Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Writing Category Romance Doesn't Mean Skimping on Depth

I am always frustrated when I hear romance authors talk about writing category as a way to learn how to write before you write serious books. Oh come on! Their only premise is that writing category is for those people who can't produce more that 55,000 words. I hate to break this to you, but if you have ever tried to write a true category romance, it is a heck of a lot harder than you think.

Just because the story is under that 100,000 word count length DOES NOT mean the authors should skimp on the depth of storytelling. Please understand, I am not talking about adding a lot of small sub-plots to the story. I am talking about world building and character development. As one of the descriptions for one of the category lines says, "these are big stories in small packages."

To achieve this depth, a writer has to make every word and every scene count. Descriptions have to pack both introspection and world building into phrases that many single title authors feel they have to take a full chapter to do.

For those of you considering submitting to me here at Greyhaus in those category lines, I want you to really stop and think about what we know at the end of the first two chapters. I want to know A LOT about your characters. No, this is not past backstory and plot. No, this does not have to deal extensively with the storyline. And, no, I don't have to see them in bed and having a full on romance after the first meeting. I want to really get to know who these people are AS people. Emotion, motivation, depth. That's the key.

The same goes for scene building. Don't just tell me it's an Italian restaurant. Bring me into it. Draw me into your story.

If not, expect some rejections - not just from me, but for anyone (editors and agents alike) that acquire category romance.


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