Category: Writing Opportunities

Writing Challenge: Set Them Up

By Deirdre McCluskey, Administrative Coordinator, Harlequin Series My favourite romantic comedy of 2018, bar none, was the Netflix movie, Set It Up. It’s clever, funny, sweet and romantic, and the chemistry between leads Zoey Deutch and Glen Powell is absolutely wonderful. If you haven’t watched Set It Up (and even if you have), I urge…

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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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Writing Challenge: A Dreadful Scene

by Deirdre McCluskey Our list of 7 Spooky Romances to Watch This Halloween reminded me of a favourite fiction genre, the gothic romance. Gothic romances build suspense through setting, atmosphere and characterization, often employing first person point of view to heighten that chilling sense of isolation and confusion felt by an outsider introduced to a…

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Writing Challenge: The Inciting Moment

by Deirdre McCluskey On Wednesday we published a Harlequin Romance Glossary, with terms editors use when talking about romance novels. (If you haven’t read it yet, check it out.) One definition you might not have heard frequently is the inciting moment: “The scene or situation that throws your hero and heroine together and gets those…

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Writing Challenge: Best Buddies

By Deirdre McCluskey For our last writing challenge we talked about frenemies. Another favourite secondary character in romance is the hero’s best friend. And, no, we don’t mean this kind.   The best friend can be a foil for the hero, highlighting his “hero” qualities by showing his somewhat more “regular” friend. Or he can…

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Writing Challenge: Frenemies

by Deirdre McCluskey This week we’ve been talking about secondary characters. One of my favourite character types is the “frenemy”. Sometimes the frenemy is just an enemy that the main character must tolerate politely. But the frenemy role I enjoy is the irritating friend who creates friction in practically every scene. The friction might be…

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Romance Writing 101: Hooks and Themes

Another in our crash course series of instructive posts, this one by former colleague Grace Thiele, who revs up our enthusiasm with some info on hooks and themes… Hello, dearest authors! This week in an extremely wind-swept London, I’ll be writing about how to blow editors away with thrilling new takes on … bestselling themes…

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Make a Date with Desire: Partnering Up

Longtime critique partners USA TODAY bestselling author Cathy Mann and Joanne Rock met up at the RWA national conference in Denver to discuss how the arrangement has worked for them, particularly as their Desire stories have evolved with more complex subplots. Check out this adorable video!

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#RomanceIncludesYou: Submit to Harlequin!

Harlequin is the home of romance, and no matter your background or community, we want to hear your love stories! If you’re a writer from a community you feel is under-represented when you browse the bookshelves for romance, and think you could write for us, we want to hear from you. Whether you write an…

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Writing Challenge: What’s at stake?

In our blog post on Crafting Strong Openings, one of our tips was to establish the stakes for one of your characters in a provocative opening line with the “tell-all” method. Our example was: “He needed a pregnant woman – and fast.” This example is succinct, amusing, and intriguing! It establishes the hero’s goal, but…

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