Everyone Needs A Little Help Sometimes

For various reasons, writing has been hard for me this year. I finished my first manuscript early in the year and took a bit of a break before I started planning my second.

I’ve never been a very thorough planner. I’ve had vague outlines before, but I’ve always been a pantster at heart. For this second story I set about finding a good way to plan, because everything I’d tried before had fallen flat. My main aim: to write faster.

romancing the beat coverLike every aspiring writer,  I’ve read various blog posts and books about writing craft, but nothing really seemed to fit writing romance. Then during my Twitter time, I noticed that several published authors who I read or follow on Twitter kept recommending Gwen Hayes’ book, ‘Romancing the Beat’ – Story Structure for Writing Romance. Or as Gwen calls it ‘Writing Kissing Books‘.

To say that this book is a revelation is an understatement.

I bought the paperback because I like to highlight and write on stuff. I could’ve highlighted the entire book! Her writing style is funny and often irreverent. She’s a successful romance author in her own right, as well as an editor to others. So, as far as I’m concerned, she’s the person I wanted to be ‘talking’ to.

An extract from the blurb captures the uniqueness of writing romance: “Writing a well-structured romance isn’t the same as writing any other genre—something the popular novel and screenwriting guides don’t address. The romance arc is made up of its own story beats, and the external plot and theme need to be braided to the romance arc—not the other way around.”

A lightbulb went off in my head and suddenly everything made sense. Gwen then takes you through twenty romance beats, split into four easy to follow sections. I duly bought some index cards in four different colours –  they’re so pretty – and planned my second book.

Below is an example of the first phase of beats:

gwen c

PDF available on her website just click the image

It still wasn’t easy to plan my writing because I struggle to see the story very clearly until I’m writing it. I’m pretty sure that’s something that I’ve just got to accept about myself. However, I have now got a SOLID outline and I know where my MCs need to be emotionally at each beat in the story.

So as I’m writing, I can change and fiddle with the setting or characters in a scene without altering too much because I’m following the overall plan. It’s genius, really.

I thought that planning meant I couldn’t be flexible and go off on an interesting tangent if I wanted to, but actually, it gives me the freedom to do that, knowing that I’m not going to get lost.

I can’t recommend this book enough if you’re trying to write kissing books.

Happy writing,

KTx

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A List For Those Who Love A Librarian In Their Romance

librarian

A while ago, I put out a quick request on Twitter for librarian heroes and heroines. My phone nearly exploded with comments and RTs! I love Romance Twitter – everyone is just so enthusiastic about sharing their love of books.

I got so many recs that I decided to make a list and share it. Some I already had, but over 25 came from Twitter. So if you’re in the mood for some sexy librarian action – this is the list for you.

I’ve already read several of these books since they were recommended to me, and they were all great. I particularly loved Anne Calhoun’s ‘The Seal’s Rebel Librarian’.

I hope you find something that you’re looking for…

Enjoy!

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Don’t Stop Believing by Gwen Hayes (m/m)

Olivia Dade’s Lovestruck Librarians series:

Broken Resolutions

My Reckless Valentine

Mayday

Ready To Fall

Driven To Distraction

Hidden Hearts

Taking The Heat by Victoria Dahl

Looking For Trouble by Victoria Dahl

Fanning The Flames by Victoria Dahl

Hard Times by Cara McKenna (m/f)

Breathe by Kristen Ashley (m/f)

Taken with you by Shannon Stacey

Best Kind of Trouble by Lauren Dane

What the Librarian Did by Karina Bliss

Pages of the Mind by Jeffe Kennedy (fantasy)

The Gift by Tiffany Reisz (can’t find the link for some reason).

Busted by Shiloh Walker

Rock Addiction (Rock Kiss series) by Nalini Singh

A Seditious Affair by KJ Charles (bookseller m/m)

Falling For Trouble by Sarah Title (Librarians in Love series)

Laws of Attraction by Sarah Title (Librarians in Love series)

The Undateable by Sarah Title (Librarians in Love series)

Jaded by Anne Calhoun

The Seal’s Rebel Librarian by Anne Calhoun

Louder Than Love by Jessica Topper

In Too Deep by Portia da Costa

Addicted by Charlotte Stein

Junk by Josephine Myles (m/m)

The Story Guy by Mary Ann Rivers

Rocky Mountain Devil by Vivian Arend

Deceptions by Cynthia Eden

Royally Matched by Emma Chase

Mister Hockey: Hellions Angels by Lia Riley