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Monday, October 5, 2009

Writing Christian Romance

Hello Fellow Writers!

Sorry I'm putting this up so late today, I was having technical difficulties. I won't bore you with them but suffice to say I couldn't post a new blog till now. Grrr.

Yesterday I put my revisions for "The Movie Star's Very Personal Assistant" into the computer and emailed them to my Advanced Writing Class, who liked them. I didn't do any plotting for "Snowed in With a Millionaire". I know, I know, what is wrong with me? The good news is that I now have a real deadline - I need to have this outline finished by the end of October because I have to write the whole novel in the month of November! Yes, you heard me. I'll be participating in NaNoWriMo this year.

Now, you're probably wondering what a good Jewish girl like me is doing blogging about writing Christian Romance. But maybe you're interested in writing inspirational romance that's faith based. I like the idea since I consider myself very spiritual and even a bit religious (Jewish though of course) but my understanding is they really want you to be Christian to write for them. One of the interesting things about writing inspirational romance is they have extremely specific rules that must be followed. Here is what Steeple Hill requires, from eHarlequin.com:


Mission Statement
Steeple Hill’s fiction program features wholesome Christian entertainment that will help women to better guide themselves, their families and other women in their communities toward purposeful, faith-driven lives.
Length: 55,000–60,000 words
Executive Editor: Joan Marlow Golan
Senior Editor in charge of line: Melissa Endlich
Senior Editor: Tina James
Assistant Editor: Emily Rodmell
Editorial Assistant: Sarah McDaniel
Editorial office: New York
Heartwarming Inspirational Romance
The Love Inspired line is a series of contemporary, inspirational romances that feature Christian characters facing the many challenges of life and love in today's world.
Each story should have an emotional, satisfying and mature romance; however, the characters should not make love unless they are married. These are "sweet" romances. Any physical interactions (i.e., kissing, hugging) should emphasize emotional tenderness rather than sexual desire or sensuality. Please avoid any mention of nudity.
All stories should focus on one hero and heroine who meet as early in the book as possible. The hero and heroine should be on the page together in the first chapter—the first page is even better. By the end of the story the main characters should be in a committed relationship.
In addition, we are looking for opening chapters that are compelling and grab the reader’s attention from the first line of the story. Some ways to create effective openings are to employ dialogue, keep paragraphs short, or open with a dramatic situation. Ineffective openings tend to occur when there is little or no dialogue or the author focuses on background and setup (e.g., heroine is in a car/bus/train/plane, reviewing the reasons why she is returning to or leaving her hometown).
Drama, humor and even a touch of mystery all have a place in the series. Foul language, taking the Lord’s name in vain, euphemisms for curses (heck, darn, gosh) and scenes containing violent content do not. Any subplots should come directly from the main story. Secondary characters (children, family, friends, neighbors, fellow church members, etc.) can also help contribute to a substantial and gratifying story. Stories should be in the third person. Stories can have international settings, though the main characters should be North American.
An element of faith must be present in the books, and should be well-integrated into the plot. The conflict between the main characters should be an emotional one, arising naturally from the story. And the progression of the story must incorporate the faith journey of hero and heroine, whether struggling to accept faith or simply being active members of their church community. By the end of the story, hero and heroine must be both believers and members of a church community.
Because Steeple Hill sells to both CBA and ABA bookstores, we must adhere to CBA conventions. The stories may not include alcohol consumption by Christian characters, card playing, gambling or games of chance (including raffles), explicit scatological terms, hero and heroine remaining overnight together alone, Halloween celebrations, magic or the mention of intimate body parts. Lying is also problematic in the CBA market and characters who are Christian should avoid lying or deceiving others. Exceptions can be made but must be approved by an editor.
We are looking for authors writing from a Christian worldview and conveying their personal faith and ministry values in entertaining fiction that will touch the hearts of believers and seekers everywhere.



See, I'm not sure I'd be able to convey my "ministry values". Plus I love sexual tension in stories, and that's a big no-no here.


Yesterday DH and I saw the movie "Surrogates" with Bruce Willis. It was good - it kinda made me want a surrogate...

Today I will work on "Snowed In With A Millionaire". Wish me luck and good luck to you too!

Yours Truly,
Shoshanna Evers

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