Saturday, July 21, 2012


Writing a Romance Novel for Dummies
by Leslie J. Wainger

Writing a Romance Novel for Dummies by Leslie J. Wainger
Publication Date: May 7, 2004
Publisher: Wiley Publishing, Inc.
Length: 384 pages


Rating: 4.0♥s Very Good/Recommended
Genre: Reference/Writing Romance

You're not a dummie.

But perhaps you're an aspiring romance author and you're just dipping your toes into the waters of romance novel writing. Or maybe you've got a few manuscripts written and you're looking for some advice to improve your writing.

This book is for you.

Leslie Wainger took everything she learned as a romance editor for Harlequin/Silhouette/MIRA and turned it into a guide for romance novel writers. The beauty of Writing a Romance Novel for Dummies is that it is specific to romance novels. You can find plenty of books about writing characters, plots, scenes, dialogue, etc. But Wainger interprets all these topics as they pertain to the romance hero, heroine, and plot.

Part I covers the world of romance writing, including romance writing at a glance. An overview of the market and the definition of a romance and subgenres are included in this section. Please note that this book was published in 2004 and some of this information is now out of date. I docked the book one-half ♥ for that reason. Don't let that keep you from buying the book, however. There is plenty of classic advice included.

Part II is about the building blocks of a romance. Topics covered are the hero, heroine, plot, setting, and outline. Those starting out or revising a work in progress will find inspiration in this section. Part III covers the actual writing of the novel, such as voice, dialogue, pacing, and love scenes. I don't agree with all of Wainger's lessons in Parts II and III. For instance, she believes that head-hopping is acceptable. You'll have to decide for yourself. But there is invaluable information in these two sections. Part IV is about the crucial hook that captures the reader, doing research, and mechanics.

Part V covers submitting your manuscript, handling rejections, and making the sale. Again, this section is out of date. The submission advice is geared toward submitting to Harlequin and the big New York publishing houses. There is no mention of e-books or self-publishing. Part V is the Dummies' "Part of Tens," lists of ten tips, such as how to come up with a title and how to beat writer's block.

In short, while some of the information is out of date, there are enough timeless lessons on the craft of writing a romance novel to make this a well-highlighted addition to your reference library.

Happy reading and writing!

You may also be interested in:

On Writing Romance: How to Craft a Novel That Sells
Leigh Michaels

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