Opening keynote address: Graham Simsion – Men in romance

Graham Simsion is the author of The Rosie Project, background is in script writing

He is the only person who could have written The Rosie Project, but everyone has the ability to write their own story.

Male protagonist (Don) was easy to write, Rosie was the hardest – was originally called Clara but she was too much of a magical pixie dream girl so Simsion worked with his wife to create a believable realistic background

Every character matters :

  • With a script, someone only reads for one character, don’t see all the others
  • Have to write a character as if someone is going to read for it eg Jennifer Lawrence for Rosie, Alec Baldwin for Gene
  • Side note:  Jennifer Lawrence has just been signed to play Rosie


Don Toolman

  • Looks at practicalities first
  • Translates into problem solving, and everything then becomes a problem to be solved (even the emotional issues)


Romance is not something men turn about. Refer to works of Robert Stern (??)

  • Triangulation of love:  Passion, intimacy, commitment
  • Different combinations represent different types of relationships (friendship, romantic love etc)
  • Never underestimate how much men think about sex


Once Don decides he is in love and it is what he really wants (after talking to Gene) he decides to go for it

  • Fear is that he is going to lose it
  • Cause of fear of commitment
  • Historical narrative – stories men are told are of giving up love for a higher duty
  • In a rom com the highest goal is romantic love (even if unhappy ending etc)


Writing is not a business, it is a profession

Everyone needs to work on the craft

Best way to publicise book and increase sales is to write a better book

You can always make it better


Characters are made up of different parts:

  • 1/3 someone you know
  • 1/3 yourself
  • 1/3 you make up


Everything you do can contribute to that 1/3 of yourself

Your thoughts and stuff

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