154 Final - SYTYCW Boot Camp

The So You Think You Can Write Boot Camp for Writers: May 21, 2015!


Our Back to Basics Boot Camp took place online on Thursday May 21, 2015. The Harlequin editorial teams in London, New York and Toronto connected with writers for a full day of interactive events!

Boot Camp helps writers whip their manuscripts into shape for this year’s So You Think You Can Write contest. Even if you missed it, you can still check out our posts on writing basics such as plot, character and voice.

We’ll be back again on Thursday, June 18, 2015 for Boot Camp Round Two! Until then, click on the links below to see some of our archived posts and chats from our May Boot Camp.

Back to Basics Boot Camp

Thursday, May 21st, 2015

Schedule of Events


5 a.m. EST

Welcome to Boot Camp!

Welcome to SYTYCW’s 2015 Back to Basics Boot Camp for Authors! Our schedule of blogs, chats, and challenges from the Harlequin editors will help you get your very first (or next!) romance novel in top shape. Senior Executive Editor Birgit Davis-Todd kicks off today’s activities.
6 a.m. EST

Romance 101: Putting the Romance in Romance Novels

Are a love story and a romance novel the same thing? Is your hero lurking in the background while your heroine takes center stage? Has your suspense plotline taken over? Associate Editor Rachel Burkot talks about the necessary elements for a novel in the genre we call Romance.
7 a.m. EST

Author Challenge! Page One Critique: submit your first page

Are you up for today’s challenge? Send your first page in by 10 am EST today and you may be one of 5 entries chosen to receive personalized feedback this afternoon from our editors!
8 a.m. EST

Plot 101: Let’s Talk About Plot

What makes a compelling story? How do you give your romance intensity and keep the reader turning the pages? Editorial Assistant Farah Chowdhury breaks down the basics, including conflict, drama and pacing.
9 a.m. EST

Voice 101: Getting Some Perspective on First and Third Person

What point of view should you choose for your romance, and how does it affect voice? Senior Editor Kerri Buckley offers tips on 1st person POV and Editorial Assistant Nicola Caws talks about 3rd person narration, voice, head-hopping, and more.
10 a.m. EST

Harlequin 101: Which Series Is It, Anyway?

Where does your romance novel fit in the Harlequin family? Get to know the editors and what they’re looking for in this interactive Harlequin Community session spotlighting our series. Whether you write sweet, sexy, suspenseful or edgy, there’s a Harlequin series for you! You must be a registered Community user to join the conversation. Register here: https://www.harlequin.com/signin.html?mt=2&redirecturl=talk.html
11 a.m. EST

Share your inspiration: Twitter Meet & Greet

Inspiration can come from anywhere: favourite books, movies, the special people in your life, the warmth of your small-town community or the rush of a big city. Where do you get your inspiration? Share your inspirational photos and quotes with us on Twitter @sytycwglobal. And don’t forget to use the hashtag #sytycw.
1. p.m. EST

Character 101: Building Complex, Interesting, Memorable Characters

At the heart of a great romance are characters we can relate to and fall in love with. How do you choose your characters – or do they choose you? Superromance author Vicki Essex talks about writing diverse, memorable and fully-realized characters.
2. p.m. EST

Author Challenge! Page One Critique: results

Challenge results are in! Our first-page critiques will give you the editorial insights you need to hook your readers from Page One! Click on the event link to see the results!
3. p.m. EST

Wrapping It Up: Twitter Party!

Thanks for joining us today! We hope you’re feeling energized, inspired and ready to take on SYTYCW 2016 with your best book ever! We’ll have even more great activities at our online conference in September! Meet the team and your fellow authors and share your thoughts on Twitter @sytycwglobal with the hashtag #sytycw

Our 2014 SYTYCW Contest Winner—and
THE CALL from Harlequin!

2014 So You Think You Can Write winner

Amanda CinelliEvery author dreams about getting THE CALL from an editor. Listen in as Harlequin editor Carly Byrne calls Amanda Cinelli, author of Resisting the Sicilian Playboy, to let her know she is the grand prize winner of the Ultimate Author’s Publishing Prize!

Amanda signed a two-book contract with Harlequin Presents, and her contest-winning book will be available digitally (for 1 month only) on Valentine’s Day, February 14, 2015 and in print October 2015.

As part of her publishing contract Amanda will celebrate her success in style with a complimentary champagne dinner for two! She’ll enjoy the expertise of an in-house publicist complete with social media training and tips. Amanda will meet the Series Creative team charged with launching her debut book and will continue to develop her career with Harlequin editor Carly Byrne.

Amanda’s love of romance was born after “borrowing” one of her mother’s beloved Harlequin Mills & Boon novels at the age of twelve. A penchant for writing soon developed as an outlet for her wildly overactive imagination.

Amanda described the excitement of getting the call: “When my phone rang I was in a busy play centre surrounded by screaming children,” she said. “After escaping to a quiet hallway and hearing Carly and Sharon announce that I had won, I was just overwhelmed with shock and awe.”

“I’ve always dreamed of seeing my name on a book jacket, and I’m getting giddy just thinking about it! This is such a major turning point in my life, a new career doing something I absolutely love. It’s a dream come true.”

Resisting the Sicilian PlayboyResisting the Sicilian Playboy’s memorable opening scene was what hooked editor Carly Byrne: the heroine, Dara, is straddling the second floor balcony of an exclusive Milan nightclub in six inch designer heels! “I wondered how she got there – and how was she going to get out? I was compelled to read on,” explained Carly.

Carly loved the rest of the book as much as the opening. “Dara is a sparky and likeable heroine and her hero Leo is true Harlequin Presents hero – alpha, commanding and gorgeous! Amanda has a fresh and exciting voice that is well suited to the Harlequin Presents series.”

Follow Amanda on Twitter: @AmandaSofia89

Would you love to get such a call from Harlequin?

Watch this space for news on the 2015 So You Think You Can Write online conference and contest. Start working on your story today!

Do you dream of publishing the next great romance with Harlequin?

Our editors flagged several exciting contest entries from this year’s contest. They’ll be contacting many of those writers to offer feedback or request revisions.

In the meantime, review our guidelines at www.harlequin.com/guidelines, read what we publish and target the series that’s right for you. You can submit a manuscript to the editors by reviewing the submission policies on the guideline pages.

If you missed this year’s conference, you can find all the archived posts, live chats, blogs and more on www.sytycw.com. For even more advice for writers, visit www.harlequin.com and listen to podcasts from our editors and established authors, or join our Harlequin Community Boards to keep in touch with your fellow writers, our authors and our editors.

Need more inspiration? Check out the SOLD! blog for news and updates on all our publishing programs.

Follow us on Twitter: @sytycwglobal, hashtag: #sytycw14. Check out @HarlequinBooks, @millsandboonUK and @millsandboonAUS for other updates from our international offices.

Follow us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/SoYouThinkYouCanWrite.