15 things I learned from… Allison Brennan

15 Things I Learned From…

Allison Brennan

Allison Brennan, RWNZ Capital Affair Conference, Aug 2013

Romance Writers of New Zealand

“A Capital Affair” Conference

23rd to 25th August 2013


NOTE: These are my own take on topics covered during Allison’s keynote talk on Saturday 24th August. Any incorrect assumptions, interpretations or slants are mine, and mine alone.

1) Get regular pedicures…. because if you ever end up lying in the morgue you don’t want your feet to look gross and disgusting ;-)

2) Your strength comes from within, not from others.

3) Even after publication you’ll get rejections.

4) You must want it enough.

5) Your voice is your story’s “promise”.

6) You can’t please everyone. So….

7) Please yourself, first. Then your editor. Then your core readership.

8) Write to your strengths.

9) Trust your instincts.

10) It’s all about the story.

11) If the rules fit your story follow them. Otherwise, throw them out.

12) Prologues, flashbacks, adverbs, telling (instead of showing) — all those rules we’re told not to break — they’re all perfectly okay if they work!

13) You’re grown-ups. You’ve read lots of books. You’re smart. So tell the story, protect your voice, trust yourself.

14) Don’t think you can write; KNOW you can write.

15) If you’re a writer, then write!

And why are there “only” 15 things listed instead of 20?

Not because I didn’t learn learn a whole heap more things from Allison. More that the things I learned are personal attributes — like, she’s got a great sense of humor, a warm heart, and doesn’t stand on ceremony. And she’s got a wonderful way of making people feel at ease when they’ve had a brain-fade moment and done something a bit embarrassing. (Ask me how I know this!)

So yeah, I could easily list another 5 things, but I also suspect she’d be horribly embarrassed by my fangirly-ness. So I’ll leave it at 15 “official” things… and fondly remember the rest for a very long time to come :)



Be Sociable, Share!

Related Posts

4 Responses to “15 things I learned from… Allison Brennan”

  1. Hi Maree! Thank you so much for this post — I’m so thrilled you enjoyed my talk :) I had a fantastic time at RWNZ, and you and everyone else were so friendly and enthusiastic, it made ME even more excited about writing!

    • Gosh, thanks heaps for commenting, Allison! And I gotta say, I was far too busy listening hard & worrying that I’d miss something throughout your talk to take lots of notes. And so many things you said resonated with me. Got quite a few “Aha!” light bulb moments that will stay with me throughout my writing career. So THANK YOU!

      And DD is chuffed to bits (i.e. thrilled!) with the reading list courtesy of your daughter. We’re going to track down the books as soon as she gets through her exams — I don’t dare get them sooner or she’ll be reading instead of studying *g*

  2. Shirey Wine says:


    Thanks so much for sharing… I have copied your posts into my craft folder so I can go back at any time and review them…so many of things you’ve highlighted resonate with me. I have been a fan of Allison’s for many years … so I’m off to book a pedicure!!!