Angela Ackerman – Show don’t tell pt 2

August 26th, 2015

Describing emotion: balancing show and tell

Body language and action


Internal sensations



Body language

In active storytelling, action is king

93% of all communication is non verbal

  • Primal instinct is at work (constantly aware of our environment)
  • We are all adept body language readers (and so are our story readers)
  • Use body language to convey your character’s comfort zone & emotional range



Angela Ackerman – Show don’t tell pt 1

August 22nd, 2015

Sharing characterisations & emotions without telling or info dumps


Do more with less

If you are describing appearance, also include emotional description

Learn to convey information with powerful word structure rather than writing it all out


What does ‘Show, don’t tell’ really mean?

  • It is the drop in your stomach when you jump out of an aeroplane
  • It is the crunch of your feet as you walk across leaves
  • Sound of birds
  • The chafe of cold iron against skin

Take your readers on a sensory adventure


Angela Ackerman: Larger than life characters Pt 2

August 22nd, 2015

And the flipside is using flaws / negative traits

Hobble your character with flaws

  • A flaw is a negative quality that emerges in a character’s personality as a result of an emotionally hurtful experience
  • Just as we have a survival response for physical dangers (fight or flight), we instinctively protect our emotions from harm as well
  • Flaws act as unhealthy emotional armour to ensure the same emotional pain doesn’t happen again

Flaws have deep roots, it is hard to get rid of them.


Angela Ackerman, Larger than Life characters Pt 1

August 22nd, 2015

Building a hero / heroine from the ground up 

– What makes a reader fall in love with a character?

– How can we create these types of characters ourselves?

– How to create deep compelling characters that stick with a reader.



Reader fascination:

  • Offer a view into the characters and his world that is both compelling and addictive
  • Provide experiences that are new, yet rooted in real human experience


  • A powerful bond that forms when the character’s experiences triggers the reader’s own emotional memories


4 elements to reinforce empathy and fascination

  • Realism
  • Recognition
  • Worthiness
  • Emotional connection


RWA Conference 2015 – Melbourne

August 22nd, 2015

And so, dear readers, it is once more unto the breach…

An interstate trek, stranded at airport for ages as shuttle didn’t turn up, eventually finding and checking into hotel.  Followed by an attempt to register the day before the conference opened (foiled!) so as to avoid a stupidly early start on Friday.  Alas, stupidly early start it was…

The high level outline of my program at Romance Writers of Australia 2015 ‘Get Fresh’ conference is as follows.


  • workshops
  • cocktail party


  • core conference
  • awards dinner


  • core conference

Some of my friends from previous cons are around, but only attending the social functions (going to the Melbourne Writers Festival instead).

It is a shame there is no literary stream this year, I would have really enjoyed it.

Breakout 5: Self-Defence For Women: How To Write a Fight Scene – RWAus14

August 28th, 2014

Susanna Rogers – 2nd degree black belt in kickboxing, published romance author.  Publishes under the name Nina Blake 

  • likes to feel powerful
  • teaches kickboxing
  • can’t run, catch or throw, but can kick and punch


When in stressful situation or danger:  fight or flight mechanism kicks in

Physiological changes include:

  • heart rate rises
  • increased blood flow to muscles
  • pupils dilate
  • non essential things slow down (digestion stops)

There is a third factor that is rarely mentioned:  freeze


Breakout 4: The Dark Side: Psychology, psychopathy and stalking – RWAus14

August 26th, 2014

I have to admit that I had a great time at the dinner on Saturday night, and went to a room party afterwards.  I decided to sleep in a bit on Sunday morning so I missed the first session of the day (which was noted as TBA in my schedule anyway), and got there in time for my first breakout session.


The Dark Side:  Psychology, psychopathy and stalking

Professor Karl Roberts

  • Chair and Profess of Policing and Criminal Justice, University of Western Sydney
  • Professor of Criminal Justice and Criminology, University of Massachusetts, MA
  • Expert witness in the UK

This was an excellent, informative session, and provided a lot of information and ideas for those writing crime, suspense, romantic suspense, mystery, thriller or other sub-gentres in the crime category.  Over all I would say it was one of the best all weekend, aside from the Friday workshop.

HOWEVER – and I don’t want to direct this at anyone specific (and I probably wouldn’t know their names anyway) – it also suffered from one of my pet hates.

