Writing: Romance & Erotica

Romancing the Beat: Story Structure for Romance Novels

by Gwen Hayes

From the publisher: What makes a romance novel a romance? How do you write a kissing book?

Writing a well-structured romance isn’t the same as writing any other genre—something the popular novel and screenwriting guides don’t address. The romance arc is made up of its own story beats, and the external plot and theme need to be braided to the romance arc—not the other way around.

Told in conversational (and often irreverent) prose, Romancing the Beat can be read like you are sitting down to coffee with romance editor and author Gwen Hayes while she explains story structure. The way she does with her clients. Some of whom are regular inhabitants of the New York Times and USA Today bestseller lists.

Romancing the Beat is a recipe, not a rigid system. The beats don’t care if you plot or outline before you write, or if you pants your way through the drafts and do a “beat check” when you’re revising. Pantsers and plotters are both welcome. So sit down, grab a cuppa, and let’s talk about kissing books.

For free Scrivener template and plotting printables to use with the book, please visit the author’s website: gwenhayes.com/free-stuff

Length: 98 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace
Average customer review: 4.7 out of 5 stars (220 reviews)
Buy it: Amazon

Writing a Romance Novel for Dummies

by Leslie Wainger

From the publisher: In love with romance novels? You’re not alone! Romance is today’s most popular fiction genre, accounting for more than half of all mass market fiction sold. If you’re looking to make a serious effort at writing a romance and getting it published in today’s multifaceted markets, you need to learn as much as you can about this highly successful field—especially how to create the perfect heroes and heroines. Now, in this easy, step-by-step guide, a top romance editor gives you the know-how you need to succeed as a romance novelist!

Writing A Romance Novel for Dummies is perfect for both beginning and more accomplished writers who are looking to get the leading edge on writing a romance novel and get it published. Leslie Wainger, Executive Editor at Harlequin Books, explains what it takes to become the next Nora Roberts, providing the techniques you need to:

– Select a pseudonym
– Write a compelling, heartfelt story
– Find the right agent and publisher
– Submit a manuscript
– Market your novel
– Join clubs and associations

Packed with insider advice, this plain-English guide helps you grasp the building blocks of a great romance, providing practical tips on the craft of writing as well as savvy pointers on how to hook your reader from page one, write with passion, and shape a proposal that will wow agents and editors. You get lots of expert tips on analyzing the marketplace, creating compelling characters, and finding your own voice. Wainger also:

– Demystifies the sub-genres of the romance world, from historical, contemporary, and multicultural to paranormal, romantic suspense, and Christian/inspirational
– Explains plotting, pacing, and writing those crucial love scenes
– Discusses how to conduct research, assign credits, and get permissions
– Helps you decide whether it’s best to write alone or with a partner

Complete with a manuscript preparation checklist, tips for revising your work smoothly and successfully, guidance in understanding and negotiating a contract, and a list of romance writing resources, Writing A Romance Novel for Dummies is your one-stop guide to becoming a published novelist!

Length: 384 pages
Publisher: For Dummies
Average customer review: 4.3 out of 5 stars (59 reviews)
Buy it: Amazon

Romance, Emotion, and Erotica Writers’ Phrase Book

by Jackson Dean Chase

From the publisher: Instantly write better romance! USA TODAY bestselling author Jackson Dean Chase serves up over 3,000 sizzling ways to describe flirting, romance, and making mad, passionate love! Not only that, but it shares how to have your characters experience a full range of wild emotions, everything from the heartfelt to the heart-rending. Use it anytime you need to spice up a romantic subplot or sex scene in any genre (not just romance!).

This book will teach you the secret language today’s top-selling romance writers use to craft their hottest scenes. And unlike other romance writing books, this one includes sections on paranormal and science fiction romance: everything from aliens to werewolves. Whatever your style of romantic fiction, this book is the perfect guide to bring your creativity to life!

Length: 164 pages
Publisher: Jackson Dean Chase, Inc.
Average customer review: 4.5 out of 5 stars (19 reviews)
Buy it: Amazon

Thinking Like A Romance Writer

by Dahlia Evans

From the publisher: “This invaluable resource is a must have for any aspiring romance writer!”

In the world of romance writing, one of the most important components in an author’s repertoire is their use of descriptive words and phrases. This aspect of romance writing is so often neglected, usually with disastrous results; a novel that reads like a badly written script.

Fortunately, there’s now a way for any writer, regardless of their experience, to get a huge head-start writing in this profitable genre. It’s a secret resource that romance writers don’t want you to know about!

Dahlia Evans has compiled a romance writing thesaurus unlike anything ever published. This reference book is filled to the brim with words and phrases gathered from hundreds of bestselling romance novels. Using this book you will be able to describe intimate encounters of every kind without breaking a sweat.

Inside You’ll Discover:

– 8,500 words and phrases sorted into 37 categories.
– Thousands of words you can use to describe each part of the body.
– Words that describe each of the five senses; taste, touch, sight, sound, smell.
– Words to describe feelings and emotions.
– Words that describe facial expressions.
– Hundreds of words to describe intimacy.

Thinking Like A Romance Writer is the culmination of hundreds of hours of research and is a book destined to become a classic in the field of romance writing instruction.

