Category: Writing Challenge

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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Writing Challenge: A Royal Proposal

The royal wedding is fast approaching, and some of us are gearing up for tea, scones and fascinators (and pyjamas if we’re in North America) to watch the festivities on May 19. So what better time than now for a royal romance challenge? In 2-5 paragraphs, give us your most romantic royal proposal: contemporary or…

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Writing challenge: Let’s use the five senses!

By Deirdre McCluskey, Administrative Coordinator, Harlequin Series Many of you are preparing your submission for the Harlequin Dare Blitz which opens next Monday. Harlequin Dare is our sexiest series, featuring stories that focus on how the romance develops through the couple’s physical relationship. As we said in our post, “The Key to Writing Red-Hot Romance”,…

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#WritingChallenge: Critique this cover letter!

By Deirdre McCluskey, Administrative Assistant, Editorial You’ve written a book? Congrats! That’s quite an accomplishment. Now comes the challenge of selling it to an editor. You need a synopsis, your manuscript, and . . . a cover letter. (Gulp!) No editor would reject a fantastic manuscript because of a weak cover letter, but why not…

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#Writing Challenge: What’s your take on the Fake Relationship?

This week we had a great Top Ten list on reasons to love the fake relationship romance from Editorial Assistant Megan Broderick. Number ten on her list is “Unique Spin”. It can be tough coming up with new ways to spin favourite tropes. And that’s your challenge this week! Show your heroine proposing a fake…

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#WritingChallenge: Find your voice

By Deirdre McCluskey, Harlequin Series This week we’ve been talking about voice. Difficult to define, yet unmistakable when you see it, your romance voice is an expression of your point of view. It affects word choice, characters, and plot, and makes the story uniquely yours. But in order for your voice to be heard, you…

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