Last Saturday I had a great time (and learned a lot) at a workshop organised by the Birmingham Chapter of the
Sue Moorcroft came to talk to us about writing romantic novels. She gave us much good advice such as:
- Know the publisher/market you are aiming for before beginning the book and she told us that Harper Impulse are currently open to submissions.
- Have a one sentence synopsis to describe the book and also know what tone you are writing in i.e. light and frothy, grittty, tearjerker etc.
- When planning the story, avoid listing the scenes/ideas down the page. Instead use a spider diagram so that your brain is not chanelled into what happens when too soon – instead your mind can jump about and pick the most appropriate scene.
- What should you do when a story runs out of steam or you have a ‘saggy’ middle? Introduce something dramatic such as the revelation of a secret, a new character (maybe an ex-boyfriend or an illigitimate baby), a skeleton in the cupboard or anything else that will add drama to the situation.
- Keep the hero and heroine apart by giving them conflicting goals.
- The traits required of heros and heroines – they should both be decent, honest people but should have some flaws and vulnerability like the rest of us.
- A prologue (where the book lends itself to it) gives the author two chances to hook the reader (once in the prologue and once in chapter one)
- Chapter One should move the story forward. Do not clutter it with back story or scene setting.
- An epilogue can be used to prolong the reader’s feeling of happy satisfaction at the end of a book. It may be a wedding, new baby or other tieing up of loose ends.
- When writing, remember Act, React and Interact. This will make it easier to Show rather than Tell. For example the characters should react to their environment – such as squinting at the sun – rather than the author describing the sunny day.
We had a lovely buffet lunch and the whole day ran smoothly. Special mention should go to Marilyn Rodwell for her organisational skills and her doughnuts which gave us all a sugar kick first thing in the morning!
And if you’d like more of Sue’s invaluable advice take a look at her book Love Writing – How to Make Money Writing Romantic or Erotic Fiction – available in paperback or as an e-book.