Length: 100 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace
Average customer review: 4.5 out of 5 stars (75 reviews)
Buy it: Amazon

On Writing Romance: How to Craft a Novel That Sells

by Leigh Michaels

From the publisher: Sweep Readers Off Their Feet With a Romance They’ll Never Forget

In On Writing Romance, award-winning romance novelist Leigh Michaels talks you through each stage of the writing and publishing process. From the origins and evolution of the romance novel to establishing a vital story framework to writing that last line to seeking out appropriate publishers, everything you ever wanted to know about writing a romance novel is here.

In addition to a comprehensive breakdown of more than thirty romance subgenres, including such categories as historical, inspirational, Regency, and sweet traditional, you’ll discover how to:

– Steer clear of clichés and stereotypes by studying the genre
– Craft engaging and realistic heroes and heroines readers will adore
– Convincingly develop the central couple’s blossoming relationship
– Add conflict by utilizing essential secondary characters like the “other woman”
– Use tension and timing to make your love scenes sizzle with sensuality
– Get your characters to happily-ever-after with an ending readers will always remember

Read a sample query letter, cover letter, and synopsis, and learn how to properly prepare you romance novel for submission to agents and editors. On Writing Romance has everything you need to leave readers swooning!

Length: 272 pages
Publisher: Writer’s Digest Books
Average customer review: 4.6 out of 5 stars (59 reviews)
Buy it: Amazon

Naughty Words for Nice Writers

by Cara Bristol

From the publisher: Publisher’s note: Naughty Words for Nice Writers was originally published in 2015. It has since been updated with 800 more synonyms and a dozen new categories and writing guides. This is the updated version.

If finding the right words for your romantic sex scene is challenging, Naughty Words for Nice Writers can help. USA Today Bestselling Author Cara Bristol has written a thesaurus for romance authors to help you find the appropriate words to make your sex scene sizzle. Naughty Words for Nice Writers is packed with more than 2,000 usable, functional synonyms geared for romance, erotic romance, and erotica.

Included are more than 50 word lists for male and female anatomy, foreplay, orgasm, kissing, sex scene locations, specific sexual acts, sexual noises, spanking terminology, and much more. The guide offers suggestions on how to write a sex scene and how to tighten your writing so it sings. With an emphasis on verbs, this guide will help you “show” the intimacy between your characters rather than tell it. Whether you’re writing a “fade to black” scene or a graphic and explicit one, Naughty Words for Nice Writers will provide the tools. Publisher’s note: Naughty Words for Nice Writers, A Romance Novel Thesaurus is an updated version of the book originally published in 2015. This book contains 800 more synonyms and more than a dozen new word categories than the original.

Length: 138 pages
Publisher: Cara Bristol
Average customer review: 4.5 out of 5 stars (63 reviews)
Buy it: Amazon

How to Write Hot Sex

by Shoshanna Evers

From the publisher: This collection of essays by multi-published erotic romance authors details the art of writing sizzling hot sex scenes. Whether you’re writing sensual, steamy, or full-on explicit sex scenes, writers can learn from the authors who write and sell sexy books for a living. Do you want to write erotica? Or an erotic romance? Perhaps you just want to add some hot sexual tension to your romance novel. This is the book for you.

Here you’ll find essays on the art of writing smokin’ hot vanilla sex, gay sex, BDSM, kink, and ménage, as well as essays on how to find paying markets and publishers for your books and short stories. “How to Write Hot Sex: Tips from Multi-Published Erotic Romance Authors” gives you all the information you need to write sex well and get published!

Length: 144 pages
Publisher: Shoshanna Evers
Average customer review: 4.3 out of 5 stars (67 reviews)
Buy it: Amazon

17 thoughts on “Writing: Romance & Erotica

        • Rockwaller Books says:

          Hi Ashley,
          For new writers, breaking into any market will take a fair amount of work to build up a readership. That’s why it’s so important to understand how to properly market your book after release (if you self-publish).

          • Rockwaller Books says:

            Hi Ashley,

            It’s always a bit of both, whether you’re an independent or contracted author. Rockwaller Books always promotes writers we work with on different social media platforms, but our focus is primarily on helping them polish their writing and making sure their manuscripts are ready for publication.

  1. Katie Hill says:

    This was helpful, thanks. I’m still pretty new to writing romance, but I’m feeling more confident with the extra info to guide me along. It’s definitely a fun market to be part of – the readers are fun to chat with.

  2. Ashley says:

    Writing a Romance Novel for Dummies was really interesting –and a lot more useful than I expected, to be honest. I’ve got a much better handle on story structure and themes than I did before 🙂

  3. Kaitlin says:

    Writing romance books is a lot harder than I thought it would be, but a lot of these have helped me quite a bit. Made me realize how much work goes into writing a good story.

    • Ashley says:

      I had the same experience. I’ve got a lot of respect for writers who have nailed down what makes a particular genre work.

  4. Tara says:

    Writing a Romance Novel for Dummies was actually a surprise for me. I wasn’t expecting it to be as practically helpful as it is. Navigating the romance genre and the publishing industry both feel a bit less daunting now 🙂

    • Robin says:

      Nice to know I’m not alone in feeling overwhelmed by trying to break into the genre. There’s so much to take into account beyond just a good story.

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