Okay here’s my official bio:

A life-long lover of stories and adventure, it was either become a stuntwoman for the movies or live out those adventures from the safety of her PJ’s and computer. Award-winning author, Robyn DeHart chose the latter and couldn’t be happier for doing so. Known for her unique plotlines and authentic characters, Robyn is a favorite among readers and reviewers. Publishers' Weekly claims her writing to be "comical and sexy" while the Chicago Tribune dubs her "wonderfully entertaining." Robyn is a three-time RT Bookclub Reviewers' Choice award nominee, and her book Seduce Me won for the 2009 Best Historical Romantic Adventure. The same book also won the inaugural RomCon Reader’s Crown award. In March, Treasure Me, the much anticipated conclusion to her Legend Hunters trilogy hit stores. You can find Robyn on-line at www.RobynDeHart.com or www.JauntyQuills.com.

But here’s the stuff that really matters to those of you want to write too…

My education as a writer was a moment of sudden clarity. I call it a V-8 moment. (D’oh! I coulda had a V-8!) It took me 2 years to write my first book – first book completed not first book published. Granted, that wasn’t 2 years of consistent writing – but, hey, I was busy. Okay, so I wasn’t any busier then than now (in fact I’m arguably more busy now), but I was admittedly ignorant, unorganized, unfocused and frankly unmotivated. Writing wasn’t a top priority. And we’ll get to that later. But upon completion of that first book after 2 years of hard work, I sat down to read my masterpiece – which I was certain would be the next best seller and would make everyone ask, “Amanda Quick who?” – only to discover that while the characters and plot were indeed interesting, there was something missing. The romance.

So what do you have if your romance novel is lacking in romance? Well, technically you could have a variety of things – what I ended up with was episodic scenes that were connected by weak transitions and a relationship that didn’t make sense so that the happy ending was neither satisfying nor deserved. Lesson #1 that you can learn from my mistake: While layering is often necessary during revisions, you shouldn’t have to layer in the important stuff. Meaning if you’re writing a mystery – you shouldn’t have to layer in the mystery. Same goes for the romance. The romance is the main stuff – it’s the whole point – all the other elements should arise from and center around the romance.

My second V-8 moment came while attending a workshop at the RWA National Conference many moons ago; a workshop presented by Stephanie Bond on Self-Editing. Stephanie said something in this workshop that literally changed the way I have approached my writing career. Are you ready? Cause this is a biggie and it happens to be the foundation that this entire workshop is built on…

“Good writing is not accidental.” ~ Stephanie Bond

Write that down; tack it up on your monitor or bulletin board. It’s a small sentence that packs a lot of power. Think about it, this gives us the freedom to take control. No more are we going to sit aside and let our plot control us or our characters get us into corners. This freedom enables us to be specific and deliberate in our approach to writing and it will make a huge impact on your writing. We are able to write with confidence and know that by the time it is all said and done, we’ll have a finished book that is tight and cohesive with a memorable romance. It’s a slightly renegade way to think of writing since many writers like to perceive writing as more of a mythical experience – characters taking over and plots that come in dreams – and writing can be mythical and organic sometimes, but never for a moment believe that you are not the one in control. All of this should make more sense when we’re done with this workshop.

So that’s me in a nutshell, now onto the workshop itself. Before we get into the nitty-gritty, I’d like some information from you. At the end of this message is a survey we’d like each of you to fill out. This will give me some information about where you are you in your writing journey. I know that many of you are used to lurking in on-line situations and I certainly respect that. I hope that you will participate with each lesson, but ask that if you only do one, you do this one. The more information you can give me the better.

1. How long have you been writing?

2. How many manuscripts have you completed?

3. Are you published in book-length fiction? And if so with whom and for what type of book?

4. Are you primarily writing romance?

5. Are you familiar with Debra Dixon’s GMC: Goal Motivation and Conflict?

6. Do you consider yourself a panster or a plotter or somewhere in between?