August 3rd, 2016

Golden Lines from RWA 2016

Years ago, an instructor at the UCI Writing Project taught me how to identify the “golden lines” in a lesson, article, or book. Golden lines are the phrases, the ideas, the “takeaway” from whatever you’re learning in life. Since then, after I attend a class or workshop, I review my notes and handouts, marking the golden lines. With a yellow highlighter, of course.

My golden lines usually end up as stickies around the edge of my computer monitor. Or on my calendar. And yes, on my refrigerator door, if I want to be sure to see them several times a day. Once I’ve lived with a golden line long enough to internalize it, the sticky is discarded. When there are no stickies in the house, I know it’s time to find a class or conference.

Today I’m sharing my golden lines from RWA 2016 in San Diego last month. I learned a boatload of good stuff, but as Margie Lawson says, “I’m offering you a plate of cookies. Take what you want and leave the rest.”

I hope you enjoy these “cookies.”


“You need to know what your character is trying to hide.” Patty Blount

“You can cut off a character’s dialogue, but let the reader know what the character is thinking.” Julia Quinn

“Internal Branding includes the type of characters you write, the pacing of your stories, your plotting structure, heat level, writing style, POV, voice and word count. Make sure you’re consistent.” Elisabeth Naughton

End actions at the end of your book, encourage your reader to rate, review, or purchase the next book.” Daniel Slater, Amazon

On “Building an Audience:

  • Establish reader infrastructure early (Facebook group page or other social media)
  • Write a series. Write more than one series.
  • Let your readers apply to your, “ARC team”. In return for an honest review, they receive special information from you, like deleted scenes, as well as the chance to read your books first.
  • Cross promote with authors who write in your genre ” Cristin Harber and Zoe York

“Write your newsletter in first person. Be sure there’s a double opt-in or you’ll get spam e-mails and angry readers.” Deanna Chase

“Write smart. Write to the market, but write what you love. And write a series.” Roxanne Sinclair

“Focus on your readers, not the sales.” Steena Holmes

“Four elements that form the basic structure of any story: character, desire, conflict, and change (transformation).” Michael Hauge

“Emotion grows out of conflict, not desire. Obstacles create and increase emotional buy in.” Michael Hauge

“Create empathy before you reveal the flaws of the character.” Michael Hauge

“Why advertise on Facebook? 1.5 billion users worldwide. 76% are female. Remember that the image in your ad needs to convey emotion. It doesn’t have to be your book cover.” Carolyn Jewel and Jessica Scott

“For serialized content, publish your work as it is written. Use your author blog, newsletter, WattPad, Goodreads.” Brenna Aubrey

“Other regular extra content for your long-term subscribers: epilogues, private access on your website, free holiday themed short stories, playlists, character bios, dream casting for a movie, Pinterest boards with permission to add.” Brenna Aubrey

“Get your readers talking to each other!” Cristin Harber and Brenna Aubrey

And the best golden line:

“Send me the full.”

Do you have some golden lines from RWA 2016, another conference, a class or a workshop you’d like to share?

About Fae:

Fae RowenFae Rowen discovered the romance genre after years as a science fiction freak. Writing futuristics and medieval paranormals, she jokes  that she can live anywhere but the present.  As a mathematician, she knows life’s a lot more fun when you get to define your world and its rules.

Punished, oh-no, that’s published as a co-author of a math textbook, she yearns to hear personal stories about finding love from those who read her books, rather than the horrors of calculus lessons gone wrong.  She is grateful for good friends who remind her to do the practical things in life like grocery shop, show up at the airport for a flight, and pay bills.

A “hard” scientist who avoided writing classes like the plague, she now shares her brain with characters who demand their stories be told.  Amazing, gifted critique partners keep her on the straight and narrow. Feedback from readers keeps her fingers on the keyboard.

When she’s not hanging out at Writers in the Storm, you can visit Fae at  or


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