It’s finally here, everyone! Our #HistoricalHeroes are armoured up, their swords are at the ready and they are set for battle! Our email address, Historical.Heroes@hqnuk.co.uk is now live and all this week we will be accepting submissions for the hottest Regency/Victorian heroes around!
For full details of the competition see https://www.millsandboon.co.uk/historicalheroes-writing-competition-details. Please note that the ‘rules’ are flexible, so if you have a hero who doesn’t fit perfectly into one category or the other, you can submit to whichever week feels the closest!
So, what is that will make us sit up in our seats and crown your hero Tournament Champion?
1. Open with a bang! Capture our attention from the very first page – whether this is by witty dialogue, a point of change or an exciting or dramatic moment. And don’t be afraid to shock – we love Bronwyn Scott’s opening line for How to Sin Successfully – “Rumour held that Riordan Barrett could bring a woman to climax at fifteen feet using only his eyes”. Now that’s a hero I want to meet!
2. Create strong emotional conflicts. Conflict is what drives your story forwards and gives the central romance that all important ‘will they, won’t they’ tension. What is it that has shaped your hero and heroine into the people they are now? What emotional obstacles will they have to overcome when they meet, in order to be together? What are the turning points of the story going to be – positive and negative? Doing this will make sure your readers are desperate to find out how your characters will get their Happy Ever After!
3. A gorgeous hero! In case you hadn’t guessed, here on the Historical team, we’re big fans of the Historical hunk! So, portray your hero in all his glory! Is he rakish and debauched? Honourable and protective? Brave and loyal? Make us fall in love with him from the very first page!
4. A relatable heroine. In the Historical series we have a wide range of heroines, so your heroine could be feisty and defying the conventions of her time, or warm and caring with a heart of gold, whatever you like! As long as she’s someone your reader can identify with, she will become the ideal match for your hero. And don’t feel you have to make her perfect – we love heroines who have flaws just like us!
5. Create chemistry! We have a whole range of sensuality in our line – from the sizzling and scorching to the sweet and tender. Always go with whatever feels right for the story, if you try to push the sensuality too far out of your comfort zone that will come across on the page. But, however overtly sexy (or not!) you choose to go, the chemistry and spark between your hero and heroine should be prsent right the way through your story, and the tension should come across in every interaction they have.
6. Show, don’t tell! It’s something writers hear over and over again, but it’s so vital to keep the pace of your story up, so always think, are you dumping too much information on readers in one go? If so, think about how to gradually reveal your key characters in a subtle way. Show your readers who they are through their actions and insight into their thoughts and feelings rather than telling them straight up!
7. Use a fresh voice! Just because you’re writing a story set in the past, that doesn’t mean you need to write in an antiquated fashion (no ‘tis, ‘twas and ‘twere please!). The best way to bring your writing to life and keep the pace of your story up is to write in an up-to-date, sparky way that will immediately resonate with your readers. Though beware of anachronisms. Don’t have your hero talking about his Facebook and Twitter feeds J!
8. Make sure the plot doesn’t overshadow the central romance. In the Historical series, there is definite scope to explore the world your characters are living in, in fact, we encourage authentic historical detail. But, while it’s fine to include a thread of intrigue, a hint of mystery or extra scenes to give a sense of the world you’re creating, ultimately it is the romance which sends our readers back to our stories time and time again, so this should always be your absolute focus!
9. Don’t let secondary characters steal the spotlight! Friends and family members can add a wonderful flavour to your story, but don’t let them take over; it’s the hero and heroine who your readers want to see every step of the way!
10. Write about what interests you. Writing a storyline you’re passionate about is the best way to let your natural voice shine through. We’re always open to new, exciting and innovative ideas and a wide range of historical time periods and settings, so don’t be afraid to try something different – if you’re interested in it, your passion will come across in the story!
And that’s it for now, folks! We’re SO excited to see what you all have in store for us and wish the best of luck to everyone entering!
May the best of the #HistoricalHeroes come out on top!
Linda, Kathryn and Nicola
Harlequin Mills & Boon Historical Romance team