Romance Writing Checklist

by Patience Bloom, Senior Editor

This blog was originally posted at www.soyouthinkyoucanwrite.com

Before you celebrate with some chocolate cake and chilled wine, you have a romance novel to complete. Have you mastered the basics? Here are ten items for you to check before you submit your manuscript to a publisher:

 

Are your characters complex and interesting?

We editors have seen it all. What we love is when your hero, heroine and secondary characters seem like real people. Everyone is different, right? So make sure your “people” are unique.

tumblr_n94hq2cyki1r7td17o2_500

 

Does the conflict/romantic tension carry through the entire story?

In real life, you meet someone special and you live happily ever after (maybe not always, but let’s hope) without that gritty conflict one reads in stories. In a romance novel, the tension needs to last, make your readers stay up until 3am. If your hero and heroine have picnics every day, your reader will fall asleep.

tumblr_lk48xxu62m1qdunk8o1_500

 

Do you appeal to all five senses?

The reader wants a tantalizing experience. Close your eyes and envision your scene: how it looks, tastes, smells, etc… Write it all down. Without going overboard, make sure your scenes come alive.tumblr_n00tlrpouq1qcytrro4_500

 

Is your romance emotional and intense?

Tepid tea isn’t going to keep you going. Think about a tepid romance where the hero and heroine don’t feel anything or say interesting things. It’s like they’re made of cardboard. Bring on the angst, the emotion, the intensity!giphy-11

 

Does your story have a strong sense of setting?

Some of us have no sense of direction. We need traffic cops to show us the way. Be sure to show your reader the sights and sounds of your setting, even if it’s Anywhere, The World. Setting adds richness.

tumblr_ntc1y5h46m1rzwvopo1_r1_500

 

Is your manuscript professional?

Here’s a pet peeve of most editors: We’re not crazy about typos. One here or there is fine, but a manuscript riddled with errors shows us that the writer doesn’t take his/her work seriously. To be a professional, one must present one’s best work, even if one is a bad speller.

tumblr_ny62mom0vg1r399heo1_500

 

How’s the pacing?

Do you keep the reader’s attention from beginning to end? Do you have that dreaded sagging middle? Can you pick up the story in the middle and still love it? That’s another editor’s secret: Sometimes, we’ll skip a few chapters and read in the middle to see if the writing is as zippy as at the beginning.

tumblr_nkllal8bf91unt1w2o1_500

 

Do you have exciting chapter beginnings and endings?

Each chapter should be a gem. Begin and end with a bang.

oq5zrri

 

How’s the sex?

Even if you write sweeter romances, there should be some kind of sensual awareness between the hero and heroine. Make your readers ache for more.

vo3q1

 

Do you have a happy ending?

This should be obvious with romance, though here’s one additional note: Because readers expect the happy ending, can you bring something unexpected to this ending? Is there an element of surprise to wow the reader even more? Go for it!

tumblr_lse8ksrllk1qdunk8o1_500

 

Once you’ve gone through this checklist and are confident with your work, you are on your way. Okay, now you can splurge on that cake.

Related Posts
Comments ( 2 )
  1. Mel
    October 26, 2016 at 8:31 pm
    Reply

    Great tips!

  2. tamela
    December 12, 2016 at 5:22 pm
    Reply

    That would be good advice for all the future autors to get this down on this list.

Leave a reply