Category: Writing Tips

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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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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Good Pacing, Better than a Solid Pair of Spanx

Truth: Anything that is written has a pace. Just like anything in motion has a pace. And it is always being noticed and taken in—maybe not consciously, yet pacing is still ever-important in anything from an email to assembly instructions to a novel. With instructional types of writing, like how to assemble something, the steps…

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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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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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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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Advice from the Archives: Creating Backstory

Today’s Advice from the Archives post, for Harlequin editor Grace Thiele, who 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 and heroine and for that excitement to be focused…

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Romance Writing 101: Give Your Characters Conflict!

This week, we wanted to bring out one of our former colleagues Grace Thiele’s posts, one which gives you some excellent advice on how to intensify conflict! Perfect especially for those who are contemplating submitting to our #RomanceIncludesYou blitz! Good afternoon, turtle doves! Today I am feeling decidedly conflicted about London weather – relieved that it is…

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The Who 101: Creating Memorable Characters

If the clothes make the man, then characters make the story. If you don’t have fleshed-out, fully-realized, believable characters, you don’t have much of a book, no matter how earth-shatteringly great the prose may be. Just think of your favorite book from childhood or adolescence. Perhaps you were (still are) a great devourer of anything written by Jane…

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Make a Date with Desire: Jessica Lemmon Talks about Rejection

Rooting for Rejection by Jessica Lemmon No matter what stage of your writing career you’re in, no one likes to hear the word “no.” From newbies to seasoned, every author gets rejected on projects. As much as it stings, especially in the early stages, I encourage you to celebrate each and every “no” you hear.…

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