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Lane02
04-20-2005, 07:44 PM
I'm a 'new' writer and I'm exploring a few different genres that interest me. What is the best way to learn about romance writing - aside from reading lots of romance books (which I assume is a given.)

For those that have written books - did you find certain 'How to Write' books or classes helpful, or did you just jump right in and start writing?

Thank you for any suggestions. :D

FAB
04-20-2005, 09:39 PM
I can speak from my own experience. My first novel was written directly from the heart. Dedicated to the lost of a loved lady to cancer, I followed no guidance, no rules, no advice other than the pain from within. Future novels that I have written were done under the advice of experience writers as well as the "How to..." books.

Yet, the one book that I receive the most positive feedback and the one that connects with all readers is still that book, "Unforgettable". So, which is better; being taught the ropes or listening to your heart when you write? For me, I tend to follow my heart.

Susan Gable
04-20-2005, 11:48 PM
I think you can balance both. :)

I learned by doing both at the same time - writing, and studying. I have 2 craft books I recommend to all fiction writers. Between these two books, you can get a very comprehensive education.

Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne and Dave King. You can get this in most bookstores, or they can order it for you. This book will teach you all the craft basics like POV, show vs tell, etc. It's very easy to follow.

GMC: Goal, Motivation & Conflict by Debra Dixon. Purchase from www.gryphonbooksforwriters.com . This book will help you learn how to provide a strong structure for your story by exploring what your character wants, why he wants it, and what's keeping him from getting it. Excellent, excellent book! (I don't get kickbacks on either of these books, but darn, I wish I did.)

Another book specific to romance, and very interesting because it was done by a romance editor is Writing a Romance Novel for Dummies by Leslie Wainger.

Writing does need to come from your heart to make an impact on your readers. I am known to sit here and weep with my characters when they're sad, and it's by doing that that I'm able to convey that strong sense of emotion on the page and transfer it to the reader. (FAB, you were likely channeling your own pain and getting it onto the page, and that's why it connected so well with the readers.)

But if you want to increase your chances of getting published (and maybe you don't want to be published, which is fine.) you need to know certain things. A writer who hasn't mastered POV is not so likely to sell something until they can demonstrate that mastery in their work. There is no reason a writer cannot tell a story of the heart while telling it in a way that applies the lessons of craft.

So I recommend you do BOTH. Start writing, keep writing, but also begin educating yourself. :)

Good luck!

Susan G.

Lane02
04-21-2005, 12:07 AM
Thanks so much for the input - and book recommendations. I am going to go check them out.

I wrote so often when I was younger. But, when I got to college I went the 'business' route and wrote next to nothing over the past 10 years :o .

I am starting to rediscover my passion - but I think I am petrified :scared: . When I was younger, I used to think of myself as a writer. Now, I just think, "I used to be a writer a really long time ago... but the world has now passed me by."

I know I need to just open the notebook and let loose - but I'm trying to learn the basics at the same time. I realize I am pretty much starting over and I am VERY out of practice :Headbang: .

melodychef
04-21-2005, 12:27 AM
My mother was like you, only she is an artist. In high school she won awards for her paintings, and then she gave it all up to have kids. Then, when I was about 12, she started painting again. At first she painted wooden apple magnets...not very exciting. But over the past fifteen years, she has grown and grown. She's had her own art show, people by her work over e-bay, and a day doesn't go by where she isn't planning to do some sort of painting.

So, if you love to write, just do it. Everything else will come as you practice.

Good luck,

Melody

Lane02
04-21-2005, 12:35 AM
Thanks for the vote of confidence :Thumbs: .

All of my life, people have told me that I am an excellent writer. However, I realized that I used to be an excellent writer. I think in my mind I am afraid that if I try, I will suck (for lack of a better word.) For the past month I have been READING about writing - yet I have not written a single word.

It is time to jump into the cold water - not dip my baby toe in, I suppose.

LOL - I think I may have hijacked my own thread. Sorry if I'm going off topic!:Smack:

Julie Worth
04-21-2005, 12:54 AM
For the past month I have been READING about writing - yet I have not written a single word.

I can only write when Iím connected to that particular stream of consciousness where all ideas reside. When Iím there, Iím not aware of any rules. Iím not trying to do anything in particular, because Iím not in the picture anymore. When Iím there (or not there), the writing needs very little editing. Some of the books listed above are very good for editing, but not for writing. For that, Iíd recommend Kingís On Writing. Or I can save you the troubleóhundreds of pages boil down to one thing: write from a situation. And thatís all I do. No worries about plotóif I donít know whatís going to happen, how can the reader know? No worries about dialogue either. If my characters are real, they will talk for themselves; they will do all the work.

