How to Become a Harlequin Writer

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by Kathryn Lye, Editor, Harlequin Blaze

harlequin-blaze-writing-challengeI’ve been working as an editor at Harlequin for more than sixteen years and I am the first to acknowledge that writing a book is no easy feat! It takes planning, patience and oodles of creativity. As an editor, I support and encourage authors to reach their goals, while offering helpful tips along the way.

As most of you have heard, we’re hosting a Harlequin Blaze writing challenge to look for some fabulous new talent. The deadline for submitting your manuscript is just around the corner. So, for those of you who are interested, I want to take a moment to provide some pointers, similar to what I offer my authors. Here are a few, hopefully helpful, examples of what your story should contain:

  1. Well-developed characters who have a full, interesting backstory (past), a distinct voice, an appealing personality, likability and vulnerability (the hero, too!). Try to avoid caricatures or stereotypes, such as the playboy jock, the stuck-up diva or even the grandmotherly housekeeper.
  2. A plot that isn’t easily predictable. Try a fresh, unique, unexpected turn to tried-and-true themes and setups.
  3. High degree of sensual romance and attraction. Meaning, the hero and heroine’s intimacy has a clear emotional component; it isn’t only about the physical act of lovemaking.
  4. Conflicts that are true challenges for the main characters to overcome in order to be together, and are not misunderstandings.
  5. A writing style that shows promise. Usually one that is engaging and makes the reader want to keep reading.

By the way, did I mention what the prizes are for winning submissions? Yes—that’s right—there are prizes! The FIRST PRIZE winner will have a Harlequin Blaze editor as a mentor for a month for advice and guidance with respect to the submission. The SECOND PRIZE winner will get a one-time editorial consultation regarding the submission, conducted via telephone, with a Blaze editor. The THIRD PRIZE winner will receive a six month subscription to the Harlequin Blaze series. We will be announcing the winners of this contest at the RWA national conference in Atlanta, Georgia.

Check out Harlequin.com for the Blaze writing guidelines. Best of luck!

Interested in sending in a synopsis (max 10 pages) and first chapter (max 25 pages) of a Harlequin Blaze targeted manuscript? Send it to blazewritingchallenge@Harlequin.ca before June 1, 2013. One entry per person. In your email, please include your name, phone number and address, and name of manuscript. Click here for full contest rules.

Contest Details:

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER. Opens on 2/14/2013 at 12:01 AM (ET) and closes on 6/1/2013 at 11:59 PM (ET). Enter via e-mail at blazewritingchallenge@harlequin.ca. Open to legal residents of the U.S. and Canada (excluding Quebec) who are of the age of majority. Void where prohibited by law. One Grand Prize available to be won consisting of the editorial services of a Harlequin® Blaze® editor for a period of one month. One Second Prize available to be won consisting of a one-time editorial consultation to be conducted via telephone (initiated by Sponsor) with a Harlequin® Blaze® editor. One Third Prize available to be won consisting of a six month subscription to the Harlequin® Blaze® series (approximate value: $150 USD). Odds of winning depend on number of eligible entries received and quality of submissions. Official Rules available online at http://community.harlequin.com/faq.php?faq=community_guidelines#faq_1. Sponsor: Harlequin Enterprises Limited.

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One Response to How to Become a Harlequin Writer

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