Here is the most crucial piece of advice a
newcomer to romance writing will ever receive: Before you write, read!
It's essential to get to know the market
you are entering; find out what your readers will be looking for when they
pick up your book. So grab a romance novel, settle in somewhere comfy
and get studying. Dissect and critique that story as if you were tackling
the works of William Shakespeare. (Don’t just grab any old story though, be
sure that it appeals to you and is written in the style in which you also
would like to write.)
For more information on how to become a
romance novelist, look into societies such as the
Romance Writers of
America, and purchase tutorials such as
“How to Write Romances” by Phyllis
Taylor Pianka, or
“How to Write a Romance and Get It Published” by Kathryn
Falk, founder of “The Romantic Times” magazine.
(And don't miss these helpful writing
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Other must-haves for your
Hopefully the brief overview which follows will
help to familiarize you with the various sub-genres that are covered by the
broad umbrella that is romantic fiction.
Wherever possible, recommended reading
titles feature “curvy” heroines of various sizes. As writers of BBW
stories, we make it a point to show larger heroines in a positive
light. Some authors prefer to write a heroine as being curvier than what
society deems acceptable, but do not reflect upon her weight beyond her
description. Other authors choose to delve into the more difficult experiences of being an
abundant woman. There is no one "right" way to work with a BBW heroine, and both
types of stories are needed to show the world that bigger heroines are both
beautiful and valuable.
What is the difference between women’s
fiction and romance novels? Are they the same thing? The
short answer to this is no, the romance genre may be considered a part of
women’s fiction; however women’s fiction is a broader category overall. If you
pick up a "women's fiction" novel, you'll notice that the romantic
piece of the story (if one is even present) takes a back seat to other
issues in the book. Good examples of mainstream novels are
Come Undone” by Wally Lamb and Maeve Binchy’s
“Circle of Friends”.
One subcategory of women’s fiction is the
genre called “Chick Lit”, which tends to be stories about single
women in their late twenties and early thirties. While there can be
some elements of romance in this story, there's usually more focus on the
main character's other life experiences as well, hence the reason it is
considered women’s fiction and not romance.
“Bridget Jones’s Diary” by
Helen Fielding is probably the best-known title of this genre, but Marian
Keyes’ Walsh sisters from
“Lucy Sullivan is Getting Married", and
“Angels” are all nearly as popular with fans of the
genre as Bridget is. "Good in Bed" by Jennifer Weiner is another excellent
example of this type of book.
In a novel billed as a "romance",
it is the development of the relationship between the two main characters
that is the main focus of the story. Most romance novels are written from
the heroine’s point-of-view, though some will include glimpses here and
there into the mind of the hero. There are a few brave authors who
have started writing from the POV of the hero first and foremost. An
example of this would be Van Whitfield and his novel
Wrong with Your Scale.”
Another thing you need to decide about
reading or writing a romance is: how sensual do you want your story to be?
Just kisses? Groping? The full monty in graphic detail? Not
all romances have the same level of sensuality. The best recommendation is
to just go with what you are most comfortable. If you blush at reading a
hot and heavy sex scene, then don’t even think about trying to write
to Part Two: The subgenres of Romantic Fiction
Helpful links for Authors