Calico
04-30-2005, 01:39 AM
Thanks so much for the input - and book recommendations. I am going to go check them out.

I wrote so often when I was younger. But, when I got to college I went the 'business' route and wrote next to nothing over the past 10 years :o .

I am starting to rediscover my passion - but I think I am petrified :scared: . When I was younger, I used to think of myself as a writer. Now, I just think, "I used to be a writer a really long time ago... but the world has now passed me by."

I know I need to just open the notebook and let loose - but I'm trying to learn the basics at the same time. I realize I am pretty much starting over and I am VERY out of practice :Headbang: .
I know how you feel. I am just getting back to my writing after 10 years and I am terrified!

BTW - I'm new here, so...Hi everybody!

IWrite
04-30-2005, 05:35 AM
Lane -

Before you can even hope to write a good story - you need to understand the basic fundamentals of the craft. Some people have an innate understanding of character arcs, flow, set-up, rising action, climax, denoument, pacing etc. but very few do innately understand it. The vast majority need to learn it. You need to learn what it means for a character to be multi-dimensional before you can ever hope to create characters that are. You need to know the tools that help create multi-dimensional characters - so that you can do it yourself. You need to understand the concept of showing vs. telling and what expostion is.

The easiest way to learn these things is to take a class or workshop on writing that teaches these fundamentals. Many local community college offer them and there are also many good workshops available online. If that's not feasible - then read some books on the craft of fiction writing.

Different genres have different conventions and requirements - so once you know the basics of fiction writing in general - you should study a little about the specific genre that you are intersted in - not just by reading books in that genre (though I suggest you do so - but also by taking a class or reading a book about writing a particular genre.

While it may be good advice to "write from your heart" that applies to story and theme - your heart cannot help you craft a good story if your brain doesn't know how.

veinglory
04-30-2005, 12:27 PM
I have never found books for writers very useful but I would recommend looking at publishers vision statements and submission guidelines. My first book was not a publishable length or topic. I think it would be wise to balance inspiration and knowledge of market to ensure that your first book is both original and marketable.

IWrite
05-01-2005, 12:10 AM
Veinglory

What good does knowing the submission guidelines do for you - if you don't know how to structure a plot or the difference between summary narrative and scenes or what POV means?

Noah Lukeman's The First Five Pages is great - because not only does he cover everything from characterization to pacing to dialogue - he's also an agent, so he's coming to it from a place of what it takes to get signed and published.

Personally I think workshops and classes are the way to go - but if you can't do that you still need to learn the basics of storytelling. There are so many people posting their work for critique who have absolutely no idea what they are doing.

If you want to play the piano - you have to learn the notes before you can do so. If you want to Salsa - you have to learn the steps - and if you want to write fiction you have to learn the basics.

writersliving
06-21-2005, 12:38 AM
:idea: well my don't think I need a book to learn how to write romance. I very romantic in my own way. I love to watch those kind of pictures. I never read any books on that yet, but I think with the ideas I have I can make as a romance writer. plus when I write I feel the feelings of a love story.:kiss:

NCwriter
06-21-2005, 02:38 AM
:idea: well my don't think I need a book to learn how to write romance. I very romantic in my own way. I love to watch those kind of pictures. I never read any books on that yet, but I think with the ideas I have I can make as a romance writer. plus when I write I feel the feelings of a love story.:kiss:

Merely my personal opinion, but I agree with what Susan and Iwrite have said. If your goal is to be published, then you need to learn the basic fundamentals of the craft. Even if you have the most brilliant story idea in the world, if the manuscript is filled with huge info dumps, telling rather than showing, passive writing rather than active writing (something I struggle with on a daily basis because I still donít have a firm grasp on it), scenes that serve no purpose, etc...chances are the agent/editor is going to take a pass on it.

veinglory
06-22-2005, 10:19 PM
Submission guidelines do a lot of good--especially detailed ones like Harlequin that do not use jargon. And best of all, they are free.

annalee
06-24-2005, 10:57 AM
The Writer's Journey, Second Edition : Mythic Structure for Writers
by Christopher Vogler

Most everyone I've talked to agrees this book helps describe how to "plot" a novel in an easy to understand format. There are many web pages about the Writer's Journey on-line as well. So people can research the basics before commiting to buying that book.

I read this page online the other day and want to read more about this method because it sounded interesting. I honestly haven't read more than the first page, but that got me thinking.

http://www.rsingermanson.com/html/the_snowflake.html