Do You Have to Get to I Love You? [REPOST]

~ By Julia Kelly One of the cardinal rules of romance is that a story has to end with a happily ever after. But does that mean a couple has to say, “I love you,” at the end of every romance? Maybe not. It’s a question I asked myself when I wrote “Seduction in the Snow”. The story unfolds over a week at a ski resort. Both Evan and Lydia tell themselves that their sexy hot tub encounters are just a vacation fling. Lydia is particularly tough to sell on the idea of love. Having seen relationship after relationship fall...

Craft Books and the Creative Process

~ By Win Day Note: This post originally appeared here.  I love to watch people work. No, it’s not that I’m lazy, or that I just want to sit on the sidelines of life. But I really enjoy watching someone do something they do well. Especially when it’s something I don’t know how to do myself. It doesn’t matter what that something is. On a recent 5+ hour flight the teenaged girl next to me braided and rebraided her long straight hair maybe a dozen times, each time a little differently. Since my hair is frizzy curly and doesn’t...

First Drafts Are Supposed to be Sh**ty [REPOST]

~ By Heather Ashby As a former teacher of Gifted education, I’ve seen how perfectionism can paralyze writers. If my students were to attempt a novel, few would get past the first chapter. Following is some wisdom I’ve gathered along the way that helps me move past perfectionism to finish a first draft. If you attended Susan Elizabeth Phillips’ workshops at RWA Nationals in Atlanta, you heard the following: “For a first draft, I give you permission to throw any crap at all onto your computer screen. Don’t stop. Don’t fix it. Don’t change it. Just keep writing. You will...

Writing: POV

~ By Corrina Lawson Note: The post originally appeared here.  Yes, we can argue all day long about whether switching POV in the middle of a scene is a good idea or not. But here’s why POV is important: the way a reading is sucked into a story is that they’re seeing the world through a character’s eyes. If you swap to another pair of eyes, the reader will be disoriented and might *stop reading.* That’s bad. So feel free to head-hop as much as you want but be aware you run the risk of tossing a reader out of...

Writing romance: why perfect men make boring heroes

~ By Katie McCoach Note: This article was originally published on the Standoutbooks blog and can be viewed here: https://www.standoutbooks.com/writing-romance-perfect-men-make-boring-heroes/  Recently I was reading a promising romance novel, and then, in the midst of chapter six, I found myself placing the book face down on my kitchen table in frustration. The hero was absolutely perfect. And I was bored out of my mind. A perfect man—that sounds amazing, right? That’s what we want in a romance novel. We want our heroine to find the perfect man to live happily ever after with. Sure, it sounds nice, but it’s not exactly exciting....

Where’s Nick Berlin?

~ By Kat Drennan It all started with a phone call. Like in the Whoopee Goldberg film, Jumping Jack Flash, the phone would ring and someone would be looking for Nick Berlin. “I’m sorry, you have the wrong number.” “Are you sure?” We’d check the number, which I’d just gotten after moving to a new city in the 805. “Yes, I’m sure.” Days stretched to months as I systematically informed dozens (maybe hundreds) of people who I imagined were Nick’s friends, family, bill collectors, ex-girlfriends, ex-wives, current wives, employers, ex-employers, old buddies from high school, the FBI, the IRS,...

Using Your External Conflict as a Vehicle

~ By Susan Meier Note: This post originally appeared here.  The first three things an editor wants to see when she reads your romance novel synopsis are… What gets them together? What keeps them together? What makes staying together difficult? Questions 1 and 2, basically, should be your external conflict. But the answers to these questions shouldn’t just be “what” your external conflict is. It should show that your external conflict can drive your story.   For example… In the first scene of my June 2012 release, THE TYCOON’S SECRET DAUGHTER, (a Rita finalist btw) the hero and heroine meet...

Swear to tell the truth: Why you need this class.

Hello Everyone, If you’d like to learn even more about writing characters who find themselves involved with law enforcement or sitting in a court room, sign up for Jody’s September workshop. You can find more information and registration details here. Meanwhile, this post is a great starting point. Enjoy! ~ Jody Lebel Why do so many television shows and movies include courtroom scenes? Because people love drama.  They love to try to figure out who committed the crime.  They love the fight between right and wrong, the humor, the gut wrenching outcomes, and the struggle.   Courts tear lives apart and build...

Learning to Write Short [REPOST]

~ By Melanie Greene When we trek to Ireland every summer to spend a couple of weeks with my mother-in-law, what do my teenage sons look forward to? The gorgeous vistas, the culture and history of Dublin, Nana’s rashers and brown bread? Well, sure. They’re not ingrates. But every morning I find them lounging in Nana’s lounge, watching reruns of Friends. (Nana doesn’t have internet, much less the capacity to record shows.) So when I attended a workshop on writing novellas, and the presenter suggested we think of a novella like a sitcom, my light bulb moment wasn’t far behind. You...