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Friday, October 9, 2009

What Harlequin Wants

Hello Fellow Writers!

Yesterday I became obsessed with figuring out exactly how much money I owe in student loans (way too much), and while the process of figuring it out is ongoing today, I basically didn't do anything for my work in progress yesterday. I know, I know. How am I going to write a whole novel in a month for NaNoWriMo if I keep procrastinating on getting my plot together?

Today I wanted to post on here for your reading pleasure what Harlequin wants from it's romance authors, according to eHarlequin.com:

Before you put finger to keyboard, preparation is key:
Know and respect your readers—choose the most recent novels and read widely across the romance market. Then target the series/genre that excites you and suits your voice.
Innovate, don’t imitate! There is no formula—only a format, as with all genre fiction, which allows room for creative expression, unique writing voices and memorable characters. So throw those clich├ęs out the window!
Romancing the reader: why we ♥ the perfect romance :
I ♥ my characters: At the heart of all great romances are two strong, appealing, sympathetic and three-dimensional characters.
I ♥ my conflict: Emotional, character-driven conflict is the foundation of a satisfying romance. Conflict spawns tension and excitement.
There are two types of conflict: internal and external:
Internal conflict should be the writer’s main focus: defined by either character—the opposing forces within a personality, motivations and aspirations—or by an emotional situation within a relationship—for example, an unexpected pregnancy or an arranged marriage.
External conflict should only be brought in as additional support to the developing romance and plot. External conflict is defined by misunderstandings, circumstances or a secondary character’s influence.
Check that your conflict is believable and that it can be sustained over the course of a whole book—ideally two or three conflicts that unfold and are resolved in the course of the story work best. Conflict doesn’t mean endless arguments; layer it with emotional highs and lows. All the best stories have stormy weather and sunny days.
I ♥ dialogue! It’s the key tool to giving life, energy and pace to your writing. Great dialogue can propel your story; bad dialogue can grind it to a halt. Remember to keep it relevant and consistent to your characters.
I :( secondary characters. Use with caution! You’re writing a romance—readers are interested in your hero and heroine so keep the focus on them.
How to keep your spirits up:
• We receive thousands of submissions so competition is tough. If the writing does not show potential a standard response will be sent—this is the case with most submissions.
• If you do receive feedback it is intended constructively and is a vital part of the writing process. Take time to digest any criticism, then apply it to your next submission.
What we want in a nutshell…
• Talented, dedicated authors who are savvy about the romance genre and its readers.
• Unique, fresh voices, compelling characters and innovative stories that will keep readers turning the pages!

So there ya have it. Good advice. Today I am going to continue my personal quest of obsessing about things that have nothing to do with writing, along with actually getting some writing done. Can I hear an Amen?
Wish me luck and good luck to you too!
Yours Truly,
Shoshanna Evers

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