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Writing Life

Packing a Punch from the Very First Page

So who didn't go through a harlequin or mills & boon romance stage? I know I did. One thing all these books had in common was constant awareness between hero and heroine. Looking through harlequin's website I found this. 

The Harlequin Presents Editor’s Golden Rules for Packing a Punch from the Very First Page:

 

    * Write the synopsis of your story first.

    * Know who your hero and heroine are before you start, and aim to get them together as soon as possible.

    * Keep the focus on the hero and heroine and their developing romance as much as you can.

    * Give your reader a tantalizing taste of the emotional conflict within the first few pages.

    * Give evidence of the sexual attraction between the hero and heroine, too.

    * Unfold the back-story in bite-sized pieces throughout your book—not immediately in one long, indigestible chunk!

    * Use dialogue—when the characters speak for themselves, readers will be instantly engaged.

    * Keep minor characters to an absolute minimum and use them to support the unfolding romance—don’t give them a life of their own!

    * Keep an eye on your pace—it should be tight and fast from page one, with the aim of keeping the reader turning the pages.

    * End your first chapter on a climax and invite the reader to read on.

 

It can also be tweaked to apply to a romantic subplot in any genre. A nice check for my  mystery with a romantic subplot. It's hard to get the romance in with suspense and make it believable. As for the synopsis point, do any of you do this? I tend to write a rough 5-10 page outline for the entire novel including background, plot twists, red herrings and some dialogue. Of course, my characters sometimes veer of the path giving me a surprise or two I didn't expect. A synopsis seems more compact though and a good way to also see if there's an actual story there or not. At the very least, it should help reduce the unfinished stories pile 😉

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