Category: Writing Challenge

Writing Challenge: Create a scene with tension!

We love secret babies in romance! But what if the hero isn’t the father? Welcome to this week’s writing challenge! In a youthful misstep, Arianna gets pregnant after a one-night stand with Charlie, a sexy and charming college classmate. She knows Charlie can’t be the father her baby needs, so she quietly leaves town to…

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Writing Challenge: A Medical Conflict

Are you thinking of submitting to the Harlequin Medical Romance Blitz? Has our Monday post from the Love Inspired team got you thinking about romantic conflict in your plot? This week’s writing challenge combines both! Dr. Hallie Bloom is new to Elizabeth Blackwell Medical Center. The pressure’s on to prove her worth and pay off…

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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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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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Writing Challenge: Create tension in your scene

This week at So You Think You Can Write we’ve been talking about how to include exposition and backstory in your book without bringing the story to a shuddering halt. But how much backstory and explanation are needed, anyway? Withholding information is an effective way to create tension – for the characters and the reader.…

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