Thursday, September 02, 2010

Top Tips from New Voices Workshop

After doing my workshop at Knaresborough yesterday, I thought I'd post my top tips for writing a M&B series romance.

1. Know which line you are targeting  -- imagine yourself writing 40 books in a line, which one would be your first choice? What is your dream line to write for? Go for it!

2. Know what every romance contains -- first meeting of the characters, confrontations, physical attraction,
realisation of love, and finally emotional intimacy -- the payoff. Make sure your ms has these things on the page and not in your head.

3. If the first meeting of the characters (aka the start of the romance) is not in the first scene, why not? What happens if you move it to the first scene? First meeting does not necessarily mean the first time the characters meet in their lives, but rather the first time they meet in the book. It is a vital part of the story. How does their lives change? Do not be tempted to write yourself in. Readers want the story to begin.

4. Your characters should be proactive rather than reactive. They make active choices and have to live with the consequences.

5. Think about what you admire in your heroes -- make sure your characters reflect those characteristics.

6. Make sure there is page turning tension on every page. Give your reader reasons to turn the pages and keep her within the story. Look for flat scenes and low tension traps. Rewrite.

7. Know about emotional hooks such as Stranded with  a Stranger, Marriage of Convenience, Bad Boy v Librarian, Office Romance, Cowboy v City Girl etc. How are you going to make that story your own? Make sure you know the hooks in your story.

8. Write in your voice. Tell the story your own way. You are unique.

9. Create passionate characters. Too often authors are afraid of creating characters with strong opinions or beliefs but passionate characters are the ones the readers remember. Use little details to show what they believe in. What do they hate? What would they risk their life to save? Why? How can you show this? The hero and heroine are often the last characters to be well rounded. Think about what makes them unique. Think about the words they use and why. How does their background influence their vocabulary.

10. Be persistent. Learn how to harness your talent. Finish the book. Take a risk and enter the competition, you might surprise yourself. Nothing is ever wasted.

And finally the lovely librarian made some gorgeous cupcakes with pink rosebuds. They served pink fizz with it. It really helped to make the workshop special.
I was so pleased that the workshop was well attended and that people seemed to enjoy themselves.


Jackie Ashenden said...

Great tips, Michelle! Thanks for that. I particularly like number 9. And the cupcakes look delicious. :-)

Maya Blake said...

Fabulous post, Michelle. Thank you. And the cupcakes look heavenly :)

Maya Blake said...

Ha, I've just noticed my post looks almost identical to Jackie's! Great minds, Jax :)

Kate Hardy said...

Glad you had such a good workshop. And those cupcakes look gorgeous!

Christina Hollis said...

Great tips, Michelle. And, oh, those cakes...goodbye, cruel diet!

Joanna St. James said...

Once again u have outdone urself I find these really helpful. Now can someone tell me why those cupcakes are calling my name?

BeBe said...

Thank you for the tips...looking forward to Fiona Harpers workshop on Saturday where I can pick up some more useful titbits.


Joanne Coles said...

Great list although I agree with the others, I am somewhat mesmerised by the beautiful cakes!

Now off to master number 1 on your list. If only I could make up my mind ...

Michelle Styles said...

Glad it has helped someone or several someones!

And I was very good as I'd stepped on the Scales of Doom that morning. I just enjoyed what the cupcakes looked like. My daughter ate mine for me. Her hip could take it.

Sue Child said...

Thank you for this Michelle. No 3 and No 7 are resonating with me at the moment...need to think about bringing the first meet forwards me thinks and play up the hook as well, which I hadn't given a lot of thought to, although it is there :)

Thanks again, Sue

Caroline said...

Glad you had a great time. The cupcakes look great! Caroline x