I’ve lost count of the number of workshops I’ve attended during my working life as an author, although I’ve always kept the notes I made and the handouts I was given because I find them such a useful aide-memoire whenever I’ve needed to refer to something I learned during a particular session. Over the years I’ve honed my skills while exploring various genres, partly to keep my writing fresh but also for the fun of sometimes following a different muse. But writing is only the start; I’ve also attended workshops on self-publishing and marketing which includes the (often daunting) social media scene.
I can honestly say that my time and money have never been wasted as there is always something to learn and some new aspect to consider when it comes to the writing game – which is why I’m still attending workshops, and learning from them. So you’ll certainly find me hanging around the ‘super-sessions’ during the conference in Melbourne! Given by experts, and at only $20 per workshop, there’s a whole smorgasbord to choose from.
On the writing side, I’m greatly tempted by the historical romance workshop for aspiring authors titled ‘Medieval, Regency and So Much More’ given by master (or should that be mistress?) practitioners in the field, Anne Gracie and Isolde Martyn, who will share their tips on the importance of research in creating historical characters in believable settings – as well as giving some ‘how-not-to’ advice!
‘The Mystery in History’, internationally published and award-winning author Sulari Gentill’s crime fiction workshop for aspiring authors, also looks like a lot of fun with her promise to take participants through the art of writing crime fiction with an historical setting that is more than just an artistic backdrop.
As I’ve already discovered, writing for children and teens is far more complicated than just writing stories for short people! Historical research is hugely important but must take second place to compelling characters and the action that will carry the story and keep the short people interested. Author Sherryl Clark will show participants how to choose a viewpoint character and structure the story, while addressing issues of voice and language to appeal to target readers.
Do you have a family story to tell? Eleanor Limprecht will show you how to transform your research into compelling historical fiction – while maybe letting a few skeletons out of the closet at the same time!
But how to research and create the historical landscape of your dreams? Think about joining Dr Gillian Polack for her ‘Research and Writing Master Classes 1 & 2’, and find out how to make history come to life in fiction. In these classes Gillian will examine different genres of historical fiction, including fantasy, along with the needs of writers. She will also read 10,000 words of your mss (deadline 1st September), using these samples to discuss techniques and theory. NB You need to check the website for info plus submission details. Cost $150.
As a bit of fun, especially if you’re writing about early and medieval time, why not join Matt Curran (aka Leif the Viking) in ‘Armour and Armouring’ to find out how a blacksmith would go about making a set of armour – and how it would feel to wear it. (NB: your hero should never take a 5-minute toilet break from the battlefield to shuck off his armour and pop into a latrine!)
Not into battles, more into the boudoir? Will you dress your heroine in a Tudor or a Renaissance costume? Silk, satin – or nylon? Rachel Nightingale has books to show you, plus a range of outfits made by historical re-enactors based on research and portraits.
Need help? You might like to join Kelly Gardiner’s introduction to Scrivener, a low-cost software programme for writers which can help you manage chapters and scenes, sketch out characters and settings, incorporate research materials, plus a whole lot more.
Do you have a mss ready to go? Lisa Chaplin’s interactive workshop ‘From Elevator Pitch to Finish: how to successfully pitch your book in 30 seconds’ will give you all the tips you need to capture the interest of agents and/or publishers.
But perhaps you’d rather go the self-publishing route? Successful indie author G.S. Johnston is on hand to answer your questions on everything from production and publishing to marketing in their session: ‘Everything you wanted to know about self-publishing but were afraid to ask.’
And that brings us to crunch time: your book’s published but how do you get the word Out There? Your book will be up against millions of others on sale so you’re going to have to get smart, get out there, and be quick about it! Join Elisabeth Storrs and Elizabeth Lhuede on ‘How to build an author platform: social media basics for historical novelists.’ They’ll show you how to connect with potential readers and promote your books through Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, blogging etc, plus – a vital component – your website.
And let Hazel Edwards have the last word on ‘Authorpreneurship: the business of creativity’. As well as writing the book, she says, you need to learn marketing, publicity, technological, legal and entrepreneurial skills to adapt to a fast-changing digital global industry, while staying in business and surviving financially.
So much to learn and so much on offer – we’re spoilt for choice, and I’m sure I’ll see you there somewhere!
Book your tickets for the workshops and be entered in the draw to win a $100 Dymocks Gift Card. Cost of tuition is only $20 per session once a full weekend or day ticket has been purchased.
HNSA 2017 Conference
The HNSA 2017 Melbourne Conference is being held on 8-10 September 2017 at Swinburne University. This celebration of the historical fiction genre will showcase over 60 speakers discussing inspiration, writing craft, research, publishing pathways and personal histories in our weekend programme. Among the many acclaimed historical novelists participating are Kerry Greenwood, Kate Forsyth, Deborah Challinor, Libby Hathorn, Lucy Treloar, Sophie Masson, Sulari Gentill, Robert Gott and Arnold Zable. The HNSA’s speakers’ list is available on the HNSA website.
In addition to the two stream weekend programme, there will be ten craft based super sessions and two research masterclasses.You won’t want to miss our interactive sessions on armour and historical costumes either! Purchase a ticket and you will be entered in the draw to win a $100 Dymocks Gift Card.
Manuscript assessments will be conducted by industry experts, Alison Arnold and Irina Dunn. Our free extended academic programme is open for general admission but bookings are essential.
Our First Pages Pitch Contest offers an opportunity for submissions to be read aloud to a panel of publishers. And we are delighted to announce the introduction of our inaugural HNSA Short Story Contest with a $500 prize!
Let’s make a noise about historical fiction!