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ABCs of Romance Writing | From Rubbish to Publish


A         Attraction:  If there is no attraction between the characters there is no story.

Author Intrusion:  Author telling something rather than the characters

B          Black Moment:  The ultimate crisis showing the hopelessness of the characters’ situation.

Body Language:  Physical responses to emotions, events, people, or things.

Body Parts:  Watch for body parts acting on their own.

C         Characters:  Should be believable, their actions and dialogue should fit their personalities, and should be clearly motivated.

Climax:  Raises conflict to greatest intensity, changes course of events.

Conflict:  Internal or external or both obstacles the characters faces.

D         Dialogue:  Should be appropriate for the characters and sound natural keeping in mind the geography, education and age of characters.

Disaster:  What deters the character from reaching his/her goal.

E         Emotion:  Show emotion on every page; make the reader feel it.

External Conflict:  Come from events, people, or life changes outside the character.

Eyes:  Watch for eyes acting by themselves.

F         Fever pitch:     Emotionally tense time for the characters where they may act in a manner they otherwise might not have, often later regret their actions.

Flashback:  Memory of a scene revealing something essential that happened earlier.

Foreshadowing:  Sign of something to come by subtle clues, to create suspense.

G         Goals:  What the character wants to do long term or short term.

H         Hero:  Admirable male who struggles to oppose and then win the heroine.

Heroine:  Admirable female who struggles with herself and outside elements to find happiness with the hero.

Hook:  Ending each chapter so that the reader wants to turn the page.

I           Internal Conflict:  A problem, emotion, fear or phobia always with the character.

J          Justifications:  Every scene needs at least three reasons for being included.

K         Kiss:  The first intimate physical contact between two people who are attracted to each other effecting other parts of the body.

L          Lovemaking:  Hinted at, graphic, sensual, playful–whatever fits the story.

M         Motivation:  Why a character does something.

N         Name:  Gives visualization of the character; should fit character’s personality

Narrative:  Unspoken text of story

Nonstop:  Write the first draft without stopping to do revisions.

O         Omniscient POV:  Author narrates, telling how a character thinks, knows, feels

P          Personal History:  The events, acts, and ideas from a character’s past.

Personality Traits:  The visible aspects of a character as he/she impresses others

Plot:  What happens as a result of conflict.  Develops as protagonist struggles with a problem, involves rising action, finding a solution (climax), and accepting the changes which result

Point Of View:  The character who is telling/seeing the action.

Q         Quell:  Control the impulse to get into secondary characters’ viewpoints.

R         Resolution:  Resolving all the conflicts in a satisfactory manner.

S          Scene:  Each scene must have a purpose, a set POV and be fully developed

Secondary Character:  Has his own identity and some importance in the story, but is subordinate to the hero and heroine.

Senses:  Use in descriptions–visuals, sounds, touches, mood, smells, time

Sensuality:  Deals with senses and feelings, romantic things.

Setting:  Should be suitable to the characters and conflict, contribute to mood or atmosphere of story, and should be fully described.

Sexual Tension:  The force of strong sexual attraction against the equally strong forces of fear and reason; takes place in the mind.

Show Don’t Tell:  Having the characters show how something looks, sounds, smells, feels to him/her

Speech Tag:  Phrase appended to a line of dialogue telling who is talking.

Subplot:  Offshoots of the main plot.

T          Title:  Should be appropriate and suggest some important element of the story.

Transitions:  When there is a change of POV or setting.

U         Unity:  The story should read as though it were written at one time, by one person, using one language.

V         Villain:  Embodies evil; opposes hero or heroine or both.

Voice:  What is said and how it’s said.  Each character should have his/her own.

Vulnerable:  Each character should be vulnerable in some way.

W        Weather:  Reports on the weather are not romantic

X         X marks the spot:  Where you need to revise

Y         You:  You the author must write the book from your heart, listening to and weighing suggestions and criticisms of others.

Z          Zap:  Get rid of infinitives, author intrusions, and viewpoint muddles.

The Smarts

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This website is the work of Starla Criser, an author who has published more than 50 stories, both traditionally and through self-publishing routes.
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