Category: Writing

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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Advice from the Archives: How to Spot Problem Areas in Your Story

It happens to everyone. You have a polished piece of work in front of you, but you feel something isn’t quite right. Maybe you should go over it one more time. Maybe the editor will love it even though you kind of don’t. Does love matter if your book has great potential to sell? That’s…

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Dear Editor, The heroine of my story is annoying. Please help!

Dear Editor, The heroine of my story is annoying. She has a good job, she’s nice to others, but I don’t really like her. Please help! –Cynthia Dear Cynthia, The annoying heroine can be a difficult issue for the romance writer—and reader. Perhaps your heroine is too perfect or you don’t know her well enough.…

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#WritingChallenge! Bring your scene to life with the five senses

By Deirdre Whether your romance is set in a dangerous, dust-choked rodeo or the luxury of a boutique hotel, your ability to vividly evoke the characters’ experience is essential for the reader to believe your hero and heroine are real people – and to care about what happens to them. One of the best ways…

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Dear Editor, how do I create a flawed character?

Dear Editor, How can I write a flawed character while keeping the readers’ sympathy? Thanks, Sandra   Dear Sandra, Ensuring your readers sympathise with your characters is an essential tool in getting them to invest their time and believe in the romance. However, that doesn’t mean your characters have to be perfect. In fact, those…

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Born to be Bad: Horrible bosses, evil exes, and other romance villains

By Adrienne Macintosh, Editor, Harlequin Blaze and American Romance   What type of Harlequin villain are you? Take our quiz and see which beloved Harlequin villain you could be. We’ve played up some of our reader’s favorite villainous storylines, and while they’re favorites to us, too, now we’re looking for how they might be twisted…

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A Family Romance: Babies, children and other supporting players

By Julia Williams, Editor, Medical Romance Babies, children and family – what have they got to do with romance? Well, quite a lot actually! Although you should always, always keep in mind that the main focus of your story is the romance between your hero and heroine, having children and babies as part of the…

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Say it with Style: How to write great dialogue

By Rhonda Helms, Carina Editor We’re all aware that dialogue is a vital part of a story. We get to know characters, learn key information about the plot, snicker at jokes, cringe from awkward confessions, and even swoon with romantic lines. Nailing dialogue in your manuscript can help you hook an editor, fast. Here are…

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The Black Moment: How to raise the romantic stakes before the HEA

By Patience Bloom, Senior Editor, Harlequin Romantic Suspense What is a black moment? In a romance novel, the black moment occurs when the hero and heroine lose all hope in love. Their lives might be in danger, too, or another crisis might wrench them apart. But the main issue is that their happily-ever-after may not…

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