Category: Writing Tips

Romance 101: Starting with a bang!

From our Advice from the Archives and in tune with crafting exciting beginnings to your romances, our former SYTYCW team-mate Grace Thiele shares her top tips for grabbing a reader with your first line! One of my absolute favourite books, the incredibly romantic I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith, begins with the immortal line:…

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Advice from the Archives: Creating Backstory

On Monday Katie Gowrie gave us 5 Tips for Effortless Exposition. Today’s Advice from the Archives post from Grace Thiele 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…

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Five Tips for Effortless Exposition

By Katie Gowrie For any writer, exposition is an important aspect of what makes up their story. To be specific, exposition is simply the facts. All those details about setting, characterization and the situation. This is important info that sets up the story and tells the reader what they need to know. As Robert McKee…

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Writing Romance and #MeToo: 5 tips for authors

by Deirdre McCluskey, Administrative Coordinator, Harlequin Series Romance readers, writers and editors have been talking a lot lately about power dynamics in romance fiction in the age of #MeToo. Authors want to create a world of fantasy and escape, while depicting romantic relationships that are healthy, equitable and aspirational. In a recent article in the…

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Spot the Conflict in Romance Movies

Last week on the blog we talked about conflict. We pulled a post from our archives to review the ins and outs of internal and external conflicts, along with the top three pitfalls we see in romance submissions. If you haven’t already, we encourage you to check out this post! But don’t stop there, why…

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Harlequin Editors Know Conflicts!

Not the in-the-office stuff, of course, but how to spot a great one for a novel. Here are three tips… The Lowdown on Emotional Conflicts During our combined time at Harlequin, there’s one term we might have heard more than any other when we’ve assessed manuscripts, and that is “Emotional Conflict.” Besides searching for those fresh…

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The Harlequin Dare Blitz: A Round-Up

The Harlequin Dare Blitz wrapped on Friday, and we’re still fanning ourselves from your steamy submissions! We think it’s safe to say this writing blitz was a success. We received over 150 submissions from around the globe, including all over Europe, Australia and North America, as well as from the far reaches of Mauritius, South…

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Critique Partners: Working a Two-Way Street

From our Advice from the Archives: We editors often hear about writers getting feedback from their critique partners. Generally, we love that this relationship exists because writing needs critiquing. The “just finished” manuscript isn’t at the stage where we step in (unless it’s pure genius—and then, even we would be jealous). Sure, some people write…

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Harlequin Editors Give Some Plotting Advice!

Many years ago Harlequin’s UK office–aka Mills & Boon headquarters–ran the fabulous “New Voices” competition. The editors gave a lot of tips, and good advice never goes bad!  We’ve repurposed some of it for you… Don’t let the Plot Get In the Way of the Story…. Have you ever wondered why you can’t get your…

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