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  • Louise Fuller

5 tips on writing romance

Writing a romance novel can be a daunting, time consuming process. Every stage from initial idea to final manuscript has moments when it seems like your time would be far better spent buying shoes or watching 80’s music videos.

And why bother anyway? It’s a hugely competitive market so you might as well just give up and watch EastEnders…

I know just how you feel. I felt exactly like that two years ago when I was struggling to get my first book accepted by Mills & Boon. But getting your romantic novel published is not just a fantasy. It is an achievable goal. The proof? I have just finished the synopsis for my fifth book.

So to celebrate, I thought I’d give you five of my top tips to help get you started.

1- Read as many romances as you can. And make a pile of those you love, and those you don’t. Try and work out what it is you like and don’t like. Is it the writing style? The plot? The characters?

Get a marker pen or some of those fluorescent sticky notes and highlight the bits you like. I found that really helpful.

2- Make sure you write for the right series. By that I mean write the books you like to read. If you enjoy reading about doctors finding passion and love then write medical romances. I like larger than life Alpha heroes- billionaires with sexy and sophisticated stamped all through them like a stick of rock. So that’s what I write.

3- Read a guide to writing romance.  Okay, they do point out the obvious- don’t have too many secondary characters, conflict needs to be internal NOT external etc. But they are really useful. Try and think of them as being a bit like the ‘pirate’s code’, not rules but guidelines.They really help if like me you’re one of these people who need telling. And then need telling again.

Personally I would give a huge thumbs up to Kate Walker’s excellent 12 Point Guide to Writing Romance or A Straightforward Guide to Writing Romantic Fiction. Both are written in an easy to read style, and immensely practical with something to write about sections at the end of every chapter.

The example synopsis is worth the cover price alone.

4-Be brave. Let somebody else read your work. It can be your partner, a friend. Or another writer, if you know one. If not, another option, is to send your manuscript in to the Romantic Novelists’ Association (RNA). They run a new writers’ scheme every year details of which can be found on their website.

I didn’t do it myself but I’ve spoken to writers who have and they really rated it.

5-Set aside a part of the day when you can write WITHOUT INTERRUPTION. That means you keep your phone on silent, you don’t read texts or even answer the front door. I have six children and three dogs and personally I like to get up early before they do. At least that way I can write without somebody asking me where are my shoes/lunchbox/homework/planner etc. Or without dribbling all over my feet. (That’s the dogs. My children used to dribble but now they argue and leave all the lights on).

Finally write something. Anything really is better than nothing, and it might just turn into the first draft of your first published book. But don’t be afraid to junk it all. Remember writing a romance novel is like falling in and out of love. Sometimes it’s best for both of you if you say goodbye, press delete and start again.

Hope some of that is useful. And good luck.




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