Professor Roberts took questions from the floor from the start.  People were asking specific questions that presumably related to what their own story.  He jumped to the end of his presentation and despite saying he would go back, he didn’t really.  The whole presentation got derailed by those who only wanted to discuss psychopathy because it related to their own writing.  A lot of the information in his slides wasn’t even shown to us let alone discussed (I think a lot of it was on the psychology, but I’m not sure).

While I had some questions myself, I refrained from asking them at the time.  He provided us with his email address and said he was happy to answer questions we have that way.  I hope that in the future people will be less selfish about hogging the presenter’s time, because I for one was extremely frustrated we missed out on so much content.

And I would suggest that in future, all questions other than clarifications be kept to the end.

And now, on to the presentation we did get:

What do forensics psychologists do?

  • focus on human behaviour
  • assessment
  • human performance
  • explanation of motivation
  • clinical – psychological problems
  • forensic – specific application to crime and offending


Saturday final session: AMG & Wrap up – RWAus14

August 25th, 2014

Presentation of the First Sale ribbons

There were quite a few this year – I think 25 or so standing at the front, and of course others who were not present.  I didn’t record names, I am sure the list will be available in Hearts Talk or on the website.  Congratulations to all 🙂


just the highlights, the minutes will be available to RWA members.

Change in membership structure – will no longer be divided by published / unpublished.  There are now three categories:

  • Aspiring (unpublished)
  • Emerging (first 1 – 3 years of publication)
  • Established (3+ years)

There are going to be programs tailored for each category, and members are to self-select their status in their website profile.


Sunday Program – RWAus14

August 24th, 2014

Again, my breakout sessions are highlighted.
Registration opens

Arrival Tea & Coffee


TBA  (this was the early program, not sure what ended up going here)

Harlequin Digital – Malle Valick

Audition Submission – Selected Editors & Agents

Morning Tea

Sunday Breakout Session 1

  • Self Publishing 101 – Marie Force
  • A Lady’s Wardrobe Unlocked: Cloth and clothing in Georgian Times – Bronwyn Parry & Beverley Eikli
  • Psychological Warfare – Prof. Karl Roberts
  • Conflict: The Key To Your Romance Novel – Rachel Bailey
  • How The World’s Best Storytellers Do It – Analysing Pixar’s Secret to Success: Part 1 – Kathryn Fox


Sunday Breakout Session 2

  • The Publishing Process – Lucienne Diver
  • Get Your Rocks Off: Writing Convincing Sex – Kate Belle
  • The Staircase of Turning Points – Ebony McKenna
  • Self-Defence For Women: How To Write a Fight Scene – Susanna Rogers
  • Skin The Cat – There’s More Than One Way To Get Published – Cate Ellink / Ainslie Paton / Kylie Griffin

14:20-15:20 Sunday Breakout Session 3

  • Luminous Dialogue – Cherry Adair 
  • It’s Not Just About Ripping Bodices – Maisey Yates / Jackie Ashenden
  • Getting a Grant – Patsy Poppenbeek
  • How Romance Rocks in the UK – Kate Byrne
  • Author Branding – MalleVallik

Afternoon Tea

Keynote Address – Cherry Adair

RWA 2015 Conference Launch

16:10 – 16:15
Fundraising Announcement

16:15 – 16:30
Conference Close

Little Gems – Moonstone: Official Launch – RWAus14

August 24th, 2014

Little Gems official launch:  Moonstone

Little Gems - Moonstone 2014

Little Gems – Moonstone 2014

Cover design:  Sheridan Kent

Contest winners:

Josephine Brown—The Minstrel’s Trial
Rowena Candlish—Minnie’s Year Of Living
Rowena Candlish—Jake’s Best Friend
Heidi Catherine—My Moonstone Love
N.F. David—Luna and the Moonstone
Fiona Greene—The Moonstone Legacy
Jennifer Hoff—The Farewell Letter
Fiona Kekic—The Heart Surgeon
Linda Knightley—Moonlight On Water
D.D. Line—Moonstone Hill
Patricia Poppenbeek—Catch Of the Day
Anne Prince—The Real Thing
Michelle Skidmore—Moonstruck
P.J. Vye—The Girl Who Refused To Marry

Little Gems Anthology 2014 – Moonstone is available now


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