running his official blog from his site. Stephen King tells his readers about his upcoming work and J.K. Rowling answers the question of writing rules with the answer that she doesn’t have any. Each website is different and reflects the author – just as yours should.

Control Your Narrative
Whether you’re a published author or wanting to be a published author, inevitably you are going to develop a unique author brand. A website is a great way to take control of the narrative and express yourself authentically, right from the start. A brand that develops on its own might not be the one you’re hoping for, so take charge.

You can look to Stephen King, George R.R. Martin and J.K. Rowling for inspiration but if you want to make it happen now then check out Kylie Fennell’s ‘Build Your Author Website in a Day’ workshop at the Writers Centre on the 8th June. It doesn’t matter if you’re not a technological wizard. By the end of the day you will have a fully functioning author website and a newly established brand. So, grab your tickets, and don’t forget to bring along your laptop, headshot, and your branding inspirations.

Business of Writing Blog Feature Image (1)

Business of Writing Blog Image (1)

‘Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.’

— Stephen King

The business of writing can seem tedious when compared to the joy of plotting out your next manuscript, researching some fantastic historical figure, or trying out a new poetry technique. Still, your prose can be brilliant, your creativity endless, and your grammar faultless – but writing is work and even if it isn’t your full-time job you have to work at it.
As with any job there are a range of practical skills that writers must learn to excel at:

  • Email and letter communication
  • Grammar
  • Proofreading
  • Copywriting
  • Identifying, and engaging, your audience.

Administrators require effective communication and an excellent knowledge of how to write clear and coherent documents.

Bloggers have to write interesting posts and snappy newsletters that hold their audience’s attention.

Teachers and tutors must write constructive lesson plans and have the grammar and proofreading ability needed to assess their students.

Social media addicts need to ensure that posts, captions, and comments are well-written, likeable, and error free.

And for those who are self-employed, writing can be make or break. When your livelihood depends on communicating with clients and customers you need to avoid writing blunders, usually without a second set of eyes to check your work.

Those little issues can become big ones when you send them out to prospective clients, agents, or publishers. They’re issues that are best avoided and the surest way of doing that is by honing your craft. Whether you want to capture your reader in a 100-word email or a 100,000-word novel, it always comes back to craft.If you’re looking for a quick refresher or want tips for turning your passion into a career, come to ‘The Business of Writing’ with Tiana Templeman on June 15th. This class will teach all the skills you need for excellent communication and professional writing.

Winter is Coming .. Feature Image

Winter is Coming .. Header Image

GenreCon planning is well underway and we’re looking forward to a bigger and better event this year. We have a great group of volunteers working hard to create the best GenreCon yet, so keep watching Pen & Pixel for more details as we get closer to the date.

While we have your attention, be sure to add the dates to your calendar, 22nd – 24th November, and keep it free. Like all of our events and workshops, GenreCon tickets will be sold through our Eventbrite site.

So, what’s going to be different about GenreCon this year?

Well you spoke and we listened. As part of GenreCon’s evolution, we decided it was time to give you what so many wanted, and have our very own genre writing competition. We’re starting out with speculative fiction this year, and we’ll expand into other genres in the future.

What more motivation do you need to get writing? If you want some help getting started then Kylie Chan’s Crafting Speculative Worlds workshop this weekend might be for you. Kylie is a successful fantasy and science fiction author and a fantastic tutor in world building and all things speculative fiction. Her course is on this Saturday (18 May) at the Queensland Writers Centre. It will give you all the tools you need to create your own speculative fiction world and story. So call up now or jump onto Eventbrite and book your place at the Saturday workshop!

Get writing now… because GenreCon is coming.

Live Stream Blog Post Feature Image

BLOGGING LIVE STREAM Feature Image

Can’t get to that QWC event you’d really love to attend? No worries – live streaming is on its way!

The Queensland Writers Centre is always on the lookout for ways to improve our member services. While we’re based at the State Library of Queensland, our relationships with libraries and writing groups throughout the state allows members from all over Queensland to access a wide variety of QWC workshops and events. In addition to this, we sponsor and assist many of the regional writers’ festivals in bringing authors and more to their events.

