Tuesday 4 November 2014

On the rules of modern romantic fiction

In case any of you are planning a career as a romantic novelist, here are some useful guidelines from the Mills & Boon website relating to their so-called 'Modern' category (to be distinguished from, say, 'Medical' and Historical' genres):

Featured in Modern

Modern has classic themes, but we're looking for innovative takes. What would you say if a billionaire demanded you agree to a marriage of convenience? Does a secret baby have to mean a shot-gun wedding? He might have a legendary playboy reputation, but what if she's just as notorious? Our heroes are 100% alpha but that doesn't mean they're perfect. Sheikh, Greek, Russian, Italian, English, American…wherever he's from, it's certain that he turns the heads of every woman he passes!

Modern Key Elements
  • A hero who will command and seduce. There's nothing in the world his powerful authority and money can't buy… except the love of a woman strong enough to tame him!
  • A Modern heroine isn't afraid to stand up to the hero in her own way, whether she's at home in his opulent world or not. She can be shy and innocent, feisty and daring or anywhere in between.
  • These stories are pure romantic fantasy with glitzy, glamorous, international settings to upstage even the swankiest of red-carpet premieres!
  • High sensuality and sky-rocketing sexual tension to quicken your pulse
  • Captivating internal emotional conflicts that will sustain the story over 50,000 words.
  • Tone should be contemporary but with a strong intensity, delivering an instant hit of powerful emotion
  • Give classic themes a fresh 21st century twist - tease, surprise and delight.
For explanations and tips about conflict, dialogue and emotion please click on I Love Romance 

I think it's as easy to write romantic fiction as it is to write good pop lyrics, by which I mean it isn't easy at all and requires a particular kind of genius. I say this without condescension because if I could do either (and make a living from it) I'd be perfectly happy and satisfied to do so. Really. So perhaps I should give it a go. 
Working title: The Handsome Doctor

   Nurse Nancy Headstrong gazed across the sickbeds of the children's' ward at St Heartstrings. There he was, the    dark and intense paediatrician Dr. Sterne, with his ice-blue eyes and healing hands, delicately palpating a poorly five-year-old, murmuring gently.  If only he would look up and see her, in freshly-starched uniform, regulation shoes and modern hair-do. But here came the matron. Better look busy.

See? Really difficult to get the tone.

Text © Mills & Boon, an imprint of Harlequin

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