If you follow me in any way (this blog, social media etc.), you already know that I’ve always wanted to write romance novels. I knew this from an early age, but was led to believe that it couldn’t be a full-time career (a fair point, though not as impossible as I’d believed). I didn’t give the dream much attention when I was younger because of this. It was only when I was in my final year at university and I had to find a job that I realised writing was the only job I wanted. But I had no idea where to start.
Which isn’t that uncommon.
Just because you want something, doesn’t make it viable (she says, thinking about her lottery tickets). It took me a while to figure out I was overthinking it. When it comes to writing, the best place to start is the beginning:
With an idea.
This seems straightforward, right? And in some ways, it is. To write a romance novel, you have to have an idea. Because it’s a romance novel, your idea should probably involve two (or more) people falling in love. My first idea went something like this: after her CFO runs away with her charity’s money, my heroine is forced to turn to the hero for help. Except the hero’s her ex, who broke her heart when she was a teenager.
It’s a decent premise, one I might have revisited later if the rest of the manuscript wasn’t a mess. (I’ve spoken before about the drug addicted CFO and the kidnapping. And I wasn’t writing a romantic suspense. Go ahead, laugh. I deserve it.) Its first chapter got me in the top 25 of the So You Think You Can Write competition in 2014. Because it was a mess, it didn’t get further, but it propelled me to my second idea: an office romance. And this one eventually became my first published novel.
Do you see where I’m going with this?
I didn’t know what I was doing when I first started writing. All I knew was that I wanted to write. But I had an idea. And that idea led me to my second idea, which eventually led me to my publishing contract. So, if you want to write a romance novel and you don’t know where to start, do so at the beginning: with an idea.
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