But let’s face it – sometimes it would be great to attend from the comfort of your own home. Wherever you are, live streaming is a chance to liberate yourself from the everyday. Live streaming means you can get everything done and still take in the course you really wanted to do. Got a recipe you’ve been meaning to try out? Live stream while you bake. Filing to do? Time will fly when you do it in front of a live stream.

Our very first live streamed event was a great success, with members joining Samantha Wheeler’s Writing Middle Grade Fiction workshop from Bundaberg, Townsville and Cairns, as well as much closer to home. With a facilitator on site, live stream attendees were able to post their questions online for Samantha to answer, or chat amongst themselves for that workshop community feel.

Joining a live stream is really simple. You can sign up on Eventbrite, just like any of our live workshops and courses. Once your payment is processed you’ll receive a live stream link from Crowdcast, as well as an electronic reminder shortly before the live stream happens – so you don’t have to worry about missing anything.

Live streams are simple and inclusive, enabling you to participate as much or as little as you prefer. You can try one this weekend, as Tiana Templeton goes live with Blogging for Writers. It’s a great opportunity to learn about keeping the attention of your audience and making sure you’re sending the right message.

Write Romance with Ally Blake Feature Image

Write Romance with Ally Blake Blog Image

“If you live to be a hundred, I want to live to be a hundred minus one day, so I never have to live without you.” (A.A. Milne, Winnie the Pooh)

There are so many romance novels nowadays. Go into any bookstore and you will find tons of romance literature on the shelves. Despite that, women still curl up with a thick blanket, tissue in hand, ready to cry and celebrate with the heroine of the novel.

What is it about these romantic novels that are so irresistible to women all around the world?

Most readers of romance feel engaged with the story. Even if these plots are cliché, it is the raw, honest and real portrayal of the heroine that pulls your readers in. They imagine themselves as the heroine, meeting and falling in love with the man that they shouldn’t be with; or being in a relationship with a fairy-tale-prince (which let’s be honest, who wouldn’t want to be with one?).

Romance novels take the readers out of their mundane life and into a world where everything has a love filter on it. In the stories, the heroines are always saved by the love interest. They seldom have bad hair days and seem to rarely work. It is just unrealistic to us who work 9AM to 5PM every day. When we reach home, who has the time and energy to be romantic? That’s where the stories come in. They bring us to a world where there is always time for romance.

We all love a happy ending. Often, in our own quest to find true love, we meet obstacles here and there. This can discourage someone from believing that they can find their destined person. In romance stories, we can believe that there is someone for everyone. By trusting in the happy endings, we can bring a little bit of that hope to reality, knowing that someday, the right person will eventually show up.

Feel inspired to write your own romance story? Learn to pen a gripping ‘will-they-won’t-they’ storyline with How to Write Romance with Ally Blake, happening on the 12th of May.

Women Fight Scene Featured Image

Women Fight Scene Image

Fight scenes, both in film and print, are one of the cornerstones of great action. When done well, they pack a major punch and up the ante in any story. When they’re not, readers will be left skimming the page and viewers switching off. It may seem easy enough to do these scenes justice; punching, kicking, gun slinging — we’ve seen it all before. But writing a good fight scene is tricky, especially if your real-world combat or weaponry experience is lacking.

The good news is, even if you’ve never thrown a punch in your life, you can still write powerful and authentic fight scenes. Here are some starting points to think about while crafting your fictional violence.

Descriptions

Remember not to over-describe, especially if you’re not an expert. You can research until your eyes blur and your brain is filled with combat terms, but research isn’t first hand experience. If you’re not ready to start a brawl in a bar or go out hunting creatures of the night, you’re bound to make mistakes. And adding too much detail into your scene descriptions will make these mistakes obvious to your reader.

Secondly, don’t limit your descriptions to your characters’ actions. They have feelings too. Let your reader know what the character is experiencing, their physical sensations and emotional responses. Are they full of adrenaline and ready to take down an army, or are they terrified and looking for a chance to run? Did they roll their ankle, sending pain up their leg every time they move? Has their vision narrowed, leaving only them and their opponent? Have their fingers started to cramp and seize around the hilt of their blade?

