Bookish Matters

The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid.

—Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey

Saturday, December 1, 2012

On the Bookshelf—Harlequin Romance

A friend told me that on the Harlequin website you can find exact guidelines for how to write a romance novel.

If you don't know, Harlequin is the most prolific publisher of romance novels, especially known for those serials you find in the grocery store.

Today I decided to check out Harlequin's writing guidelines—and I was pleasantly surprised by what I found:

  • Know and respect your readers—choose the most recent novels and read widely across the romance market. Then target the series/genre that excites you and suits your voice.
  • Innovate, don't imitate! There is no formula—only a format, as with all genre fiction, which allows room for creative expression, unique writing voices and memorable characters. So throw those clichĂ©s out the window!
    I ♥ my characters: At the heart of all great romances are two strong, appealing, sympathetic and three-dimensional characters.

This is writing advice anyone would do well to heed.

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