Writing Disposable Romances

By Amanda Patterson

There’s something we don’t speak about much outside of the sanctity of the writing school’s walls.

It’s this desire – some might say obsession – to write romances for Mills & Boon.

The powerful pound has clout.

Tens of thousands of pound sterling per novel can’t be taken lightly.

Even you could do that, couldn’t you? Without breaking a sweat.

You’re wrong.

Writing a book is hard work. Writing a believable modern day Cinderella story of 40 – 50 000 words is difficult.

After all, where does one find that elusive single billionaire?

And, how does one make it sound plausible that he’s just waiting for our poor heroine to complicate his life?

Where do they meet?

What do they argue about for 180 pages?

And more importantly how does an author create exciting love scenes?

If you are interested read on

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Great Resources for Crime and Mystery Writers

We know that crime and mystery writers are always looking for resources to check the accuracy of forensic details and crime scene investigation procedures.

  • Criminal Psychology
  • Forensics and Evidence Analysis
  • Police and their Procedures
  • Poison and Antidotes

Here is a great list of resources – although they are mainly from the USA, they are interesting and helpful to South African writers as well.

37 Published Authors for The Write Co

Amanda Patterson, founder and CEO of The Write Co, created Writers Write, one of the most successful creative writing courses in South Africa, almost five years ago. Lizet Engelbrecht is the 37th student of the course to be published.

Lizet Engelbrecht recently received the good news that her Afrikaans romance novel, entitled Sewe dae, has been snatched up by NB Publisher’s popular Melodie imprint. The book is set to hit the shelves later this year.

Sewe dae,” says Lizet, “has all the ingredients of a compelling love story for the woman of today. The protagonist is Esméralda Smit: a strong, career-focused woman who thinks she has everything made with a successful lecturing job, financial security, and no desire whatsoever for romance. But then, owing to the influence of her best friend Sonja, the headstrong Esméralda gets involved in a charity project, and who strolls into her life but the successful businessman Pierre Vaz? Irresistible blond fringe … scrumptious grey eyes … will Esméralda be tempted?”

This budding author completed Skrywers Skryf via correspondence in 2007. This is the Afrikaans version of The Write Co.’s extremely successful novel writing course, Writers Write, which has produced no fewer than 37 published authors to date. “Every potential author should consider doing this course,” comments Lizet. “And believe me, I have tried all the self-help books out there: Leslie Wainger, Sol Stein, Stephen King and others. But the first truly helpful guidance came from Skrywers Skryf.” Lizet also emphasises the great value of the detailed personal attention and feedback which she received as part of the course.

Skrywers Skryf facilitator, Morné Malan, translated the content from the original English and adjusted the focus specifically for the Afrikaans market. He is positive about the value of both Skrywers Skryf and Writers Write for first-time authors. “If you’re passionate about writing a novel, all you need is the right tools and a little encouragement,” he says. “Lizet is proof of that. Our courses get back to the basics of good writing: a strong plot, intriguing characters, dazzling dialogue and original descriptions.”

Writers Write is presented monthly as a series of four workshops on Saturdays, or as eight evening workshops during the week. Depending on enquiries and bookings, Skrywers Skryf will be presented again in October. Both courses are available immediately per correspondence, and are presented entirely via e-mail.

Read this on bizcommunity.com

For all enquiries about The Write Co.’s courses, please e-mail info@thewriteco.co.za

For more information about The Write Co and its facilitators, visit www.thewriteco.co.za

More Student Writing from The Write Co – Columns

The Lighter Side of: TRAVEL

By Tanya van Eyk

I decide now is the time and check the bank balance. With immense enthusiasm, I start to plan my overseas holiday. Settling on my destinations, I charge into my first port of call, the travel agency. Blinded briefly by all the glossy, exciting brochures, I seize as many as I can and depart.

Back home, I pour over the brochures. Paper everywhere, scribbles comparing this tour to that tour. I examine one package which offers a spectacular scenic route (sitting in the bus watching the countries fly by), with an odd stop at a castle or museum thrown in. But wait, I can get more, I can actually do some sight seeing for only an extra…..What! I still need to eat. My bank balance groans. Despondency sets in.

Several days later, I am fired up again. I begin to investigate other options. What about a do it yourself tour? I will need to choose my destination carefully. I do not want to view the world through steel vertical bars, all because I requested a toasted, chicken and mayonnaise and offended the local culture. Re-examining my bank balance, I wonder if an organized tour would not be the better option, even though safety is not a guarantee.

