Writing Short Romance
on February 21, 2013
On Valentine’s Day, I was on the Books To Go Now Blog talking about writing short story romances. All of my sweet, contemporary romances are 8,000 words which is a format that seems to work well for digital reading.
Here are some of the tips I gave. You can read the whole blog post here.
1. Don’t Overpopulate Your Story: A short story should focus on your hero and heroine. It’s okay to have some walk-on minor characters, and those minor characters might have their own story later. For example, in my sweet, contemporary romance, VINTAGE VALENTINE, Cassie and Eric make a brief appearance as neighbors to the Elmheart Hotel. But, Cassie and Eric have their own story in LOVE’S BID, a sweet, contemporary romance in the Sailor Series published with BookstoGoNow.
2. Start with the Action: In a short story, there is a limited word count. It’s really important to choose the exact right moment when everything changes for two characters and they move toward their happily ever after. Besides writing romance, I also write middle grade and young adult short stories. Those stories are limited to 500 words, sometimes! I learned quickly to get to the heart of the story! I like to ask myself the following questions: If this was a novel? What would be the moment of crisis? How can I get to that moment of crisis fast? Very often, a short story is that key climax, moment of crisis in a novel.
3. World Building is Your Friend: When writing short romances, you’ll want to create a rich, multidimensional world with the possibilities for many spin-off and series stories. If you’re writing about a town, it’s not going to be possible to include every detail about that town in your short story. But, if you do create a town, that will open up possibilities for creating many, many stories about other parts of that town. For example, my stories are set in a town in Western, New York. My first three stories in the Sailor Romance Series were about characters who all participated on a Sailing Club Board. My current series are stories set around an old hotel. If you do create a fictional town, it helps to draw a map of the town and keep it nearby when writing so you have the directions and layout of the town at your fingertips.