Monday, September 23, 2013

RWA Chapter Meeting - The 411 on Writing Bestselling Category and Single Title Contemporary Romance

I attended my first RWA Chapter meeting this month. It was a lot of fun. Great members, great workshops, fabulous advice. It was a full-day workshop and we had great panelists: Laura Kaye, Avery Flynn, and Stephanie Dray discussed the category contemporary romance. Cristi Barth and Kimberly Kincaid joined the panel for the single title discussion. They were very encouraging and had a lot of helpful "been there, done that, got the t-shirt" advice.

Here are some tips I got from the meeting.


Think of tropes as literary fetishes (I loved this one). Readers love the kind of conflict the trope creates.

The trope creates sexual tension and dramatic tension.

The trope is a narrative device that drives the plot.

Bestsellers mix two or three tropes.

Secondary Characters

"Mirror characters" are secondary characters that are used to characterize the main character. You need to make them work twice.

Secondary characters can help you avoid long sections of inner dialogue (I use this so much).

Secondary characters are also part of your "moving landscape."

Readers like familiarity


In every page it should be evident what your hero/heroine wants. (I need to work on this one)

Throughout the course of your story, the hero and heroine should be saving each other.


A bestseller will have the "Three Hs," Heart, Humor, and a Hollywood ending.

The Hollywood ending is a grand gesture at the end that redeems the conflict.


It's a (trope) story of a (character trait) (vocation) and a (character trait) (vocation) who fall in love when they are (zany/dramatic situation). I've found loglines to be a real challenge, so this shortcut will be very useful.

The downside to the workshop? I have to much to do now...