Again weighting up my options, I delve into more paper work, more scribbles and exchange rate calculations. Gloomily, my rand does not stretch very far. Wow, I can get about 170 won for my rand. Now which country uses won? No, South Korea has never held any appeal. I could always use the backup plan. Stay with friends and family, with whom I never speak, so they begrudging put me up for awhile.

Finalizing my itinerary, I telephone a travel agency. On the other end is, “I’m busy, I’ll get back to you”. In anticipation I leave my number. Several days later, I am still awaiting that call back. So I opt to go the face-to-face route. That way there is no escape. I will stand my ground, I will see someone, I will never…. “A consultant will see you now.” Brimming over with excitement, I eagerly share my travel plans. Her expression says it all. I scream internally. Is no one interested in helping? My enthusiasm shredded, clutched in my hand, in the form of one piece of paper. I leave, dejected. Maybe I should just paint my house.

THE TALE OF AN EARRING

Felicite Perkins

She was dressing to go out. She’s always going out. Every morning, and sometimes in the evening, she looks at her jewellery and decides what to wear to match her outfit.

I must say that she makes all of us feel very special – we who are in the jewellery cupboard.   Some of us are absolutely beautiful. All of us hope she will choose us when she is deliberating.

I was beautifully made, my appearance being that of another era. The fine filigree and amber stones match a lot of her outfits, and she never forgets about me.

About a week ago we went to a place where she is learning how to write a book. The most alarming and terrifying incident of my life happened on that day.    I fell off her ear onto the bricks, even though I was trying to hold on for my life. Of course she didn’t hear my screams.

I lay there for what seemed a lifetime, bitterly cold, scared and very worried. Suppose I was never found?    The thought was too horrific to contemplate.  I did hear some people talking about me; they were looking for me, and all the time I could see huge human feet.  I felt quite desperate. By this stage I was too weak to cry out, but then humans don’t know the sound of a jewellery call.

Three days later, when I had given up all hope, I felt a soft hand pick me up.  It felt so warm and snugly, and smelt nice. This must be a fairy princess, I thought, and she did have blonde hair. When she went inside, she put me on the table and I heard the very heart-warming sound of her  voice. She sounded so delighted to have me back and was so grateful to the blonde lady, as was I.

When we got home, I was put back with my partner who told me how upset she had been. Well, I’m home now, and it feels really grand!

Writing by Students of the Write Co – Columns

Psyho – Synchronicity

Christine Weston

I noticed that the dogs have fleas. I removed a tick from the cat’s ear. My kids came home from school last week with head lice. And to top it all, I found weevils in the flour.

“My life is awash with free-loaders,” I moaned to a friend over a glass of wine a couple of weeks ago.

“Sounds like synchronicity to me,” she replied.

Synchronicities are meaningful coincidences. People, places or events that you attract into your life to help you evolve or place emphasis on something going on in your life.  The more ‘consciously aware’ you become, the higher your frequency oscillates and the faster your soul manifests. I consider myself an intuitive person but not once had I considered the likelihood of messages from the collective conscious winging their way to me on a plague of minute, blood sucking, infestations.

“There are no accidents,” she said.

The conversation moved on.  We ordered another bottle of wine. The first ‘corked’ bottle I’ve ever encountered. The waiter hurried to replace it and I pondered what caused the wine to sour and why I’d attracted it to our table.

Maybe Ann was right.

The following day, feeling the effects of the second bottle, I bent to cut roses from my garden and noticed the little blighters.  They’d moved in over night.  I swear they weren’t there the day before.  Was I just more ‘aware’ today?  Either way, aphids infested my roses and it was all getting a bit spooky.  Back inside, I trawled the internet for information on synchronicity.  Deepak Chopra is big on it, coining the word synchrodestiny; “an awareness of a developing pattern in the events of our lives.” Carl Jung is a synchronicity legend. I was engrossed.  Embracing the concept of meaningful coincidence and anticipating an attack from the latest worm virus, I promptly switched off my computer.

I went out that night.  On the way home, someone smashed my car window and stole my handbag.   I should be angry with him, furious at the invasion, loss and inconvenience.  And, I am.  I’m also angry with myself for not being more ‘consciously aware’.  If I was more in tune with my universe, oscillating at a higher frequency so to speak, I may have avoided it.  In light of the fleas, ticks, lice, weevils and aphids, you’d think I would have recognised another parasite coming my way before it was too late.

The Ritual

Elspeth Flatau

It’s a Sunday ritual.  The early morning dog walk.   We have all become acquaintances.  Some have become sniffing, licking friends – and others we flee from as they bare and gnash their teeth in the dance of dog supremacy.

