JUST DESSERT: why a whole book can’t be a happy ending
Damon Suede on why characters must suffer to earn that happy ending
The trap is completely logical. If your HEA is a foregone conclusion, if everyone just wants the sweet stuff, why not cut to the chase? The purpose of escapism is, after all, escape. Why even bother with all those pesky setbacks, complications, or disappointment? Why should any character ever suffer or question themselves? Who needs waffles when what folks want is butter and syrup?
Dealing with Rejection
Tessa Shapcott on Romance University on dealing with those inevitable knockbacks.
Don’t take it personally! Make professional and positive, not personal your motto. Punch your pillow privately by all means, but publicly be graceful and remind yourself that publishing is a business, and getting published or rejected happens because a business decision is made.
Does Your Series Tell a “Bigger Story”?
Susan Spann on Romance University – them again! – about story arcs for a a series.
Successful series draw us in, engage our emotions, and leave us eagerly waiting for the characters’ next adventure. But this doesn’t happen by accident. Successful series share a number of common features designed to enhance the reader’s experience in the writer’s world. Once you understand the techniques, it’s easy to spot them in books you read—and also, to include them in your own successful series.
Two Frustrations Authors Face (That Mean GOOD Things Are Happening)
Victoria Grefer on Crimson League argues that sometimes an annoying frustration means that things are going exactly as they should.
Because of that, I thought today it could be fun to start a conversation about the “good” problems and the wonderful “frustrations” of creative writing. You know: the troubles that are indicators of good things and are unavoidable byproducts of the creative process doing what it should.
The first cut is the deepest
Matt Houlbrook on his Trickester Prince blog, about the pain and necessity of making cuts when editing.
Then there is a tipping point. Somehow the terrifying tyranny of the blank screen has become too many words. Not too many for me, you understand, but too many for a book that really works. They have to go, but it seems wrong to delete phrases and sentences that I struggled so much over. If writing is a creative endeavour, then it is hard to acknowledge a place for the destructive process of highlight plus delete.
Treva Harte, writer and publisher, on the structure of the Romance novel.
Yes, I can imagine stretching the rules or possibly, possibly breaking them at some point just like I can imagine a space opera not set in space. But you have to know what you’re doing before you attempt anything that advanced. Romance readers may not have studied romance conventions or novel structure but they know what the rules are from reading so many and they expect them to be followed. In other words, if you do break the rules, and do it with no finesse, readers are going to feel betrayed, in which case they’re not likely not buy your next book.
Crap someone should have told you writers by now
Rebecca T Dickson gives writers the straight dope.
Sometimes, you don’t need preamble. Sometimes, you need someone to give it to you straight.
This is for every writer on this whacked out planet.
• Your early work will suck.
• Your later work, in its early drafts, will still suck.
• No one cares about your writing unless you’re at (or near) the top of the New York Times bestseller list.
• Seriously. You could win the Pulitzer in literature and your friends would be, like, “Yeah, she’s writing or something boring like that. What a waste of time.”
Keeping it Simple — Guidelines for Writing Novellas
Barbara Monajem with some useful, and for me timely, advice on writing novellas.
Double duty. Since you have a limited number of words to work with, every scene must propel the story forward significantly (no frustrating baby steps). Love scenes should move the arcs of both characters forward as well as providing titillation. Re description, only put in what is necessary, and if possible, make it do double duty. For example, a description of the hero by the heroine should not only tell the reader about the hero’s physical appearance but should also reveal something about his character. Not only that, we should learn something about the heroine’s character too, because the way she perceives him shows us something about her. Triple duty – yay! You can even move the story forward with description―quadruple duty!
How to Write a Great Blurb
author Rachel Aaron on how to write blurbs and what movie loglines can teach blurb writers.
Once you understand that, you’ve taken the first step toward mastering the blurb, because blurbs, like the loglines above, aren’t there to tell the story, they’re there to sell the story. They’re meant to hook, to tease, to excite, to get whoever is reading them to want to read more. That’s it, that’s the entire point, and once you realize that, writing blurbs becomes very simple.
Pros of Writing with an Outline
Just to annoy my panster friends – fantasy writer Lana Axe on why she thinks there are no cons to writing with an outline.
I, like many authors, depend heavily upon an outline. That being said, I do not chisel my outline into a stone tablet before I begin writing. I actually start with a huge pile of jumbled notes which I’ve jotted down over the years in an attempt to weasel out a story. Eventually, I have enough notes to begin building an outline.
On the Presumed Heterosexual Cisgender Audience and Writing LGBT Romance
E.E. Ottoman’s post and some great comments and discussion about the dangers of sticking with old ideas about gay romance being for straight women.
Usually this argument goes “well this is what sells because this is what these cisgender heterosexual women want to read. I wish it were different but if you want to sell books you just have to put your ideals aside and get back to writing bare-chested firefighters.” This is a problem because it supports the status quo and shuts down important conversations that need to happen. It also paints cisgender, heterosexual writers and readers in the worst possible light, as more interested in getting off than being allies.
Finish with the funny!
16 Things Romance Readers are Tired of Hearing
1. “All romance books are exactly the same.”
Yep. Every single one is exactly like the other. EXACTLY.