But again, be careful not to overdo it. Your character’s physical and emotional state are important, but people in fight mode don’t spend much time ruminating. Keep it short and simple.

Physiology

Keep track of all your limbs! Nothing will pull the reader out of the story quicker than if your character suddenly sprouts an extra arm to swing their double-handed sword while still holding a shield. Act it out. It’s better to look silly for a moment, rather than have your silliness immortalised on the page.

Remember fighting is hard, and it doesn’t always last long. The body can only take so much.

If your fight scene lasts for an entire chapter, and your character comes out of it feeling no pain, it isn’t going to read as authentic.

Weaponry

Does the weapon suit the story? The genre, world, and time period you’re writing in will have its own set of rules and conventions. You won’t see a pistol in high fantasy, a laser in historical fiction, or a mace in modern crime – unless your intention is to break away from these conventions. If you do, be sure you have a purpose for it and that it’s easily understood by your audience.

Does the weapon suit the character? Are they emotionally equipped to stab someone, or would they prefer something less up close and person? Can they physically handle a sword? And if so, what kind of sword? Maybe your character wants a less common weapon, like a bo staff or spear. Whatever weapon you choose, research is your friend. Find out why your character would use it, what its strengths and weaknesses are, and how it would impact the fight scene you’re writing.

Feasibility

Unless your character has incredible concentration and lung capacity, they won’t be able to hold a conversation during battle. Witty banter is entertaining, but not always feasible, so keep the quips to a minimum during the action. Think about your world building too and the rules that apply to your characters. Remember Buffy the vampire slayer? Audiences happily suspended disbelief about a petite teen girl flipping grown men over her shoulder, or knocking them out with one punch, because they knew she had all the power of the evil undead.

Recently, genre fiction has seen an upswing in ‘strong’ female characters like Buffy. These warrior women are often found sparring, verbally and physically, with opponents twice their size and wielding any number of strange and deadly weapons. But what do you do if your character isn’t mystically endowed with super strength? It’s important to understand the physicality behind the scene to ensure that each movement is achievable for your character.

If you’re looking to add strong female characters to your writing, whether they’re a vampire slayer, a mother of dragons, or something in between, come along to Aiki Flinthart’s Writing Fight Scenes for Women Masterclass on 11th May. This hands-on, physical workshop will teach you tips and tricks to help you master the art of writing female fight scenes in any genre.

C.W.MasterClass Blog Feature Image

C.W.MasterClass Blog Image

If there’s one thing every writer knows, it’s that the internet is littered with tips, tricks, and how-tos that promise to turn you into an overnight bestseller. You can spend hours trawling through websites, blogs, and social media posts looking for guidance. Not to mention all the books on grammar, writing, publishing, marketing, and even reading. This cacophony of content can be confusing to fledgling and seasoned writers alike.

Occasionally, you’ll find a gem that will change your writing forever. Sometimes, you’ll learn, or re-learn, the basics. More often than not, you’ll come away with nothing more than a Stephen King quote about the dangers of adverbs.

The problem with most writing advice is that every tip can be countered with a contradictory trick. Below are just a few examples of how-tos that’ll have you turned around, upside down, and inside out.

Tip: Write Every Day

Writing is a numbers game. Editing and re-writing is important, but you can’t polish what isn’t there. If you put 250 words on the page every day for a year, you’ll find yourself with a 90,000-word manuscript. Knowing it only takes a paragraph a day can keep the process of finishing a manuscript from becoming overwhelming.

Trick: Take Breaks

Writing is work. It doesn’t matter if it’s a full-time job or a hobby on the side, it takes time and effort. Forcing yourself to work every day, on top of your other commitments, can lead to burn out. It can kill your inspiration, motivation, and joy for writing. If the words aren’t coming, shaming yourself in front of a blank page isn’t going to change that.

