Friday, January 11, 2008

University Day: Writing Tips


Congratulations to the January *Name that Title* Contest Winner: KRISTY!
The hints were: 1. The setting of this particular novel is Northern California.2. It is published by Moonlit Romance.3. The original title was *Meddling Mamas*.4. The author is Laura Hamby.5. Includes a scene in which one of the heroine's best friends explains the facts of life as she puts condiments on a hot dog. KRISTY'S correct response was It's All Greek to Me. Congratulations, Kristy! Please email Laura at ueauthorsblog @ with your choice of title from her backlist and your format choice. Put *Title Contest Winner* in the subject line. You can check out Laura's backlist HERE.


We write a wide-range of novels for By Grace and Moonlit Romance---from inspirational, tender/sweet at By Grace to racier titles for Moonlit Romance, and today, the UE authors share their tips.

Nell Dixon

1. Always write from the heart.
2. Tender/sweet romance is the most powerful writing because the reader is immersed in the emotions of the heroine and hero. The writers role is to take them there.
3. Never be frightened of writing emotions.

Denise Patrick

Tips for writing Inspirational Romance

1. Understand your characters' faith or lack of faith
2. Don't try to create "over the top" crises; the smallest things often create the largest obstacles
3. Know your Bible and how to apply its teachings to your characters' lives

Meg Allison

Writing Tender/Sweet stories:

1. While writing your story, think of your audience. I usually think about how I’d feel if one of my young teenage daughters were going to read what I’ve written. Would you be comfortable letting a 12 or 13-year-old read it? If not, back to the drawing board.
2. The hero and heroine of tender/sweet stories can and should be physically attracted to one another. What’s love without a little chemistry? Just avoid detailed descriptions of that attraction.
3. In tender/sweet romances, the gentle emotions should take precedence over more lustful ones. It’s very easy to show your characters falling in love with small glances, little sighs, soft whispers, etc.

Cindy Green

For writing sweet/tender

1. Create endearing characters who can carry a story. Make them lively, interesting, and believable.
2. Make it an emotional tale that hits your reader right to the heart.
3. There should be physical attraction and sexual tension in the story without needing to go beyond and written in such a way that what you leave out isn’t even missed.

JoAnn Carter

By Grace Inspie.

Write for an audience of one… God.
Spend time in prayer, asking God to show you what He’d desire you to write.
Show your characters relationship with God rather than telling your reader.

Dayne Gearner

For Moonlit:

There's no nice way to say it, but the most important part of writing is to 1) apply the butt to the chair. There's a point when you just have to dive in and start. 2) Research and 3) preparation are very important, but the day comes when you have to just "jump off the cliff" and do it. Start writing.

Judy Huston

1. Always be aware of how your characters are feeling: their emotions will drive your story.
2. Remember that as well as being tender, romance is also a lot of fun.
3. Care about your characters, warts and all – and don’t be afraid to give them just a few of those warts!

Laura Hamby

I write for both By Grace and Moonlit Romance, but it looks like there's going to be plenty of tips on writing inspies and tenders, so I'll pitch for Moonlit.

1. Don't write sex for the sake of sex. Focus on the emotions of the moment to make it a satisfactory scene to read. I'd hazard a guess that most of us are familar enough with the mechanics, so it's not necessary to incorporate a detailed description of what went where.
2. There's more to a plot than the nookie. The characters need to be real, likeable people worth rooting for--- show them falling in love, dealing with their baggage, functioning as actual, living, breathing people do.
3. Show, don't tell. Action is tangible, draws the reader in and makes it hard to put your book down.

Sherry (Shara) Jones

I write for both By Grace and Moonlit Romance, but for this University Day lesson, I’ll focus on writing tips for the Tender/Sweet line.

1. The first tip is Emotion, Emotion, Emotion. Just when you think you’ve added enough emotion, add just a little bit more.
2. When writing for the Tender/Sweet line, the writer is limited in the use of physical body actions (watch those wandering hands, tongues, etc.). The writer MUST rely on strong dialogue and. …emotion!
3. Keep your characters real. People don’t come equipped with a halo. They have faults and foibles, so let your characters be real as well.

Josh Lockwood

1. Do your research. For a historical, nothing is more important than this. If your historical facts are not correct, you can fully expect someone to call you on it.
2. Flood the senses. In creating a setting, try to make the reader to experience it with all five senses.
3. Use correct dialogue. Trying to speak in the update, fad, cool lingo of today just doesn’t get it done for a historical.

Gina Hartoog


* To be creditable, your story should be true-to-life – the plot shouldn’t be too outrageous or hard to believe.
* Remember the five senses. They are one of the strongest tools you have to craft your story and create human emotion and conflict.
* Avoid flowery language but rather use strong verbs. Your reader must be able to relate to
your heroin/hero and care about what happens to her or him.

Judy Jarvie

Taking The Leap was a ‘Moonlit Madness’ release. My tip for writing sensual stories in a ‘hotter’ level of story is write with passion but within your own comfort zone, not as if your Granny/Mother/Aunty Audrey is reading or listening. That doesn’t mean to say go crazy, just find what level you’re happiest at. My book was short=listed for a UK award – the judges praised its ‘plausible love scene’. I figured that meant I’d done it well, without being obtrusive or gratuitous. Write what makes YOU tick!

MG Braden

Tips for writing an inspirational romance:

1. Write from your heart.
2. Try not to be preachy, you are not giving a sermon but rather showing a romantic relationship that is tested or held together by faith.
3. Let your faith guide you.

Jessica Raymond

Be realistic. Don’t have characters doing things that would make no sense in the real world. This applies even if you’re writing paranormal or fantasy romance – stay within the bounds of the *faintly* believable!

Atmosphere is everything, especially with paranormal. Picking up on the finer details (e.g. the colour of the approaching storm clouds, or the steady ominous drip of a tap down the hallway) will add more layer into your story than you might expect.

Put yourself in your character’s shoes. Feel what they can feel, hear what they can hear. If you were lying in bed in a large, empty, supposedly-haunted house, what sort of prickles would run across your skin if you heard a floorboard creak outside your door?

Margaret Callaghan

In order to make the dialogue as realistic and lively as possible, I try to psych myself into the role of the heroine, so that her reactions would be my reactions if placed in such a situation. This also helps bring out the emotion. Basically, I need to believe in the characters I have created in
order to make the book come to life.

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