Category: novel writing

Character 101: Building Complex, Interesting, Memorable Characters

  Read on, and don’t forget to join the conversation on Twitter by using the hashtag #sytycw. At the heart of a great romance are characters we can relate to and fall in love with. Harlequin Superromance author Vicki Essex talks about writing diverse, memorable and fully realized characters. While writers talk about goal, motivation…

Read More »


Plot 101: Let’s Talk About Plot

Read on, and don’t forget to join the conversation on Twitter by using the hashtag #sytycw. How do you give your romance novel intensity and keep the reader turning the pages? Editorial Assistant Farah Chowdhury breaks down the basics of plot. What is a plot? Plot in its most basic form is a series of…

Read More »


Author Challenge: Submit your first page!

Read on, and don’t forget to join the conversation on Twitter by using the hashtag #sytycw. Are you up for the challenge? From a great opening line to an intriguing character, snappy dialogue to an enticing setting, how will you get the editor to take notice, put down her coffee and clear her appointments for…

Read More »


The Revision Letter: Why and How to Follow it to a T

By Associate Editor Rachel Burkot Hey authors, I have a secret for you! The magical way to firmly entrench yourself in the coveted position of an editor's good graces. Ready to hear it? It's simple—just follow a revision letter to a T, and we will love you forever! Now I know what you're thinking: I…

Read More »


In Your Corner: Meet the Team of Experts Who Want Your Book to Succeed

by Dana Grimaldi @DanaGrimaldi, Assistant Editor/Editorial Assistant, Harlequin Heartwarming When Vicki Essex sat down to write her first book, Her Son's Hero, she was alone. Sure, Smartikus the cat was providing moral support, but Vicki was writing the way everyone writes, by herself, with her imagination and determination the driving force behind getting her story…

Read More »


Critique Partners: Working a Two-Way Street

By Patience Bloom, Senior Editor 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 books,…

Read More »


Good Pacing: Better Than a Solid Pair of Spanx

by Rachel Burkot, Associate Editor 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…

Read More »


Keep It Fresh!

By Johanna Raisanen, Editor, American Romance So you've written a secret-baby story and you're debating about entering this year's So You Think You Can Write contest? Well, you should! But perhaps you've been told that secret-baby stories are so cliché! I recently read an article about “the worst romance-novel clichés,” where the author lists a…

Read More »


Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, oh, oh, OH YES!

The Importance of Chemistry, by Associate Editor Pippa Roscoe There are fourteen yeses when Sally fakes her orgasm to Harry—I counted. Twice. (Much to the IT department's embarrassment.) All in the name of research I assure you! It's probably one of the most memorable film moments in romantic comedy history, and if you haven't seen…

Read More »


Attention Secondary Characters: Get a life!

By Senior Editor Victoria Curran I've had the privilege of editing longer romances in my career and, as a result, working with authors who are pretty skilled at developing wonderful, three-dimensional cameo and secondary characters, often also weaving secondary romances into their 70,000-plus-word stories. Interestingly, that secondary romance has sometimes turned out to be more…

Read More »