 Tip: Kill Your Darlings

If it doesn’t work, kill it. Cutting beloved scenes, lines, or paragraphs is every writer’s worst nightmare. But if it doesn’t contribute to the flow, consistency, or quality of your story, it shouldn’t be there. No matter how much you love it.

Trick: Don’t Delete Anything

You never know what you might need later. Something may not work in one scene, but it may work in later one. It could even be perfect for completely different story. Instead of hitting delete, save the things you cut in a folder on your computer or hide it away in a used notebook. So, kill those darlings, but keep them backed up somewhere.

Tip: Never Use Said

Don’t use dialogue tags. We’ve all heard this advice, usually from our school English teacher. Cut them out, and if you can’t, switch them up. Throw ‘said’ away and replace it with more dynamic and exciting terms like ‘whispered’, ‘shouted’, or ‘growled’. Doing this can highlight aspects of your character’s personality and add emphasis to a particularly important pieces of dialogue.

Trick: Leave Those Dialogue Tags Alone

Tell us who said what. ‘Said’ is one of those nothing words like ‘and’ or ‘the’ that tends to fade into the background when we read. Cutting them out completely can be fine, depending on the story. But it can also confuse your reader. If they can’t understand who is saying what, without going back to re-read, they’ll be pulled out of the story. And overusing varied dialogue tags can have the same effect. If everyone is whispering or growling, your reader is going to notice.

Tip: Don’t Read While You’re Writing

Don’t read inside your chosen genre while you’re writing. Details from similar stories can leech into your own work and influence the story. No-one wants the word ‘plagiarism’ attached to their name, even if it’s just a whisper. On the flip side, reading outside your genre can confuse your voice.

Trick: Read Everything While You’re Writing

Reading is important for writing. Some say it’s the most important thing. It can help you better understand the rules and conventions of your chosen genre and give you an idea of what your readers want. Reading widely can help you learn new styles, techniques, and ideas.

Tip: Write for Yourself

Write what you want to read. Finishing a manuscript is a daunting task. If you don’t like the story or enjoy the writing process, writing is next to impossible. This disinterest or dislike will show and it can make your voice sound inauthentic, dull, or even petulant. And ultimately, if you’re not interested in what you’re writing, why would anyone else be?

Trick: Write for Your Readers

Books are made to be read. Authenticity is important, but you can’t disregard your target audience. Writing only for yourself can affect your chances of being published, which can keep your books from those who need it the most. And let’s be honest, writing may be a passion, but it’s also a business. If it is your job, you can’t always choose what you write.

Obviously, writing advice can be inconsistent and confusing, but it can also be invaluable. Take on as much, or as little, advice as you want. But remember, the number one rule is always do what works for you.

If you’re unsure of what works, looking for something new, or just wanting to cut through the noise and hone your craft, check out Eileen Herbert-Goodall’s eight-week Creative Writing Masterclass starting on May 1.

Kylie Fennell Feature Image
Kylie Chan Blog Post Image

“We are all now connected by the Internet, like neurons in a giant brain.”

These are the words of Stephen Hawking and I’m not one to argue with genius.

As (aspiring) authors and writers we should take these words to heart. If we wish to make money from selling books we need to connect with readers, agents, publishers, and the broader community. In other words, we need to market ourselves online.

Many of us do this via social media which is an incredibly important component of any successful marketing strategy, but it has one major drawback.

When you’re using social media you’re using another organisation’s platform. You have to play by their rules, which can change any time.

The integrity of your brand, and the relationships you create you are, to a certain extent, in the hands of the social media platform. This limits your control over your brand and potentially even your ability to generate revenue.

On the other hand, your website is the one piece of online real estate you truly own and have complete control over.

For this reason, an author website is the single most important online marketing tool you can have, which is why it’s remarkable that many of us don’t have one.

Yet I’m not completely surprised. Over the years I have heard many reasons, most built on misconceptions, for not having an author website.

Let’s take a look at the most common reasons given for not creating a website, and why they don’t need to stop you anymore.

1. I Don’t Need One Yet

Many writers think they don’t need to worry about marketing until they have published a book.

