The next update of my massive—and getting even bigger—”Resources for Fiction Writers” page is now live, and it’s right HERE!
I’ve added quite a few new resources, all marked by an asterisk for easy indexing. There are new videos, new podcasts, new websites, and new blog posts, all designed to help you succeed as a writer and, as the case may be, a self-publisher.
And to top it off, I’ve added a shiny new Pinterest-friendly graphic to go with it. (Hint: Feel free to pin the list to your favorite board, along with any of your favorite resources from it!)
A New Way to Access the Resources for Fiction Writers Content
Speaking of Pinterest, I recently created a new Pinterest board that is basically a budding clone of my Resources for Fiction Writers list. It will take me a while to pin every single item on the list but all the new items are already there plus some old favorites.
As always, if you have a resource you highly recommend, I’d love to hear from you so I can check it out myself and maybe add it to the page.
Go forth and enjoy, and I hope you have a wonderfully productive season!
Dianne Frost at Dianne in Writing was gracious enough to host a post of mine on her blog. Here’s a teaser …
Have you ever been reading a new romance novel and felt something familiar, a bit of déjà vu? The “stage” is different, the “actors” are different, and even the situation is different, but it still feels cozy and intimate, like your best pair of fuzzy slippers.
If this has happened to you, then you might be starting to recognize the tropes in your favorite romance novels.
What Are Tropes?
Tropes are everywhere, not just in romance novels. In writing, they are commonly used themes. They’re recognizable once you’ve read enough books or watched enough TV. Think of the “lovable, overweight cop,” the “suave, seductive vampire,” or the “bullied kid overcomes” plot. As TVTropes.org puts it, “For creative writer types, tropes are more about conveying a concept to the audience without needing to spell out all the details.”
Romancing the Beat is a concise book on story structure for the romance novel by author and editor Gwen Hayes, who herself confesses to loving “kissing books.”
As an editor, I read a lot about writing, so when I picked up Romancing the Beat, I sat down with paper and pen, ready to take notes. What I did not expect to find was a funny little book that made me laugh out loud while still actually learning something.
I Loved It, and Here’s Why
What I love about Hayes’s book is that she distills the elements of romantic story structure down to their very bones and gives the reader/writer specific advice for creating the plot of a romance novel in a book you can finish in one evening.
Romance novels, unlike most other genre novels, have a pretty specific formula.
Now, don’t shoot me for saying that, but it’s true, and maybe that’s why romance novels are so successful. Readers expect certain things to happen, and when they happen, they’re happy. Without those things, readers are unhappy. They will be quick to tell you that what you have written is not a romance novel and shouldn’t be marketed as such. For example, if your lovers are cheating, you haven’t written a romance novel. If your lovers don’t get their happily ever after or at least happy for now, you also haven’t written a romance novel.
Hayes doesn’t give you tips on crafting sentences. She doesn’t give you ideas for external plot lines. She doesn’t tell you how to create the perfect hero or heroine. She focuses on one element of the craft in one genre.
Romantic story structure is all this book covers, but it covers it extremely well.
Breaking It Down
Gwen Hayes breaks down romantic story structure into bite-sized chunks: four phases, each with five beats. I won’t tell you what they are—you’ll have to read the book for that—but she goes through each phase and beat in its own mini-chapter. Then, at the back of the book, she provides an entire outline with these beats from one of her own stories. To be honest, I flipped to the end first and read this outline.
Good, complete examples are often missing in writing books. You can call beats or moments in the story anything you want, but unless the reader knows what you’re talking about and can apply it to his or her own writing, it’s all sort of abstract, hard to pinpoint, and thus, useless.
After reading Romancing the Beat, I honestly feel I could sit down and use it write an outline within an hour or so for a romance novel that would fit reader expectations. And with Hayes’s approach, it would probably be a lot of fun.
In the meantime, this book is going to serve as an important resource any time I sit down to edit a romance novel, and I’ll have no compunctions about recommending it to my writer clients and friends.
Go read it yourself.
Please note: This post contains affiliate links. This means that I receive a small percentage of sales through these links but at no extra cost to you. My editing, design and consulting services are paid for by clients, but affiliate links help me to provide free blog content, videos, and writing and self-publishing resources for all of my readers.
Each Wednesday, I will be bringing you a writing prompt from a different category: photo, romance, mystery, fantasy, urban fantasy, paranormal romance, etc.
Change anything you like, but get to writing. Even if it doesn’t develop into a full story or novel, save it because you never know when you might use something from this little exercise!
WRITING PROMPT: Your hero is on a business trip, relaxing in the lazy river of his hotel and trying to stop thinking about his recent, messy breakup when he spots a beautiful woman stealing hotel keys from the lounge chairs around the pool.