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On Writing Romance: How to Craft a Novel That Sells Paperback – January 30, 2007

ISBN-13: 978-1582974361 ISBN-10: 1582974365

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Writer's Digest Books (January 30, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1582974365
  • ISBN-13: 978-1582974361
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6.2 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #193,300 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Michaels is a RITA Award-nominated author of more than 75 romance novels, and she distills everything she has learned over the years into this useful writers' guide. After a short summary of the genre and a survey of the different kinds of romances, Michaels explores the process involved in writing a captivating love story. From creating convincing characters and understanding conflict to writing good dialogue and crafting an entertaining plot, On Writing Romance provides plenty of practical details and useful examples to help aspiring writers get started. Michaels even includes a concise guide to submitting a manuscript to a publisher and to marketing one's own work. A good basic introduction to a potentially gratifying pursuit suitable for most public library collections. John Charles
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

About the Author

Leigh Michaels is the author of more than 80 contemporary romance novels published by Harlequin Books and has received Reviewer's Choice awards from Romantic Times. She teaches romance writing at in-person seminars and on the Internet at Gotham Writer's Workshop and at Barnes & Noble University, and has written articles for Writer's Digest, The Writer, and the RWA journal.


More About the Author

Leigh Michaels is the author of more than 100 books, including Regency-period historical romance novels, contemporary romance novels, non-fiction books on writing, and local history books. Her romances have been published in 25 languages and in more than 125 countries around the world, and more than 35 million copies have been sold. Six of her books have been finalists in the Romance Writers of America RITA contest, and she has been honored with Reviewer's Choice awards by Romantic Times magazine. The Iowa Library Association presented her the Johnson Brigham award in 2003 for substantial and sustained literary contributions to American culture.

Her non-fiction books include On Writing Romance, which has been called the definitive guide to writing romance novels, and Creating Romantic Characters. She teaches romance writing online at Gotham Writers Workshop. She is also the coauthor with her husband, Michael W. Lemberger, of a book about the St. Louis World's Fair of 1904, and of many local history books.

She wrote her first romance novel when she was a teenager and burned it, then wrote and burned five more complete manuscripts -- sending more than a quarter of a million words up in smoke -- before submitting to a publisher. Her first submission was accepted and published by the first editor to read it.

Customer Reviews

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I have read many books on how to write over the years, and this one is by far the best.
Melinda Page
Award-winning novelist Leigh Michaels makes each stage of the writing process easier to understand throughout the book.
The title is "On Writing Romance", but writers of other genres would be very wise to pick up this book, as well.
Roxanne Rustand

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

40 of 42 people found the following review helpful By Ms. L. M. Pardoe on February 4, 2007
Format: Paperback
This is a superb book. I don't think I've ever learnt such a lot in such a short space of time and enjoyed it so much than when reading this.

What singles this book out is it's attention to detail and thoroughness. Michaels guides us all through the process from deciding to write a book, to which sub-genre suits you best, summarising all the different aspects of how to write each, straight through to editing and presenting, to writing a synopsis and query letter.

Each chapter takes one aspect of writing a novel, such as plotting, characterisation, dialogue, love scenes, sexual tension etc. and explains it in easy to read language. Then she goes on to use excerpts from different authors, together with more explanation, to illustrate each point. Its very effective and must have taken ages to compile, as she's used a wide variety of authors from both the UK and America.

Her writing and her chosen excerpts are so easy to read that it's very easy to follow, I can quite see why she`s won so many awards.

I enjoyed it so much I just wanted to hole up somewhere and read the whole book straight through, soaking up every word. There's a lot of it (257 pages) and it's quite densely printed, but that doesn't make it difficult to read because the text is broken up by subtitles, bullet points and boxouts.

As a novice writer myself I couldn't recommend it highly enough and will treasure my copy for many years to come.
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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on April 25, 2009
Format: Paperback
I'm a recent college graduate with a degree in English Literature who, very recently, came to the conclusion that if I could spend the rest of my life writing romance novels, I'd be a happy camper.

Without the time (or money) to enroll in a creative writing MFA program, or even an in-person writing workshop, I've had to "educate" myself with books on writing style.

I've read and skimmed several over the past several months--books on dialogue, scene/plot development, characterization, etc--but Leigh Michaels' "On Writing" is the ONLY style book I've been literally compelled to read cover-to-cover. Usually, I start these types of books with the best laid plans, then end up skimming or skipping to the pertinent parts (i.e., what I need help with at that moment), but THIS book is so well-structured, it pulls you along.

Aimed at the beginning romance writer (like me!), Michaels' clearly outlines common pitfalls and cliches to avoid, gives extremely helpful tips on how to write "from a male POV" or "a female POV", and goes so far as to explain the structure, layout and general guidelines for several types of romance fiction (inspiration, sweet, short contemporary, long contemporary, chick-lit AND erotica). Basically, no matter why type of romance you're trying to write, there are helpful tips for you!

It's also chock-full of excerpts from published romance novels, which helps Michaels illustrate the topics she's discussing (there's one section where she points out how silly the overusage of dialogue tags can be that made me laugh out loud).

I just bought this book yesterday and, despite the fact that it's really just a style book, I've read almost the entire 250-some pages.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By DarcyB on November 4, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am trained in script and story editing, have produced literally hundreds of books to unabridged audio and am a bit of a writing book junkie - by no means am I a beginner in storycraft. I bought this book because I wanted something tailored to the romance genre and that is exactly what this book gives you. Yes, you could spend hours on the internet finding similar information and, yes, if you've done your research you'll have heard a lot of it before but this book not only collects it for you in one place but is also utterly entertaining. The book arrived late this afternoon and I have just finished it. It's 3a.m. - I couldn't put it down.
Michaels' passion for the subject is in every word. This is not a book written by someone jaded who wants to be able to point at her book when the 4,999,999th person asks her what the formula for romance writing is! She is also generous with her knowledge. So often one gets the feeling that the author of a writing book is holding something back for themselves - not quite fully explaining a point here or there, alluding to something you sense is more important than they are admitting. Not so here. In fact Michaels is so generous that at one point she even uses a sentence from her own (I assume earlier) work as an example of what not to do!
Highly recommended.
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24 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Baron Von Cool on April 4, 2011
Format: Paperback
While there are certainly some excellent romance-writing specific bits in here, most of the information is the same old basic how-to write any type of genre stuff. I have at least a dozen of those already. I wanted the whole book to be specifically on writing romance novels and it was far from it. If you are new to writing and want to do romance then this book is a good investment, maybe four or even five stars. But if you already know how to write, this book is not really worth it in my opinion.

Things I learned from this book were to always introduce your hero and heroine in chapter one and there should be some kind of tension between them right away. Don't let them fall in love too fast or too late. Don't separate them for more than a chapter or two at a time; find ways to bring them and keep together as much as possible. Keep ramping up the romantic tension between them by using a lot of tags (like "her ivory shoulders beckoned to him" instead of "he wanted to hold her"). Make sure the romance never takes a backseat to anything else. A lot of the "rules" of romantic fiction seem to be just common sense but there are a several that will not be readily apparent to a writer unfamiliar with the genre and that's where this book shines. Unfortunately, there's just not enough romance-specific tips and tricks to justify the price for me.

Other useful books I recommend for writing romance (or any genre, for that matter) are: Romance Writer's Phrase Book (Perigee),
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