3 Steps to Romance Writing Success

3 Steps to Romance Writing Success

Three of the Harlequin UK Editorial Acquistion team – Sheila, Charlotte and Nic – left Paradise Heights to venture to the headquarters of WHSmith in Swindon to give a Romance writing Masterclass. This is what happened… (report by Nic)


This was a slightly unusual gig for us, we’re used to talking to potential authors at writer’s groups, libraries and conferences, but this was the first time we’ve held a Romance Writing Masterclass at one of our key retailers. It was very impressive that so many of their staff were interested in writing, as well as selling romance!  We were met with many friendly faces and tons of enthusiasm. Some of the group were budding writers and others were simply curious, but all were attentive and had plenty of questions to keep us on our toes!  What a great audience!

After getting to grips with the projector (oh the joys of technology…) we were off! In just over an hour we explored everything from fantastic first lines to our top tips for approaching those sizzling sexy scenes!

But just how do you go about writing a romance novel? With today’s increasingly saturated market, where should the eager aspiring author begin? Read on for our three steps to success!

Know your audience!

Romance is such a broad and varied genre that it can be incredibly difficult to know exactly who you want to write for. Our series model makes targeting your novel to a particularly reader easy, and it’s a fantastic place to start!

Whether you favour the sweet and sparkling romance of Cherish, or the heady concoction of high fantasy and intensity of Modern Romance, there’s a series to tantalize everyone’s taste buds – readers and writers alike.

Tips for targeting your writing to one of our series can be found here https://www.millsandboon.co.uk/Content/ContentPage/8.

Take your characters (and reader) on a journey!

It’s so important to make sure that your characters evolve from the person they are at the beginning of your novel into the one we see at the end. Use emotional highs and lows to take your reader with your characters on this romantic journey.

Ask yourself these questions:

What are the initial conflicts keeping your hero and heroine from falling in love?
What are the different barriers that make up your story’s tense emotional rollercoaster?
How will your characters overcome that bleak moment where everything looks to be lost?
How will they compromise, what might they sacrifice or how will they evolve in order to be with the one they love?

Make them earn that Happily Ever After!

Innovate rather than emulate!

Across all series we’re continually acquiring fresh voices that bring our books bang up to date. Who says your heroine can’t be equally as rich, successful or notorious as your hero? And why on earth can’t your sexy medical hero be a male nurse?! Catapult your reader into the action with an original, gripping opening that sets the tone for the rest of the book. Defy those misconceptions and exceed our expectations!

So, have we inspired you to write for us? What will you submit?

Follow Nic on Twitter @NicolaCaws