Ready, Set, Write!—A SYTYCW Advice Round-Up

As our loyal readers know, we’ve been doing this for a very long time. This blog contains years of posts (and incredible comments), but with so much good stuff it can be tricky to search through our entire backlog. With our Romance Includes You mentorship submissions closing next week, we thought now would be the perfect time to create this resource for hopeful writers everywhere! (If you’ve already submitted to the mentorship — don’t panic! These posts are just guidelines. We’re not looking for a perfect story right off the bat.)

Below we have some of our best blog posts on creating amazing characters, managing story and plot, establishing compelling conflict, and even a few on writing that perfect love scene.

CHARACTERS

Advice from the Archives: Creating Memorable Characters

This throwback from the SYTYCW blog should be the go-to read for writers who want the basics on bringing your characters to life.

How to Create Leap-Off-The-Page Characters

Dare author Stefanie London provides a few tips on writing heroes and heroines who grab readers and refuse to let them go!

Romance 101: Secondary Characters

Romances are all about the hero and heroine, but they can’t be surrounded by cardboard cutouts! Give your secondary characters their own lives!

Romance Writing 101: Describing Your Hero and Heroine

Looks aren’t everything, but are they important? You know it! Find out how to help readers see your couple without the help of a front cover.

PLOT & STORY

Plot 101: Let’s Talk About Plot

Your main goal is a happily-ever-after, but how are your hero and heroine supposed to get there? Follow these three tips to find out!

Plot 102: Romance Tropes: Fab or Drab?

Any seasoned romance reader can recognize a trope in an instant. The fact is that they work, but how can you utilize them to their greatest effect?

The Plot Thickens…or How I Came to Like Fish

Romantic Suspense editor Patience Bloom shares a bit about her personal life and the importance of noticeable change when it comes to plot.

Good Pacing, Better than a Solid Pair of Spanx

Pacing: it’s not just what you do when you’re dealing with a serious case of writer’s block! Learn how good pacing can (and will) support your plot.

Harlequin Refresh! Bringing Scenes to Life!

Each finished draft requires a bit of freshening up, and this blog post delves into how to go scene-by-scene and inject a little oomph into them.

CONFLICT

Make Them Suffer: Why Conflict Is Necessary

Special Edition editor Susan Litman lays out just why conflict is so important, not just in romance novels but in all entertainment.

Advice From the Archives: Internal vs External Conflict

A throwback to a blog post exploring internal and external conflict, and which one is an absolute must for your couple!

How Do You Raise the Stakes in Romance?

We don’t publish horror, but our heroes and heroines still need to face their very real fears of losing what’s important to them (and so should yours)!

The Black Moment: What Is It, Why Do You Need It and How Can You Make It Powerful?

Love Inspired editor Shana Asaro talks about “the black moment,” the obstacle that both hero and heroine must hurdle on their path to true love.

Advice from the Archives: Beefing Up Black Moments

What makes a truly devastating black moment? It can be so hard to hurt your couple, but it will make your happily-ever-after that much better!

HOT STUFF

Avoiding the “Ick” Factor: How to Write Sex Scenes that Draw the Reader in and Add to Your Plot

A helpful primer on how to avoid penning sex scenes that turn readers off, with a few authors chiming in with their own writing advice!

Advice from the Archives: Sexy, Sensual or Sweet?

Executive editor Kathleen Scheibling is here to shine a spotlight on our many different series and their corresponding heat levels.

Author Confessions: How Do You Prepare to Write a Sexy Love Scene?!

Six Harlequin Presents authors come together to give you a little insight on just how they write some of the steamiest scenes on the shelves!


Tune back in on Friday for a fabulous post on building a compelling character from the ground up written by Superromance author Vicki Essex!

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