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Liz Fielding's Little Book of Writing Romance

Begin your story at a moment of crisis, a point in time when your character’s life is about to change for ever.

    Mollie Blake’s Writing Workshop Notes from Secret Wedding by Liz Fielding



Mollie Blake is a woman who knows what’s she’s talking about. Well, obviously, I created her back in 2000 for my novella, The Secret Wedding and she’s come with me on the adventure of writing my Little Book of Writing Romance.

This little book is a primer, an entry level aid for the writer who has a story to tell, but is struggling to get it out of her head and onto paper. To quote the theme song for the movie of Erich Segal’s bestselling book Love Story, “How do you begin…?”

I know how that feels, I’ve been there and this book is the distillation of the things I’ve learned over twenty years as a published author.

It’s the book I wish I’d had when I was starting out.

My purpose has been to explain, in the simplest terms, and using examples from my own work, how to make the transition from the story in your head to words on paper. How to write a compelling opening — I have deconstructed an opening scene — deepen conflict, write honest emotion, hopefully with a touch of humour to leaven the mix. How to write crisp dialogue, develop the romance, add a little sizzle.

The primary purpose of a romance novel is to elicit a positive emotional experience for the reader. Make her smile, make her cry, make her sigh with pleasure. To put it in a nut shell, to give her a good time.

To achieve that, you must give her characters she will care about, with whom she will be happy to share hours of her precious time, characters who, no matter what their faults may be — and perfection is so dull — are likeable.

To write their story you will have to know your characters intimately. For this, you need to do more than fill out a character worksheet with all their physical characteristics, their birth sign, their place in the family hierarchy, the names of their siblings.

Of course you have to know what colour eyes and hair your hero has, how tall he is, how old he is — ditto your heroine — before you begin. Making a note of these details and pinning it up so that you can check them when you’re in full flow a hundred pages into your manuscript is a sensible precaution. (You may think you couldn’t possibly forget these vital statistics but you will.)

These are, however, no more than the basics.

To come alive on the page, your hero and heroine must be more than two-dimensional cardboard cut-outs that you move around the stage. You should not be asking yourself “what can I make them do next”. If your characters are blood-and-bones, heart-and-soul real, you will know what they would do, just as you instinctively know what someone close to you would do in any given circumstance.

You may hear authors talking about characters who “take over” the story. That is not because the author is not in control of her characters, but because she has created three-dimensional, living, breathing people, men and women she knows so well that her writing brain is flying ahead of her fingers on the keyboard.

To truly know your characters you must understand not just what they look like, where they went to school, what they do for a living but see them living in their own world, having a life before you write Chapter One.

Download my book and I’ll show you how I do that :)


Liz Fielding is the author of more than sixty romances and has been nominated seven times for the Romance Writers’ of America RITA® award, winning twice with The Best Man & the Bridesmaid and The Marriage Miracle. She has also been nominated three times for the UK’s Romantic Novelists’ Association “Romance Prize”, winning with A Family of His Own.



She has also received a Lifetime Achievement Award from Romantic Times BOOKclub magazine



A full list of her books is available at:



Liz Fielding’s Little Book of Writing Romance is available as an eBook download from Amazon.








35 comments:

  1. Thanks for making me and my Little Book so welcome, Nas. If anyone has any questions, please do fire away!

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  2. This sounds like an excellent book, one we can continue to learn from. Thank you for putting it together, Liz!

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  3. Loved this blog post, thanks for featuring Liz on your blog! I feel like I really know my characters well, but I'm not sure if I've nailed my romance novel's intro.

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  4. Sounds like a great book! How true about characters coming to life - this is great advice for any genre.

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  5. Thanks, Lorraine. I hope new writers find it helps them over the humps!

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  6. Hi Trisha

    The opening paragraphs are so important. Fiona Harper says you need to "kidnap" your readers!

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  7. Character, character, character... They are at the heart of romance fiction, Susan.

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  8. Liz Fielding, my favourite romance writer! I've bought all your other books (that I know of), so, though I'm not planning to write a romance any time soon, I'll have to run off and buy this one, too.

    Lovely to see Liz here, Riya.

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  9. What a great book! I'm going to check it out. Thanks!

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  10. Riya! That is so sweet! I hope reading it will give you an insight to how hard we work for you. :)

    Next up, The Last Woman He'd Ever Date in May.

    Lovely to to meet you here.

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  11. Hi Emily! I hope you find it helpful.

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  12. Great post, Riya! I love using a character chart. I taught the students in my homeschool novel class to do the same. *waving*

    Thank you Liz!

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  13. Hi Liz and Riya,

    It's strange how when you 'create' characters they start doing and saying things you didn't 'make' them do or say, isn't it?

    I'm enjoying your book Liz. It is a great learning tool.

    Co-incidentally, I read 'Secret Weddiing' a couple of days before I got the book. I felt right at home when I saw 'Mollie's' qotes.

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  14. Sorry, slight confusion over names. LP, thank you so much. That's just too sweet of you. There are lots of examples from books to enjoy - I hope they bring back memories.

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  15. It's amazing what you mind will deliver when you start digging deep into your character's lives, Robyn. I've taken it well beyond the usual places so I hope it will prove inspiring for your students.

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  16. Thanks, Maria - and how brilliant that you'd already read Mollie and Tom's story. I had such a good time writing that for the eHarlequin online read launch.

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  17. I just love Liz Fielding titles! They are so sweet and sensual without being overly steamy!

    Congrats on the release of Liz Fielding's Little Book of Writing Romance and I have highlighted Liz's latest romance Flirting with Italian on my Romance book Haven!

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  18. Sounds like a great book and helpful for any genre too.

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  19. Oh yes! This one's definitely going on my wishlist.

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  20. Thanks RBH - so glad that the books hit the spot!

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  21. Hi Lynda :) Thanks for your interest. I do think the Little Book will help anyone writing popular fiction. Whatever the genre, the basics remains the same.

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  22. Thanks so much, Deniz. I hope you find it helps. Let me know!

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  23. No one knows writing romance like Liz! I must check this out.

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  24. Oh, Talli! Totally blushing. :)

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  25. Hi Romance and Liz
    You said it very well. We create real living, breathing characters. Good luck with your sales.
    Nancy

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  26. These are wonderful tips to add depth to stories and characters. Little Book of Writing Romance sounds like a resourceful book.

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  27. Thank you so much Liz Fielding and Romance Reader for a most succinct, sensible and very wise words on how to write a good story - romance or otherwise! These are wonderful points to always remember - thanks for the link too!!

    Take care
    x

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  28. Isn't it wonderful when you find a resource book you can recommend to everyone. :) This one sounds like a great resource for romance writers.

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  29. Thanks for sharing the book info. Each genre has things we should know, which books that cover the basics don't tell us.

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  30. Thanks, NR - I really hope writers find it useful.

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  31. Thank you, Kitty. It's been a pleasure to visit. :)

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  32. Hi Theresa - while my Little Book is very much for romance writers, I think anyone writing popular fiction will find it useful.

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  33. Congrats on the book. It sounds like a very useful read for those aspiring romance authors like myself.

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  34. Such a great point! Excellent advice. It's true-- the more a character is REAL, the more they will make the decisions in the book. Love it!

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