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Upcoming Blog Series—Writing the Romance Novel

Friday, April 11, 2008

I have been convinced by begging, pleading, and chocolate to do my next blog series on the fundamentals and fine art of Writing the Romance Novel.

A little background on my experience with this genre: I have a Master of Arts degree in Writing Popular Fiction, where my “major” was the Romance genre, my thesis was a contemporary inspirational romance novel, and my critical research was on the conventions of the romance genre and the evolution of inspirational romance as a separate genre. I’ve completed five romance novel manuscripts (but I’ve been writing romantic stories since I was twelve years old); my debut novel, Stand-In Groom, will be published by Barbour in January 2009.

All that said, I am nowhere near considering myself an expert on the romance genre. So I’ll be doing a lot of research and giving examples and background and backing up what I say through quotes from romance-writing how-to books. I also hope to be featuring some guest bloggers, both inspirational and mainstream romance writers.

But what’s most important to me right now is to find out what you want to learn in this series. Have you ever gotten low scores on a contest entry because the judge didn’t think your entry fit the genre, and the judge made some comments that you just don’t understand? Are you trying to write a romance for the first time and have questions about the structure? Have you seen things in published novels that you’re wondering if you can use, but they go against general established writing “rules”?

Post your questions and hopefully on Tuesday or Wednesday, we’ll get the ball rolling on this new series!

  1. Friday, April 11, 2008 10:11 pm

    I’m rubbing my hands together for this one. For starters, how do you sustain the tension throughout the whole book when you already know the hero and heroine end up together? I’m quite interested in structure too.


  2. Leslie permalink
    Friday, April 11, 2008 10:19 pm

    Along the lines of Georgiana’s question – how do you keep the story line fresh without starting to sound cliche’?


  3. Saturday, April 12, 2008 6:52 am

    Oh, Kaye, I’m so looking forward to this course! Writing Christian/Inspirational Romances is my chosen genre and I read so many of these each month but still I don’t seem to have a handle on external conflict that will sustain the novel.

    Whether it is true or not, I’ve been told that as far as internal conflict goes, I can make that believable and work, but external conflict is a whole other ball game. I guess I just like keeping the peace.

    Another thing is hooks. What I seem to think are hooks and what my crit groups calls hooks, judges don’t seem to respond to. What are you guys looking for as a hook in a romance novel, anyway?

    Thanks so much for doing this course, Kaye. I’m looking forward to it!


  4. Saturday, April 12, 2008 10:30 am

    Yay! I’m going to sit on the front row and take lots of notes. Woohoo!

    I need help on Knock Out Endings. 🙂


  5. Saturday, April 12, 2008 12:05 pm

    I’m with Eileen. I understand internal conflict. External is a bit harder because I don’t want to put my characters in far-fetched situations.

    Then there’s how to keep it from growing into a women’s fiction story rather than romance. And how to imbed the faith element without hitting folks over the head with a frying pan, making it like vapor, or mimicing a bad comedian’s stereotypes about Christians.


  6. Saturday, April 12, 2008 9:07 pm

    Woo Hoo! I can’t wait for this one!

    I don’t have any certain thing, though, I want to hear it all ; )


  7. Sunday, April 13, 2008 12:00 am

    An internal-external thing should be interesting for me too. I’ve been having to manufacture more external and action for my WIP.

    Of course, being fantasy I have more leeway.
    Exploding trees and massive snake-attacks are welcomed.

    I’m still getting used to it. 😉


  8. Sunday, April 13, 2008 6:01 pm

    Wonderful!!!! I don’t have any questions right now to add to the pile, but I can’t wait for the series to start.


  9. Thursday, July 24, 2008 5:27 pm

    I’d love to hear your thoughts on a sub-genre of romance novels, romantic suspense. Mary Higgins Clark’s one of my favorite suspense writers. I think Harlequin has a fairly new suspense genre. Just curious how much romance changes a suspense novel into a romantic suspense. And what’s the focus – the suspense or the romance?
    Thanks – enjoyed your blog



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