Read on for the final instalment of “The Guide To Writing Romance” online course :
Tenth Secret: Edit well
If you’ve developed your characters properly, and advanced your narrative effectively, then your greatest task is to write until the end. Just about everything else can be fixed in the rewrite.
It’s hard to do. Your writer-self is in love with every word and as proud as a new mother. To edit effectively, you have to push this maternal being aside and “murder the babies”, as Ezra Pound said.
You have to switch into being a critical editor, rather than a sensitive writer. You must look at every scene, character and detail. Do they take the story forward? Is there a reason for them to be there?
Here’s a tip: Take a pile of white index cards and allocate one to each chapter in your book. Write a one-sentence description of each scene. If you can’t write down what happens in a scene, you’ll have to seriously consider whether it deserves to be there. What is its purpose? Be ruthless.
Cut adjectives and look for the dreaded sagging middle. If things sag in the middle, look for scenes where nothing much happens. Kill them or make sure something happens that will move your story along.
They’re easy to say, but harder to adhere to. I guarantee, though, that if you can make these points work for you, you’ll have a publishable Romance, full of love, conflict and suspense.
Write the first page of your romance – no more than 300 words. The first paragraphs of a story must draw your reader in, and make sure they carry the book to the till. Make sure you don’t waste your most critical passage on background or too much description.
Start in a scene where something is happening. In the process, we’d like to meet your heroine and glimpse her environment – not in great detail, but we’d like to form our first impression of her and her world.