Category: Writing Tips

First Chapter Needs from Harlequin Editors

A few years ago Harlequin editors created  a little checklist about effective first chapters. We don’t literally fill them out these days, but most of us keep them in mind. Here are some of the points we raised… Is the characterization strong and vivid? Do the characters make decisions? Are the characters appealing? Is the motivation established…

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Make a Date with Desire: Desire editor roundtable

Turns out, you can judge a book by its cover. In August, Harlequin Desire has a new cover look, and the stories are getting bolder, too. SYTYCW will be checking in with Desire all month, starting today with a Desire editor roundtable. Watch our video introduction, and read the full transcript of the discussion that…

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Romance Writing 101: Planning Your Story

This post is republished from the So You Think You Can Write archives from 2016, written by former Presents Editorial Assistant, Grace Thiele. Well hello there! Today I’m writing to you all with rare London sunshine streaming through the windows, so I hope that wherever you’re reading this, you’re enjoying beautiful springtime weather! This time…

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Romance Writing 101: Where do you start?

This post is republished from the So You Think You Can Write archives from 2016, written by former Presents Editorial Assistant, Grace Thiele. Hello! Before we embark on this adventure of romantic writing advice, I’d like to introduce myself. My name is Grace Thiele (pronounced Tea-Luh, thank you kindly), and I am the new Editorial…

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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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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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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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