The Unconventional Guide to Writing a Good Romance Novel

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What does it take to go about writing a good romance novel? Well first, let me throw out the disclaimer I am no way, shape, or form an expert in writing, but it’s a part of my daily life, and besides I know more now than when I wrote my first novel five years ago. And to be honest, I still pick up valuable tips when I stumble upon them.

Even as a novice writer back then, the one thing I knew for sure when I became an independent author was my genre would be romance. I love reading it. Readers get deep down, invested in a romance novel, one of many reasons the genre is so popular. They love the concept of two attractive people meeting and falling in love, are ready to go through boxes of Kleenex when the male and female go through their conflicts and struggles, and can finally breathe again at the end of the story when the love-birds work everything out to live their happily ever after.

So how do you begin a good romance novel? Well, think about story ideas you can write about for your novel, if possible, something that would spark a reader’s interest. After you figure it out, the next move is to work out your storyline. Try thinking about it in different phrases (e.g. beginning, middle, end) and mapping events out. It helps a lot.

The information below are a few ideas to steer you in the right directions.

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I need inspiration for my storyline. How do I get it?
You can base a storyline off real-life experiences or something you made up. This is where you get creative and let your imagination soar. Still, if you find yourself at a loss, think about things that have triggered your interest, and why it did, such as books, magazines, tv shows, and movies just to name a few.

What is the age group of your audience?
Determine if adults or tweens will read your romance novel. It doesn’t matter which one you pick, just remember your novel should be age-appropriate for the reader.

Point of View.
When you’re creating your story you should consider what point of view you are writing. I prefer writing in third-person point of view, but choose what’s comfortable for you.

Think about the main character.
The main character tells the story so you want this person to be interesting so he/she engages with the reader (e.g. Joe of Caroline Kepnes’ book/Lifetime Movie YOU).

What type of romance should I write?
By this I mean there are subgenres of romance (e.g. historical, contemporary, time travel, etc.) For example, the subgenres of my stories are interracial romance, which is the partnering between different races; paranormal, these deal with vampires, werewolves, and other undead; and/or urban fantasy, which is good vs. evil. Though writing in different genres may not be the norm, my belief is you should write however you want and do what works for you.

These suggestions are starters to head you in the right direction. I hope you found it useful.

 

 

What is Scrivener?

I never thought I would say this, but Scrivener is wonderful for putting a story together. What is Scrivener? Plain and simple it is a word-processing program and story outline designed for authors, writers, students, and bloggers, among others who do a lot of writing.
scrivenerTo be honest, I wasn’t always optimistic about Scrivener. My first-time hearing about the program was from someone who told me it was something I might find useful. Okay fine, that person piqued my curiosity. I did a little research, however, after watching a few YouTube videos, I felt intimidated by Scrivener. Yes, you could do a lot with it, but it was so overwhelming for a newbie. As I think back, I know now it had a lot to do with the presentation not being clear, concise, and to the point. That’s pretty much how I lost interest.

 

Okay now fast forward to the present. Out of the blue, I get an email invite about a user-friendly webinar explaining how I can get Scrivener to do exactly what I want. To tell you the truth, I was real iffy about it, but I took part, and I’m glad I did. The webinar was so helpful and well explained for a beginner such as myself. It helped in familiarizing me with Scrivener and explaining how I can best use Scrivener in managing my writing. The concept behind Scrivener is it’s basically an electronic huge binder that holds all your saved correspondence on a specific writing project (i.e. video and audio files, web pages, pictures, PDFs, etc.) in one place that is available to you at a click of a button. That’s huge for me, and I find it convenient not having to search all over my hard drive for something.

 

A Few Features of Scrivener:
• Piece it Together. Switch instantly between editing your writing one section at a time and together as a whole.
• Corkboard. In Scrivener, every section of your project is attached to a virtual index card. Scrivener’s corkboard lets you step back and work with just the synopses you’ve written on the cards—and when you move them, you’re rearranging your manuscript at the same time.
• Outliner. Like the corkboard, the outliner lets you work with an overview of a chapter, a part, or even your whole manuscript—but puts even more information at your fingertips.
• Print, Export, Publish. Scrivener has everything you need to prepare your manuscript for sharing with the world.

I could go on and on because there are more features, but if you visit Scrivener’s website you can get a better insight of the program. What I appreciated the most is before you pay for anything, you can do a 30-day free trial. That was so beneficial for me, for it allowed me an opportunity to see if this was a purchase I truly wanted to make. The outcome—it won me over.

