Sunday, 17 January 2016
The RNA New Writers' Scheme - What Made Me Join?
Way back in June 2014, The lovely Karen Aldous asked whether she could guest on my blog to tell my readers a bit about her experience of being on the Romantic Novelists' Association (RNA) New Writers' Scheme (NWS). Her blog post was so interesting that I actually published it in two parts (which you can read here and here) and it quickly became one of my most popular guest posts.
So what is the RNA NWS? Well, in a nutshell, it's a scheme set up for unpublished writers of romantic fiction. It opens in January and accepts only 250 writers (unfortunately the scheme is now full for 2016). The organiser has a team of more than 60 readers who are authors with extensive publishing histories in various types of romantic novel. After joining, members of the NWS can send their script to be read by one of the readers for a critique (something that would normally be pretty expensive).
At the time of Karen's guest post, I was in the early stages of my own writing career. I had been writing fiction for magazines for about a year and the thought of writing a novel hadn't even crossed my mind - far from it. I was happy with what I was writing... Why would I want to be doing anything different?
Strangely though, over the year, things started to change. First, I noticed that my stories were beginning to get longer and more involved. This made me wonder whether I might be able to write a serial. The People's Friend certainly thought so (in fact my editor had mentioned it a while back) so I took the plunge and wrote a five-instalment serial called Charlotte's War for them. The following year, I wrote another, Life at Babcock Manor, and it made me think that maybe I could write something even longer. A novel perhaps?
There was a short story I'd written for Woman's Weekly which had a theme I couldn't get out of my head. Might it work as something longer? There was only one way to find out. At the end of 2014, I made a start and it was about this time that a lovely writer, Deirdre Palmer (who has also written a guest post here) invited me to meet up with some other writing friends for coffee. They were all members of the RNA and were very welcoming. Deirdre had been through the scheme and had recently got her first publishing deal, why didn't I consider joining the scheme in 2015?
I'd made a start on my novel but it wasn't progressing very well. What I needed was something to give me that push to really get stuck into it. Could the NWS be that thing?
That October, I went with Deirdre, as a guest, to the RNA Christmas party (you can read about it here) and talked to people who had been on the scheme. Should I join? The overwhelming opinion was, Yes! It was also at that party that I met my blog guest Karen Aldous in real life! It was from her that I had first heard of the New Writers' Scheme. It seemed an omen. I should go for it.
So having already written my application email, at two minutes past midnight on the second of January 2015, I hit the send button. The following day, I was thrilled to hear that I had been accepted. You can read my super-excited post about it here).
Next week, I will tell you about my first year of being an RNA NWS member and how it has helped me with my writing career... don't miss it!