Friday, 8 February 2013

A Guide To Writing Romance - Part Eight

Authors often do a lot of research before putting pen to paper, and it is so very tempting to include all the fascinating details you’ve uncovered about a particular topic. However, it is important to restrain yourself! I once read a novel, set in Turkey, that was more of a travelogue than a romance.  The author clearly couldn’t resist including loads of extra details about Turkey. However, when a reader feels the needs to skip past large swathes of descriptive text to get to the meat of the story, then you know there’s something amiss.

Here are some more tips about this theme from “The Guide To Writing Romance” online course:
Eighth Secret: Every detail has a job to do

Detail is compelling. It’s exciting to research, and satisfying to include in your writing. It can tell us so much about your characters and your setting.

But too much, and you can choke on it, as James Wood says, in How Fiction Works.  Significant detail must have a reason to be there. Every description and every subsidiary character must take the story forward or develop your main characters.

Don’t get carried away by your research and write reams just for the sake of showing it off. Research is like good make-up. It should make you look better, but you shouldn’t be aware of it.

Think of your best friend. Which details, of her appearance and habits would you choose to include if she were your heroine? What will tell us more about what she looks like and what she’s like as a person? It could be as simple as a dimple, if people respond to it, or she uses it flirtatiously. Or it could be her habit of alphebetising her bookshelves.

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