New Board

At last night’s AGM, the membership elected a new board.

President: Diana Scott
Vice-President: Mahrie Glab
Secretary: Deb Smith
Treasurer: Bernadine Visotto

Non-elected positions:
Newsletter Editor: Darlene Maynard
Membership Chair: Grace Panko

Virginia Janes
Randi-Lee Ryder
Victoria Smith

There will be some more appointments in the upcoming days, so please watch-this-space.

AGM – Thursday

Because of the current state of emergency in Calgary, the board will make a final decision whether or not to hold our AGM (scheduled for this Thursday) on Wednesday evening.

Please check your e-mail on Wednesday evening for confirmation.

Hope everyone is safe, well and dry. If any members need assistance, please contact Diana on her e-mail or phone.

ARWA Retreat – Day 3

Last day of what has been a great retreat. Here’s a recap from Lori.

Being a writer is sometimes like being a sailor in charge of your own craft. It’s exciting, dangerous and exactly what you want to do. But sometimes there’s that great big ocean and no one to talk to about your exciting, dangerous adventures and you wonder ‘am I the only one’?

Using water as the metaphor seems fitting given the flood situation in Calgary where what used to be rivers now resemble inland oceans. Despite the catastrophic nature of the environment, we authors found respite. A haven to share, to laugh, gather ideas and be inspired in a home so welcoming it was like being enveloped in a mother’s embrace.

It is here that the members of the Alberta Romance Writers’ Association met to focus on current works in progress, reacquainting with members and meeting other writers for the first time.

I was one of those authors meeting everyone for the first time. Oh my, I was so excited when the retreat was announced and planned my calendar to accommodate this specific weekend. It was unlikely a bit of rising water was going to keep me away. But when push came to shove and I arrived at the door, I put on a brave face but I was a nervous talker for the first while. I didn’t know quite what to say. Would they like me? Would I be a bust? Would I connect with the members? Sure we Skype, but this is face to face.
Of course I needn’t worried.

The retreat has been a success. We discussed various plots, ideas on moving the story forward, what inspired us as writers, how do we measure success and so many other topics sometimes on writing, sometimes not. I have been motivated to keep to my chosen craft and have learned new skills. And isn’t that the point.

I will look forward to the next opportunity to gather and share and look forward to meeting many more of the Alberta Romance Writers membership – in better weather!

Debating Damsels

ARWA Retreat – Day 2 by Victoria Smith

From Didsbury to Edmonton to Lethbridge and flooded Calgary, ten ARWA members managed to meet this afternoon thanks to modern technology. Skype, we thank you.

There was definitely heated debate and discussion.

We looked at the relationship between music and writing. How does music inspire a scene or motivate the writer? For some writers in the group, their novels have a unique soundtrack that speaks to the conflict, their characters and the feel. For others, music was relevant to the region where the book is set.

Motivation was also deemed important to building the writer’s spirit or motivation. We could almost all point to a particular song that revs us up for writing, often related to our youth.

See some of our favourite music choices at the bottom of this post.

Rules and voice. Oh man, that was a debate. It started out as a question over whether applying the rules of writing can damage your voice. Or, did it in fact enhance your voice? We didn’t actually come to a consensus on that one. On one side, some felt that the right editing tools can polish your voice and strengthen it. On the other, some felt that regardless of editing, voice means that nobody could have written that book but that particular author.

Writing yourself into your characters, good thing or bad? Neither. Donald Mass repeats the age-old wisdom of write what you know, so your character be a part of you. Perhaps they are an idealized version of you, but they can express the emotion that you might feel in that situation. Unless of course your hero is beheading someone, as one pointed out! Fair point. Some ladies felt that they wanted to write characters that were stronger than themselves, but others didn’t mind characters that perhaps weren’t so strong, but were human to the core, hiccups and all.

And finally success. What is success in writing? We agreed that success is different for each and every writer and can depend on their stage as a writer. For a brand new writer, just having someone say they like their story can be euphoric. Perhaps success is financial, perhaps it’s the joy in clearly expressing your character’s point of view or maybe it’s in finally writing that last page.

In the end, we write because it’s our passion. It can be a love/hate relationship, but it’s part of our core and makes us ‘us’. Write on ladies! Here’s some our of members’ favourite music to inspire you:

Kelly Clarkson – Because of you
Dirty Dancing – Time of My Life
Joshua by Dolly Parton
Sweet Disposition – Temper Trap
Clocks – Coldplay
Epic Score – For intense scores from movies. Good for fight, chase or dramatic scenes.