Monday, October 25, 2010


Another fabulous Tony Mauro cover!
This one is for FORGOTTEN SEA,
out in June 2011.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Emotion Workshop Handout

Adding Emotion, Making a Sale - Workshop Handout
Virginia Kantra

New Jersey Romance Writers
October 2010

Solid writing skills don’t guarantee sales. An emotionally compelling story does. Award-winning author Virginia Kantra shares practical strategies you can use to hook readers’—and editors’—emotions.


What the editor says/What you can do about it:
1. She says: “I don’t feel there’s enough keeping the hero and heroine apart.”
You do: Choose an essentially emotional conflict (based on well-motivated emotional need) that is more important than/aggravated by the external conflict.
It has to be deep; personal; increasingly complicated with rising stakes.
The conflict must pose a threat to the h/h’s very sense of self.
How? Goal, Motivation, Conflict; scene selection.

2. She says: “The plot overshadows the romance.”
You do: Remember, It’s the relationship, stupid.
Why must these two people - and not any others - be together?
What do they discover/appreciate/challenge in each other?
Scene selection.

3. She says: “I just didn’t care about the characters.”
You do: Create a likable, sympathetic heroine readers can identify with and a
sexy (redeemable) hero they can fall in love with
How? Show motivation to engage reader’s sympathy through backstory, dialogue
Using sequel structure to engage reader’s emotions.


4. She says: “I feel the characters need to communicate more.”

You do: Use dialogue to reveal character; to create and sustain conflict; to develop intimacy.
How? VK’s Rule of Dialogue:
“If your character can think it, she can say it.
It’s better if she says it to the hero.
Best of all if they fight about it.”

5. She says: “I just didn’t love this story enough.”
You do: BE the character. The story always matters to the central characters. The more we are the characters, the more we care.
Dialogue alone isn’t enough. Engage the reader on a visceral, sensory level.
How? Consistent dominant mood to avoid jerking the reader around.
Use significant, specific detail (including setting & symbolism) to add emotional truth, urgency.
Use Point of View. Deep POV; choice of POV; differences in male/female POV.

Big Picture Hands-on Exercise: “It’s the relationship, stupid.”

My hero admires my heroine’s ____________________________.

He uncovers/appreciates her ______________________________.

He’s challenged by her __________________________________.

Do the same for the heroine.
What are the scenes that move the romance forward by showing these qualities?