Wednesday, February 04, 2009

RWA Conference 2009

I just got notification that two of my panel proposals (of three) were accepted for the Romance Writers of America 2009 conference, one during the RWA conference itself and one during the pre-conference Librarians' Day conference. Yay!

The panels as I proposed them:

The Wit, Wisdom, and Writing Advice of Jennifer Crusie
(In which Pamela Regis and Jessica Lyn Van Slooten examine the humor and writing advice in the novels of best-selling author Jennifer Crusie, who will herself respond to the literary criticism perpetrated upon her novels.)

Pamela Regis:“The Power of Wit: How Jennifer Crusie Harnesses the Power of the Romance Form and How You Can, Too.”
Jennifer Crusie manages to get her unique humor onto the pages of her novels and those novels onto best sellers lists. This presentation will take a hard look at Bet Me to get beyond the Krispy Kremes and chicken marsala to figure out how Crusie builds her humor and to recommend strategies for building humor into your own work. The eight elements of the romance novel, as I define them in A Natural History of the Romance Novel (U Penn Press, 2003), will be identified in Bet Me to uncover their contribution to the humor in the book. We'll characterize Crusie's humor, and look for ways to apply her techniques. Assuming, of course, that Crusie lets me get a word in edgewise.

Jessica Lyn Van Slooten: “Metanarrative and Writing Advice in Jennifer Crusie’s Novels.
The romantic and writing success of script writer Sophie in Jennifer Crusie’s Welcome to Temptation and cookbook author Agnes in Agnes and the Hitman (co-authored with Bob Mayer) emanates from their willingness to blur the line between reality and fantasy, to constantly revise, to know their audience, and to write out of their full sensory experiences. Despite their initial skepticism, both heroines successfully navigate the obstacles in their paths to write their own happily-ever-afters. Through her heroines’ narratives, Crusie counters skepticism of the romance genre, while also embedding writing advice for her careful readers—many of whom want to author their own romantic tales. I blend examples from the novels with a post-modern theoretical approach, and incorporate writing advice from writing experts to suggest practical ways to improve our own romance narratives, and to find effective ways of writing our lives following a model of writing as seduction that overcomes skepticism.

Jennifer Crusie: Respondent

"If you like the classics; or, how to recommend romance to literature snobs in your library."
10:30-11:30am, Wednesday, July 15

During this interactive presentation, Sarah Frantz and Pamela Regis, both English professors and scholars of popular romance, will discuss the history of popular romance as found in canonical literature. BUT! they will be joined by best-selling historical author and recovering academic, Sabrina Jeffries!

Topics of discussion will include:
  • A structural definition of romance.
  • The history of the conventions of the genre through the rise of the novel during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
  • The evolution of the romantic heroine through canonical domestic fiction to popular romance.
  • The evolution of the romantic hero through canonical literature writ large to popular romance.
We will use Jane Austen as the primary canonical author who embodies all that is perfect about popular romance, examining the innovations she made in genre conventions and in her construction of her heroes and heroines. We will then trace her innovations through twentieth-century and modern popular romance, making suggestions along the way of specific romance authors to recommend to library patrons.

We will hand out an annotated list of recommendations of classic literature and their popular romance descendants.

We all hope you can join us there! Can't wait to go to my first RWA.


  1. These sessions sound as though they'll be really interesting, and fun too.

    I'm sorry I won't be there. Will you be, if not live-blogging, at least putting up a summary of each of them at TMT afterwards? I for one would really, really appreciate it if you could.

    I'm also curious now. I think you mentioned once that you've been trying your hand at writing fiction, and on Jessica Van Slooten's page at the Michigan State University website it says that "Jessica enjoys baking, hiking, and writing her own romance novel." Is Pamela Regis going to reveal that she's writing fiction too?

  2. Sarah -- Congratulations! Those sound like wonderful topics. For the first time, I actually kind of wish I were going to the RWA.

    Laura -- That really does leave only two of us in romanceland who haven't tried our hand at writing a romance novel. I'm starting to feel like an outcast! do I love romance enough? Clearly I'm just not there yet.

  3. I think Pam's mentioned that she tried but failed utterly and happily leaves that to real fiction authors. I finished a romance when I was sixteen but have had trouble finishing anything since! ;) So I don't really count myself as a fiction author, just a "writer" of academic stuff.

    And yes, I'll be blogging about it! Don't worry about that. And Twittering.

  4. That sounds fantastic! And you've got to love the Jane Austen... "perfect" example, hm? Sounds about right to me. :)

  5. I'm so excited to attend my first RWA too, and really thrilled to be in an environment where I can be both an academic/lit critic and a wannabe romance novel writer. I have two 150+ page manuscripts with gaping plot holes and partial character development...

    My updated info, Laura, is at

    I plan on blogging the event too, whether at my professional blog (see above) or my personal one. I haven't decided but will let y'all know.

  6. We've got two Dr Jessica's on this thread now. Thanks for the link Dr Jessica LVS!

    If, nearer the time, you want to let me know what you've decided about blogging the event, you can email me via my website and I'll put up a link here at TMT. Of course, Sarah will actually be at RWA, as well as blogging here, and she's more than capable of adding a link to your blog, so don't feel you have to email me personally.

    I'm sure these are going to be really interesting panels and I'm looking forward to reading all about them.

  7. No problem, Laura! I'll keep you posted about my blogging plans:)

  8. OOh, good. I'm especially interested in "How to sell romance to snobby librarians." Er--I mean, recommend...

    But YES, I want to come to this one.

  9. The workshops sound delightful, especially "If you like the classics...". I'll be sure to attend at least one.

    FYI - I've posted a link on my blog.