Category: Writing

Harlequin Refresh: Romance plot cliches

Harlequin editors read a lot of romance books. Sometimes a scene idea or plot twist that seems fresh to a new author is actually one we’ve read many times. And that’s not surprising. When starting a new creative venture, it’s natural to emulate artists whom you admire, including aspects of their “voice” – word choice,…

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Harlequin REFRESH: Character cliches

Character clichés. Archetypes. Stock characters. We encounter them in every genre—the mad scientist, the femme fatale, the high school jock, that geek with acne. There are millions of stories out in the world today, so of course we’re going to encounter similar people from time to time. One thing is certain, though: a reader needs…

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Harlequin REFRESH Writing Challenge: Replace the cliche

On Tuesday we wrote about freshening your narrative voice by eliminating clichés. Easier said than done! Sometimes a cliché seems to express what you want to say perfectly. So how do replace the perfect words with more perfect ones? Here are some questions to ask yourself: What’s my character’s motivation?          …

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Harlequin REFRESH! Talking “voice” with A.C. Arthur

  Award-winning author A.C. Arthur graciously agreed to answer our questions about voice in romance writing! How did you know when you’d found your voice? For years after I became published I heard about an author’s “voice”. I had no clue what that meant. All I knew was that I had a story idea, so…

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Freshen your voice with Harlequin REFRESH!

Do you have New Year’s writing resolutions? Are you ready to freshen your voice? Want tips on writing with authenticity, originality and passion? Welcome to Harlequin REFRESH! on the So You Think You Can Write blog. Each week in January we’ll feature posts by editors and authors on the theme of voice in romance writing.…

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Dear Editor, I don’t know where to start my romance novel!

Every now and then, we like to revisit some of our classic blog posts, which are still helpful (we hope). From our Advice from the Archives… Dear Editor, I don’t know where to start my romance novel! Help! Leah Dear Leah, Never fear! You’re not alone in this quandary. Sometimes, a writer will pen several…

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Advice from the Archives: Secondary Characters, Get Outta Here!

Ever read a book that felt like it was fighting a battle called the Invasion of the Secondary Characters? Where the main characters couldn’t get a word in edgewise, let alone live their lives or fall in love or accomplish anything exciting due to being overshadowed by other, less-important characters who think they’re running the…

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Good Pacing, Better than a Solid Pair of Spanx

Truth: Anything that is written has a pace. Just like anything in motion has a pace. And it is always being noticed and taken in—maybe not consciously, yet pacing is still ever-important in anything from an email to assembly instructions to a novel. With instructional types of writing, like how to assemble something, the steps…

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Advice from the Archives: Creating Backstory

Today’s Advice from the Archives post, for Harlequin editor Grace Thiele, who offers tips on working backstory into your romance without the dreaded “Info-dump!” Harlequin editors are used to working out the use of backstory with authors. What they want is exciting on-page interaction between the hero and heroine and for that excitement to be focused…

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Make a Date with Desire: Meet Desire Author Charlene Sands!

USA TODAY bestselling author Charlene Sands shares her tips on writing a wealthy Western. In her own words… They say write what you know, so what does a city girl know about cowboys and ranches and horses?  Well, when I started out my love of the American West included both historical and modern day cowboys…

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