Tink...tink...tink...anyone out there? Hi! I'm Barbara Donlon Bradley - Author - editor and slightly crazy - ask anyone in my family. I hope to use this blog to talk about writing, editing and whatever pops in my head. Hope you enjoy.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Writing Down the Bones: Nine Rules for Romance Writers

I found another gem - this one was done by Ruby Frankel and Jane Toombs.
The rules they give are to help us avoid the most common mistakes made by romance writers. I;m going to write what they said then give you my take on each of them.

1.) Create a sympathetic heroine - this one is pretty simple - your reader needs to bond with your hero and heroine if they don't like them they won't read your book.

2.) Keep your hero present in person, thought, or conversation - this one I'm still thinking about - I'm not sure what angle they were aiming at - I know you don't want a hero who isn't focused on things around him - he can't be thinking about how pretty the heroine is while trying to hide from the bad guy but this doesn't mean you can't show his attraction to the heroine - it's a delicate balance.

3.) Provide your characters with believable motivations - this one is another that is pretty straightforward - your story has to make sense - you are suspending disbelief in your work - making your reader believe it could happen - even though it is fiction.

4.) Avoid using angry confrontations as a substitute for tension between hero and heroine - I agree with this one - your hero and heroine are attracted to each other. There is supposed to be tension, but having them argue all the time isn't how you build tension - it's the way their body betrays them - the way their thoughts wander when they don't want them to - I have read books where the tension has been built by arguing and all it did was make me dislike the heroine.

5.) Don't confuse sex with romance - as an erotic romance writer there is a lot of sex in my books - but it isn't there just because I write erotic stories. My characters are in love, this is the way they share their love - they just do it a lot.

6.) Avoid excessive description - back in the 80's deep description was in - I remember a book I bought where I ended up skipping the description - only read the sections where there was dialogue - a 400 page book turned into a 250 page book - now your reader wants just enough to know where your characters are but they want action, dialogue, emotion. They want to bond with the characters and they want to be with them on every page of your book.

7.) Know the exact meaning of any word you pull from your thesaurus - we've all been told to mix up our words - and I have seen authors grab that thesaurus and use another word but sometimes the definition is off a bit and the word you use does't work. Be sure when you do that it has the same meaning as the one you're replacing.

8.) Don't burden chapter one with the hero's or heroine's entire past - yep - very good advice - back story should be sprinkled through out your book - don't data dump

9.) Eschew coincidence - writing is a learning process - no matter how long we've been at it, try not to think you know it all or can't learn from another author or book.

Pretty basic but interesting. Hope it helps you as you work on that next ms.

6 comments:

  1. Solid advice. I think the "presence" they're talking about is that you get the sense of his being present within the story. That even when he's not in the scene, he's on the heroine's mind or the villain's mind. His presence is affecting the structure because others must account for what he'll do, or how he'll react. At least that's my take.

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    1. Holy cow - my brain didn't even think of that - thanks Kayelle!

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  2. I think #6 description is crucial, particularly for the romance genre. If you can find a way to distill a long description into one or two evocative lines, though, I believe it can make the story richer. Bonus points for when the description relates to character emotions and/or serves to subtly move the story forward.

    However, when you're writing a mainstream romance (i.e. a love story that doesn't quite fit into the mold all of us expect when we read the genre ourselves), lyric description done right expands and enriches the world you create. IMHO.

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  3. Thanks for this Aileen - there is a fine line to walk with description - too much and you bog down the story to little and your reader could get lost - you brought up some wonderful points!

    Barb:)

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