Waiting until you have a book to sell to then create a website is far too late in the game. The earlier you get started, the more time you have to gain followers and develop other key marketing tools such as building a mailing list.

So by the time you are ready to launch your book, you will have an established online presence and a community to sell to.

A well-designed website will also give you credibility when querying agents and publishers, or booksellers.

You may not have a book yet, but you can still tell the world about yourself and your writing.

2. It’s Expensive

A professionally designed website in most cases is likely to yield the best results, but you will need to pay for it.

The cost of a professionally designed website can vary a lot. Some companies are more affordable than others, and it pays to do your research.

Unfortunately, not all of us have the budget to hire a professional website designer, at least not in the beginning.

To eliminate or minimise costs you can build your own website. A good starting point to create a simple website is using a free blogging platform like WordPress.

3. I Don’t Have the Technical Skills

Many writers when starting out, look for DIY marketing options but often avoid tackling a website because they believe it will be beyond their technical abilities.

The good news is that there are plenty of website building platforms available that are easy to use and don’t require any knowledge or use of coding. Many have simple drag and drop design options that anyone can master.

Like any software, once you get the knack of it, it becomes second nature.

So now I’ve cleared all that up, why not join me at my Build Your Author Website in a Day workshop at the Queensland Writers Centre on Saturday 8 June. You will walk away from this workshop with a published author website.

For the last 23 years, Kylie has worked as a Newspaper Journalist & Editor, Corporate Writer, and Marketing & Communication Manager, both in Australia and internationally. She is also a Content Writer, Certified Practising Marketer and Publisher of the business news site injust5.com.

What makes a great action scene? by Aiki Flinthart

How do you write an exciting fight scene like those in the movies? Bad news…you can’t, because movies are visual.

What you can do is leverage a book’s big advantage: deep POV. Sensory immersion.

Aaannnd now we get to the tricky bit. Because the big fight is actually a war between reality vs fiction. How much of each do you put in? How much action? How much deep POV reaction?

A truly skilled warrior won’t do a lot of thinking. Actions are reflexes and the onslaught of fear emotions are dampened. Boring to read.

To add a complication, most of your readers will have done nothing more violent than yell at someone who cut them off in traffic. For that matter, most writers probably haven’t been in a battle for their lives, either.

So, how do you write what you haven’t lived?

Again, you don’t. Real fights are messy, short, brutal, and mostly mindless. Humans are a chaos of instincts and chemistry. Real fights make no sense. In addition, men and women get into, handle, and react to violence differently.

You need to write something readers can relate to. It’s a juggling act which boils down to two familiar terms: “Immersion” and “the Feels”.

Immersion means knowing exactly which key details are important – even if they aren’t things a normal person would notice. It also means choosing which actions are important, where to keep the reader’s attention directed, and how much internal monologue will work without jarring the reader out of the scene. Once you understand those, it becomes a matter of practice and getting good feedback from beta readers.

The Feels means fulfilling your promise to the reader. Ramping up the tension instead of dissolving it. Then delivering the emotional payoff during, and at the end of, the scene.

To achieve both of those, you need to keep in mind the WHY for the action scene. What is your protagonist trying to achieve? Will she succeed or fail? How is she changed at the end? What emotion do you want to create in the reader?

The aim of the QWC Masterclass in Writing Fight Scenes For Women, is to help authors understand exactly how to keep the reader deep in the fight scene (applicable to male and female characters). With 18 years of martial arts and weapons training, and 11 novels on the shelves, you can leverage off my experience in both areas to get inside your protagonist’s head. Come and find out how it feels to put a wristlock on someone. Or how to escape a strangle hold. Hands on, if you wish.

Then take what you learn and apply it to your own fight scene.

But don’t get distracted by the techniques of fighting. They’re just cool window-dressing for the internal journey. It’s getting the balance right between the action and thought-reaction that’s the mark of a good action-scene writer.

Learn how to perfect the balance between action and reaction with Aiki Flinthart at our workshop on the 11th of May 2019, Writing Fight Scenes for Women: Masterclass.

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