SYTYCW 2.0 – Help Us Help You

By Kathleen Scheibling, Senior Editor, Harlequin American Romance

There are certain times of the year that seem most suited to getting the creative juices going. Spring – when you’re energized about new projects (and new exercise regimes to fit into that bathing suit this summer), and Fall – when you get that “back to school, get down to work” feeling.

Well, it’s Spring, and we’re energized about our upcoming So You Think You Can Write 2.0 edition! We’re in the planning stages now and we have a question for you. What do YOU want to see us do for this year’s event? Last year, we offered podcasts, blogs, webinars, live chats and more to provide a window into the writing / editing life, and to hopefully motivate and inspire you in your writing. What formats did you find the most educational? Or entertaining? Or informative?

Are there particular subjects you’d like us to tackle? Last year we ran a wide selection of topics, from a blog called “A Week in the Life of an Editor”, to a live chat about “The Best Sex I Ever Had” to a podcast about “Writing Visually.” We know from a previous blog post that we should definitely tackle “Writing the Synopsis” – but what other subjects would be interested to all of you?

We want to hear from you – help us make SYTYCW 2.0 (coming this fall) an event that no aspiring romance writer wants to miss!

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Comments ( 13 )
  1. Mags
    April 5, 2011 at 8:51 am
    Reply

    I absolutely loved SYTYCW! I would however like to see a class on blurbs. Maybe even a piece on the most common things that cause a rejection.

  2. Kathleen from Harlequin
    April 5, 2011 at 9:24 am
    Reply

    You mean a class on back cover copy? That’s a really interesting idea.

    And so is common problems in writing that lead to rejection. Thanks for chiming in!

  3. Ivy
    April 5, 2011 at 10:33 am
    Reply

    Can you hold a webinar during the weekend or early evening? If that isn’t possible, can you make a recording of the webinar available on the website for later viewing?

    I wanted to attend the webinars and chats last time, but I need to keep my day job too.

  4. Sabrina
    April 5, 2011 at 10:39 am
    Reply

    I thought that SYTYCW was a wonderful experience and I learned so much. The variety of topics covered and the outlets used were a great way of reaching out to all of us.

    I’d love to see editors give a list or mention of books from their line that writers should read for the best example of what they are looking for. With many lines, there are so many “special series” that sometimes it’s hard to find the kind of book a 1st time author would publish with that line.

    Maybe also some writing exercises based on your entry? In other words, maybe ways to take your entry and make it even better.

    Lastly, the most helpful part to me were the actual constructive comments left on our entries by other writers. I’d love to see a way to facilitate more of that and possibly random anonymous editor comments on entries even if they aren’t moving forward.

  5. Julia Broadbooks
    April 5, 2011 at 1:02 pm
    Reply

    SYTYCW was great fun and a great learning experience.

    I think what I got the most out of last time were the critique challenges. It was very helpful to see the entries through an editor’s eye.

    As for new topics, voice is something often discussed. It would be great to hear something on that topic.

  6. Stephanie
    April 5, 2011 at 1:15 pm
    Reply

    I enjoyed the week too. The time zone difference made it harder to participate.

    A secret part of me hoped an editor would respond to the writing challenges, off-loop. So, not only critiquing a few online for all to see, but if those participating got actual feedback. Probably not realistic, but I’m not sure how many entries you received.

    The author stories were very inspiring.

    I enjoyed the “Writing Visually” piece. Anything that breaks down a specific area of craft would be very helpful. Thanks!

  7. Kathleen from Harlequin
    April 5, 2011 at 2:36 pm
    Reply

    More great suggestions, thanks!

    We will likely do challenges again, and will make every endeavor to give as much feedback to as many as possible. But the response was overwhelming and it was difficult to keep up with the volume.

    We are definitely thinking about doing some “master class” stuff, where we concentrate heavily on craft. Thanks for the suggestion, Stephanie. (And I created “Writing Visually” so thanks for the shout out. 🙂

  8. Rima Gokani
    April 5, 2011 at 3:34 pm
    Reply

    Ivy’s suggestion about having the webinars available recorded was great. I think the opening page is also difficult for writers, particularly knowing whether you’ve started your story at the right place so something on this would be great

  9. Lou Gagliardi
    April 6, 2011 at 11:38 am
    Reply

    This has probably been suggested, but a webinar/podcast/forum on just simply getting started–such suggestions on where the action/chapter 1 should start, how much if any backstory is given, etc.

    I think if we heard this from say a Nocturne author, a Blaze author, etc, it would certainly help future HQN writers find themselves in a good position.

    But I also agree, being in school, it makes it hard to participate in MANY of the things that went on and it stunk.

  10. Susie Sheehey
    April 6, 2011 at 1:00 pm
    Reply

    I’d love a session on the publishing industry/market place, and where editors at Harlequin think its heading. What changes they see (including what they like, don’t like) and advice to current authors and aspiring authors how to navigate the changing environment.

  11. Nancy Holroyd
    April 6, 2011 at 6:36 pm
    Reply

    For those of us in day jobs the timing of all the chats, webinars/interactive activities did not allow us to participate. Please consider changing the timing of activities. Thanks

  12. Gina Brock
    October 18, 2011 at 3:25 pm
    Reply

    Hi Kathleen,
    Can’t wait to read the information provided in this event.
    I’m currently finishing up my first book with the hopes of selling to the Harlequin Presents line.
    My question: How much personal background information to put in the cover letter?
    Do Editors prefer to have a brief one paragraph summary on my background, or should I stick with only detailing the story I’m presenting.
    Any advice is greatly appreciated.

    Many thanks!

    Gina Brock

  13. Jenna V
    October 26, 2011 at 11:13 am
    Reply

    At RWA Nationals, y’all distributed a flyer for SYTYCW 2.0 stating it would start Nov. 7th yet I’ve not seen any publicity on the eHarlequin site. When will details be “leaked out” to us? thanks!

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