Friday, 14 February 2014
Top Tips for Writing Romance
Written by Hannah Fielding, author of The Echoes of Love
Before you begin writing1. Get in the mood. Dial up the romance in your life! Conjure up dreamy heroes as you do the housework. Cook a candlelit dinner for your other half and get lost in the moment. Take a friend to see a romantic movie at the cinema. Live and breathe the genre. (The one caveat: don’t read too many romance novels while writing one, in case you fall into the trap of accidentally borrowing from another author.)
2. Find ‘The Big Idea’. Look for a spark that will ignite a fire. You need a story that you love, love, and that readers will similarly adore.
3. Research in depth. Romance isn’t fantasy – romance is real! So ground your writing in fact and detail. Travel to the settings of the book. Bury yourself in the culture. People-watch in cafés to create believable characters. Make the love story so tangible that your reader can see it, smell it, taste it, hear it… feel it.
4. Plan the book. A character in the grip of romance may have her head in the clouds; that doesn’t mean a romance author can! Just as in any other genre, a romance story needs focus and direction and structure – all achieved through careful planning.
When you’ve completed your first draft5. Edit. Take off your writer’s hat and don your editor’s one. Then go through your manuscript carefully. I know that it will break your heart to delete even one word you spent time agonising over, but often less is more.
6. Seek feedback. Set up a beta reading group: ask people you trust, such as family members or friends, to read and comment on the book. Make sure the readers know the romance genre well so that their opinion is informed. Be open to their ideas, and especially to encouragement.
7. Edit again.
8. Take a time out. Put the manuscript aside and revisit it at a later date, ideally a few weeks later. Now when you re-read it you’re a little more detached and you have a fresh eye and perspective. Typos, inconsistencies, slow pacing – these issues and many more jump out at you.
9. Edit again!
Finally…10. Share your book. If your dream is that other people will read and enjoy your book, then at a certain point you have to let go of polishing it and put it out there into the world, whether through seeking a publisher or publishing it independently. Have confidence in yourself and your writing, and remember that the romance market is huge: there’s room for you!
Hannah Fielding’s second novel The Echoes of Love a sweeping romance set in Venice is out now. For more information visit Hannah’s website www.hannahfielding.net or buy your copy online here