February writing challenge and tips
Write a love story in 140 characters – perfect for tweeting love in a time of global division.
Tweet your entry to @allabtwriting or, if you’d prefer, email your entry to email@example.com by midnight, 28 February.
The best entries will be tweeted from @allabtwriting and, as usual, the winner will receive a book voucher from the independent bookstore of their choice.
This month’s writing tips are all about the writing of love, but many of them are relevant for every kind of writing.
Many people think romance writing is a bit like knitting. There’s a pattern to follow and, even if you’re a bit clumsy at first, you can knock off a finished product in a few afternoons while the kids are out playing.
Ha. Genre fiction is no easier to write than other forms of story-telling. But it’s not a mysterious process. Here are my ten most important tips to make you a successful writer about love.
Tip One: Believe in love – If you write romance, you need to believe in your story – and that true love is possible. You can’t write romance with your tongue in your cheek.
Tip Two: Don’t talk down to your readers. Most romance readers have some college education and many are educated professionals. They read for escapism – and for the emotional intensity.
Tip Three: Create strong characters with depth, quirks and contradictions. Romantic stories are character-based. We need to identify with them if we are to care what happens to them.
Tip Four: Something must hold your characters apart. You can’t just throw in a few arguments and misunderstandings. Although they’re irresistibly drawn to each other, we must wonder how they’ll ever be together.
Tip Five: Write in strong scenes. We want the story told in a series of tangible scenes that show us what’s happening to them.
Tip Six: Show, don’t tell. In other words, don’t include paragraphs of explanation. Show what your characters are like, don’t tell us – through what they say and do, and how other characters relate to them.
Tip Seven: Give them a believable setting. You must know it well in order to write it.
Tip Eight: Every detail has a job to do. Every description, every subsidiary character, every scene, must take the story forward or develop your main characters further.
Tip Nine: Write believable dialogue. This is what people first notice about a book. If the dialogue rings true, it brings pace and energy to a story. It helps you “show”, rather than tell what your characters are like.
Tip Ten: Edit well. You can fix almost anything in the rewrite. Look at every scene, character and detail. Does it take the story forward. Be ruthless.
If you can make these points work for you, you’ll have a publishable Romance, full of love and suspense.