My final words on Scrivener would be, try it out. Who knows, you might like it too.

One Space or Two Spaces After the Period at the End of the Sentence?

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I decided to do a little research about that pesky question of whether to use one or two spaces after the period at the end of a sentence. As a lifelong proponent of the two spaces camp, I now grudgingly yield to the 21st century and advances in typography to move to using only one space after the period.

Every major style guide–including the “bibles” of the Modern Language Association Style Manual and the Chicago Manual of Style–prescribes a single space after a period. The two-space rule began during the age of typewriters, when the spacing of letters was not proportional (as it is now) and using two spaces at the end of a sentence made documents more readable. The only computer font that is not proportional is Courier, which we do not use. (I don’t think anyone uses it anymore.)

According to an article in Slate (http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/technology/2011/01/space_invaders.html) which addressed this very issue, “because we’ve all switched to modern fonts, adding two spaces after a period no longer enhances readability, typographers say. It diminishes it.” This same point was made by every major source that I researched.

So, I am waving the white flag of surrender in my ancient, Tyrannosaurus Rex hands to say that I think the switch to one space is the better and updated rule to follow.

I feel I can adapt to change okay, however, if you find yourself having great difficulty in making this transition, I saw the following suggestion in the online version of the Chicago Manual of Style: once the document is finished, use the Find and Replace feature to eliminate all double spaces. In the “Find” box, type two spaces, and in the “Replace With” box, type one space. Hit “Replace All” and you’re done.

R. Lynn Archie

www.rlynnarchie.com

Using Points of View (POV) in Your Writing

POINTS OF VIEW

When I first began writing, I wasn’t aware that stories were written in points of view. So, what is a point of view? Simply put, it’s a way that writers allow readers to see and hear what’s going on. Point of view in books will contain detail, opinion, or emotion the author wants to accentuate; therefore, a point of view catches the attention of the reader.

The Three Major Kinds of POV

First-person point of view involves the use of either of the two pronouns “I” and “we”. The advantage of this point of view is that you get to hear the thoughts of the narrator, and see the world depicted in the story through his or her eyes. A good novel selection would be Twilight by Stephanie Meyers. The main female character Bella Swan is the narrator; we see things from her point of view.

  • (Example) “I loved Phoenix. I loved the sun and the blistering heat. I loved the vigorous, sprawling city.”

Second-person point of view, the narrator tells the story to another character using “you” and “your”. This is the least used POV. You will see this used more in literature such as a cook book. Although a perfect selection of a novel used this way would be Jay McInerney’s, Bright Lights, Big City.

  • (Example) “You are not the kind of guy who would be at a place like this at this time of the morning. But here you are, and you cannot say that the terrain is entirely unfamiliar, although the details are fuzzy.”

Third-person point of view is the most popular of the three and uses pronouns like “he”, “she”, “it”, “they” or a name. The narrator isn’t present as a character. The writer may choose third-person omniscient in which the thoughts of every character are open to the reader, or third-person limited, in which the reader enters only one character’s mind, either throughout the entire work or in a specific section. A good third person POV book is Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.

Examples:

  • When Jane and Elizabeth were alone, the former, who had been cautious in her praise of Mr. Bingley before, expressed to her sister how very much she admired him.
  • “He is just what a young man ought to be,” said she, “sensible, good humoured, lively; and I never saw such happy manners!”

My preference is third person point of view because it’s what I feel the most comfortable with, and it allows me complete freedom in telling my story. I would like to hear from you. Tell me, what point of view you use in your writing?

 

R. Lynn

 

Helpful Tips for New Indie Authors

Helpful Tips

I noted in my prior post that it’s been a year since self-publishing my first romance novel, and I have to admit that my journey on becoming an indie author has been an enjoyable one. Throughout the year I’ve received so much useful writing advice and information; all which has helped me grow as a writer.

In this post I’m giving back in hopes of helping others; my advice for new indie authors starting out would be, have patience and stay committed. Everyone has hopes and dreams of becoming rich and famous, but realistically there’s a chance that might never happen. Nonetheless, that doesn’t mean you can’t succeed in what you love doing, and what I mean by that is whatever you’re passionate about just stay focused on executing your goal from start to finish. When you can accomplish that then you will always succeed by coming out on top.

Lastly, one final point I’m going to share is do not burn yourself out. I did that writing my first and second novel by not allowing any downtime in between — that was such a bad idea and a big no-no. Nowadays, it’s mandatory that I take breaks in between writing projects. Trust me, even something as small as doing nothing for a weekend but being idle will do you a world of good.