It starts in the garage, with whimpers of excitement and dances of doggy joy as I slip on the harness and lead.  And into the car, and to the park.

The first people we meet are the ladies who never greet.  Their dogs, two rottweilers, a ridgeback and a ball of fluff all bare teeth at mine.   The owners refuse to smile – but glare with disgust at the black Staffordshire pair, quivering at my heels.  I know staffies as a breed are fighters – mine don’t know and cower behind my ankles.

I call the next group Guinevere and the knights.  She always wears a long, elegant dress, walks at speed with a pack of indiscriminate pavement specials.  She waves – the spaniel type noses up to us and trundles into the dawning mist off the dam.

And on to the fisher folk.  A quick snuffle to see if there are any fish to be stolen, and a chase to the waters edge to catch an Egyptian goose – which chases back, leaving an ego damaged staffie quivering under my heel again.

The great Danes are out this morning – taking their frail owner for a walk.  He runs behind them, his cap pulled low on his forehead.  He lost it one morning – watching him trying to turn the dogs back for it was wondrous.    He shouts,

“Hullo!”

He can’t wave.  The dogs won’t let him.

A Kiewit flies, broken winged ahead of us and my feet swish, wet, through the grass.   Across the dam wall and take the long path to avoid the Jack Russell coming up the steps, bristles crew cut in the first show of strength.  He knows he’s a fighting breed.

My elder dog is tiring now, legs trembling in the exertion of trying to keep up with the pup.  He’s glad to be back on the lead.  The youngest as always, coming back reluctantly to heel, head hanging, tongue out and eyes begging –

“Must it really be so?”

A wave to the gate guard, the last leg lift on the post, and home for tea, toast and a bone.

It’s a Sunday ritual.

Secret Spirits

Sue Adams

There is a secret hid away in the north-western part of South Africa and I am tempted to tell you no more in case the whole world descends on it.

I recently stood on a flat-topped mountain surrounded by incredible rock formations and watched a grey, green, greasy Limpopo River snaking past.  The soft wind whispered of a great trading kingdom that once existed here in the twelfth century.  All that is left is a precious little gold rhino that sits in a museum amongst other gold artefacts, and a scattering of glass and ostrich shell beads in the old stone foundations.  But the spirits and ancestors still haunt the area.

Mapungubwe is the South African part of a Trans-frontier park that stretches across the Limpopo to Tuli in Botswana and to the bush in Zimbabwe.  White people only discovered this precious archaeological site in 1936 but the locals have known it for hundreds of years as a strange and sacred place.  It was an important part of the Indian Ocean trading network and a conduit for gold and ivory in return for exotic goods from the Arab and Indian countries.  In its time it competed with Great Zimbabwe and people came from far to pay homage to the king.

The National Parks reserve itself is beautiful bushveld with wonderful rocks that turn gold in the evening light. The park staff have used a sensitivity in developing the facilities that delighted me.  The winding treetop walk amongst the figs and fever trees on the floodplain, is unmatched in our country.  We had sundowners on one of the secluded decks on the cliff edge and we could have been the only people in Africa.  There is warmth in the rocks and stones but it is also found in the people.  The guides and rangers love this place and were generous with their smiles and willingness to share.

I left my soul there playing the ancient game of bao in the holes carved in the rock.  If you love Africa, this is where you will find it.  I have to return before I feel whole again.

Write Co. Graduate Shines in NB Publishers’ Romance Novel Competition

maridaYet another Write Co. graduate has made it to the top!

Marida Fitzpatrick recently took third place in NB Publishers and Leserskring’s Die liefde is vir ewig Romance Novel Competition. Her novel Eksklusief uit Eden will be published by NB Publishers and is set to hit the shelves in September this year.

“Although the competition was for romance novels, I tried to work in a lot of humorous chicklit elements, as there are virtually no Afrikaans novels in the chicklit genre. The main character, Mia Bindeman, is not your typical romance heroine and I hope especially young Afrikaans women will enjoy her humour and her adventures.” Marida explains.

Skrywers Skryf is the Afrikaans Version of Writers Write, a Creative Novel Writing Course.

This budding young author attended Skrywers Skryf at The Write Co. in 2007. Skrywers Skryf is the Afrikaans version of The Write Co.’s extremely successful novel writing course, Writers Write, which has produced no fewer than 33 published authors to date.

