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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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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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: Imagining your characters

To encourage your participation in our #RomanceIncludesYou blitz, we have a helpful, fun post by one of our former colleagues, Grace Thiele, who discusses the art of developing your characters! In her own words… Hello possums! There will be an eensy-weensy deviation from what I promised to write about a few weeks ago (I know, I should’ve…

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Five Tips for Effortless Exposition

To get everyone motivated for our #RomanceIncludesYou writing blitz, we’re bringing this wonderful post by Katie Gowrie from our Advice from the Archives… 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…

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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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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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Advice from the Archives: How to Spot Problem Areas in Your Story

By Patience Bloom (from her blog) It happens to every romance writer. You have a polished piece of work in front of you, but you feel something isn’t quite right. Maybe you should go over it one more time. Maybe the editor will love it even though you kind of don’t. Does love matter if…

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