Just remember when it comes to your writing routine make sure you choose a non-stressful schedule that works best for you. All things considered, being an indie author is great, and the best part for me is there’s no one to answer to because I’m the boss!

Talk to you soon,

R. Lynn

Website: www.rlynnarchie.com
Email: info@rlynnarchie.com

The Falling of Love Book Tour – Marisa Oldham

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I would like to welcome romance author Marisa Oldham to my blog. This is the first day of her book tour and I will be asking questions about her book The Falling of Love, as well as, thoughts behind her Dreamcast selection of characters.

Marisa, What inspired you to write The Falling of Love?

I’ve had Grace’s story in my head since I was about fifteen years old. I think growing up over the years, watching and experiencing how tragic love can be, was a huge inspiration to me.

Did you know from the beginning it was going to be a series? Yes. I actually did. If I hadn’t broken the story up the book would’ve been about 900 pages or more. I always knew what the beginning, middle and end of the story would be. It just works for it to be a series of 3.

What’s your favorite part of the book? The sweet love between Grace and Ian in the beginning really touches my heart, but I’ll admit, I love the drama towards the middle and end of the book. I think that THAT is what makes readers fall in love with this story and really tugs at their heartstrings.

What was the hardest part to write in the book? Ian’s changes and the turmoil he goes through. What I put Grace through. Sometimes I think I’m too hard on her character.

If you could have dinner with one character out of your book who would it be? Why that character? Ian – the simple answer, because he’s hot and even though he makes poor choices, when he’s himself, he’s amazingly loving and romantic. I wish what I wrote would magically appear before me in the form of my dream guy. I think where a lot of readers will really fall in love with Ian is in The Falling of Grace, book 2.

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Tell us about your Dreamcast and why you choose who you did?

Grace was easy to cast – she’s supposed to be one of the most beautiful women in the world. At first, I was thinking Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, but then my sister said that Candice Swanepoel was a better Grace. I agreed with her because Candice possesses an innocence while still looking like a sex goddess. That is Grace to me. I was lucky to find a photo of Candice when she was about Grace’s age in TFOL.

Ian was probably one of my most difficult to cast. He’s a cross between a young Axl Rose and Jared Leto. I was using Bartek Borowiec, a male model, for a long time, because for young Ian he was perfect, but he’s too feminine looking to be Ian. Jared Leto is more how I picture Ian at an older age. For now, he’ll have to do because there is no one else out there that looks like Ian.

Jaden is also hard to cast because he’s a mixture of guitar player Izzy Stradlin, Trent Reznor, Richard Fortus, and my friend and musician Paul Kenny. They all could pull off playing Jaden. I chose Izzy for this dream cast. I may choose one of the other gorgeous men for the TFOG dream cast.

Michelle is the most difficult of them all to cast because of her wild curls. I see her with the face of Miranda Kerr, but I’ve found very few photos of Miranda with curly hair. The other day my sister said that Megan Fox with curly hair would make a great Michelle, which is true, but for now, it will have to be Miranda Ker and you’ll just have to imagine her with wild curls.

James always looked like James Hetfield to me. So he was easy. I wonder how the lead singer of Metallica would feel about me casting him to play Grace’s overbearing brother? LOL.

Brandon and Bailey were easy to cast. I just looked for a beautiful, young redhead and a handsome young red-haired boy. I think they’re pretty perfect.

Micah is a little hard to find photos for because he’s covered in tattoos but rocks a 50’s greaser style. I managed to come up with a few different photos for him, but they’re all different men.

All the others in my dream cast were very easy to select. I knew what I was looking for when I was searching for Ian’s dad, John and his mother Rose. Eddie is even named after who I think he would look most like and that is Eddie Vedder. Can you tell I love rock n’ roll?

RLA: I would like to thank you for stopping past and I wish you all the best on your tour Marisa.
MO: Thank you for hosting me, it’s been a pleasure.

The Falling of Love is available on Amazon.

Marisa’s Social Media Link:

Marisa’s Website            Facebook               Twitter              Goodreads

Mother’s Day Reading Blitz – All Books $.99

Mother’s Day Reading Blitz Sale Starts Today!!

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My book, Trial of Marriage and over 70 others by 60 female authors, will be ONLY .99 cents from May 9-May 11th for the Mother’s Day Reading Blitz! There’s all different genres for you to choose from. Please share with your reader friends!

CLICK HERE