Tag Archives: mentorship


just sent Valerie Parv/fairygodmother the new draft of my first chapter and I am…nervous.

Redrafting and re-imagining something that you’ve already written is not easy. And it brings the risk factor in all over again. Some of the things I’ve had to deal with:

1. My hero is a charming rascal, but I had some feedback that made sense to me that he’s a little bit too farcical, i.e. he doesn’t allow room for an emotional journey. I’ve re-imagined him so that his charm is more obvious as a kind of defence mechanism/character flaw to hide his awful loneliness.

Given all the angsty alphas I’ve been reading lately I may have just – ever so slightly – overwritten him in the other direction.

2. Am I actually writing a completely different story? Have I lost everything that made that character what he was? This is really tricky, because he looks the same, is called the same, is being thrown into the same circumstance, but…

I imagine all writers face this when they work on manuscripts over long periods of time, because what you’re interested by changes over time, too.

3. Somewhere along the way I’ve lost contact with my “voice”. I feel like I’ve been improving so much as a writer and learning my craft/the industry. But I realised during this redrafting process that I was writing according to what makes a good scene and according to different feedback I was getting.

I took a deep breath and attempted to get back to what I love about romance novels and romantic heroes and write that. Save the rest for second-drafting. This makes it all the more terrifying to let someone else see it, because it feels raw.

Lucky for me, VP is the best mentor in the world, and I’m sure she will say whatever she has to say with great tact and encouragement, as always.

Will keep you posted.

meeting the fairy godmother

I get to meet Valerie Parv/fairy godmother next week – yay! Some things to ask:

1. Could Borris ever work as a hero’s first name?

2. So my manuscript’s pretty much perfect, right?

3. Should I call, er, you know: a) woman’s place b) pleasure centre c) venus fly trap?

4. What exactly is a “lantern jaw”?

5. So how powerful is your magic wand, Val? Are we talking agents, contracts or New York Times bestsellerdom?

6. And speaking of magic wands…hey, that’s a pretty neat euphemism for, er, you know.

I think we’re going to get along just fine.

a BIG piece of good news

Last Saturday I came home just before midnight after a very long day investigating how I live through my communication. I found special k just where I most expected him to be: lying splat asleep on the couch, with a weird French film on the tele.

I touched his face just for the pleasure of watching his eyes open and go from sleep to sleepy adoration.

“I have to tell you something,” he said.

“It’s about the award, isn’t it?” I had remembered about 2 hours earlier, and my heart had started thumping away in my chest; the Valerie Parv Award had been announced that evening.

Special k looked at me with those still-asleep eyes and didn’t say anything. That silence gave my mind a lot of space for thoughts like Shit, I didn’t even place, did I?

Then every feature in his face focused on me, his eyes sharp with intent. “You won!”

Now I really wouldn’t be coy admitting that a small voice in my head went “of course I won” at this point. But it didn’t. I was absolutely and completely floored by the news. Then I laughed a lot. And then I realised:

This changes everything. I now have a mentor for a year. And not just any mentor – Valerie Parv has been successfully, and more importantly professionally writing romance for 20 years. She’s also a great spokesperson for romance within Australia, and an experienced teacher of the craft.

Over the weekend I made a commitment: I will be the breadwinner in my family by my 30th birthday. Being mentored by Val (fairy godmother) is the first, brilliant step in that direction.