“I would honestly never have been able to write Eksklusief uit Eden if I hadn’t attended the course,” comments Fitzpatrick. “Not only did it give me the practical tools to be able to plan a plot and characters, but it also inspired me and gave me the self-confidence to actually sit down and do it.”

Morne MalanSkrywers Skryf course facilitator, Morné Malan, translated the course from the original English and adjusted the content specifically for the Afrikaans popular market. His own manuscript, Suiderkruis, won the Best Debut category in the Sanlam/Insig Groot Roman-wedstryd last year.

Practical Tools for Writing a Novel

Marida adds: “Morné’s no frills approach made me believe that I can write a novel without having to write a literary masterpiece. He helped me conquer the “white page fear” and helped and supported me tremendously throughout the process. I would recommend this course to anyone who dreams of writing a novel. It gives you the practical tools and makes you believe that you can actually use them successfully.”

Morné is also positive about the value of Skrywers Skryf and Writers Write for first-time authors. “If you’re passionate about writing a novel, all you need is the right tools and a little encouragement,” he says. “Our courses offer this in droves. Marida is proof of that. We cut through the academic claptrap and get back to the basics of good novel writing: a strong plot, intriguing characters, dazzling dialogue and original descriptions. And the courses are an absolute hoot to attend; so lots of fun is par for the course.”

Novel Writing Courses Available via Correspondence

Writers Write is presented every month as a series of four workshops on Saturdays, or as eight evening workshops during the week. Depending on enquiries and bookings, Skrywers Skryf will be presented again in June or July. Both courses are now available via correspondence, which offers more personal and detailed feedback from the facilitators. Correspondence courses are available immediately and are presented via e-mail.

For all enquiries about The Write Co.’s courses, please call Wiida at 011 706 4021 or 079 875 3719, or e-mail info@thewriteco.co.za For more information about The Write Co, its novel writing courses and its facilitators, visit www.thewriteco.co.za

Write Co. Graduate Shines in NB Publishers’ Romance Novel Competition

Yet another Write Co. student has made it to the top!

Marida Fitzpatrick recently took third place in NB Publishers and Leserskring’s Die liefde is vir ewig romance competition. Her novel Eksklusief uit Eden will be published by NB Publishers and is set to hit the shelves in September this year.

Marida had the following to say about her book: “Although the competition was for romance novels, I tried to work in a lot of humorous chicklit elements, seeing as there are virtually no Afrikaans novels in the chicklit genre. The main character, Mia Bindeman, is not your typical romance heroin and I hope especially young Afrikaans women will enjoy her humour and her adventures.”

Skrywers Skryf

This budding young author attended Skrywers Skryf at The Write Co. in 2007. This is the Afrikaans version of The Write Co.’s extremely successful novel writing course, Writers Write, which has produced no fewer than 33 published authors to date. “I would honestly never have been able to write Eksklusief uit Eden if I hadn’t attended the course,” comments Fitzpatrick. “Not only did it give me the practical tools to be able to plan a plot and characters, but it also inspired me and gave me the self-confidence to actually sit down and do it.”

Skrywers Skryf course facilitator, Morné Malan, translated the course from the original English and adjusted the content specifically for the Afrikaans popular market. His own manuscript, Suiderkruis, won the Best Debut category in the Sanlam/Insig Groot Roman-wedstryd last year. Marida adds: “Morné’s no frills approach made me belief that I can write a novel without having to write a literary masterpiece. He helped me conquer the “white page fear” and helped and supported me tremendously throughout the process. I would recommend this course to anyone who dreams of writing a novel. It gives you the practical tools and makes you believe that you can actually use them successfully.”

The Right Tools and a Little Encouragement

Morné is also positive about the value of Skrywers Skryf and Writers Write for first-time authors. “If you’re passionate about writing a novel, all you need is the right tools and a little encouragement,” he says. “Our courses offer this in droves. Marida is proof of that. We cut through the academic claptrap and get back to the basics of good novel writing: a strong plot, intriguing characters, dazzling dialogue and original descriptions. And they are an absolute hoot to attend, so lots of fun is par for the course.”

Writers Write is presented every month as a series of four workshops on Saturdays, or as eight evening workshops during the week. Depending on enquiries and bookings, Skrywers Skryf will be presented again in June or July.

Both courses are now available per correspondence, which offers more personal and detailed feedback from the facilitators. Correspondence courses are available immediately and are presented via e-mail.

For all enquiries about The Write Co.’s courses, please call Wiida at 011 706 4021 or 079 875 3719, or e-mail info@thewriteco.co.za For more information about The Write Co and its facilitators, visit www.thewriteco.co.za