New Series: Romance Writing 101.01

Not everyone wants to rip a bodice, or have kinky sex with three fairies and a vampire upside down, or backward. Not everyone wants to write about that stuff either. But if they do, that’s cool. Somebody, somewhere is going to want to read it. Just, let’s clarify what romance writing is for those who prefer their own imagination.

This is a new series I’m dedicating specifically to the reading and writing of the romance genre. There’s a lot of false information out there about what it is and who is writing it. I’m here to set the record straight, to offer up insight, and to clarify a thing or two. As a writer. And, as a reader.


Some advice on the business of writing

If you’re a writer, write for yourself first. Don’t worry about who your readers are yet (if you’re a newbie, but pay absolute detailed attention if you’re re-branding).

  • Tell the story you want to read.
  • Write anything you want. Then, pay attention to what you wrote.
  • The first draft is a wild carpet ride through your imagination. Write fast.
  • Don’t think, just do it. It may be shit. It may be brilliant. Either way, you’re going to want to go back and edit.
  • Either way, go ahead and start writing the second book while you’re still in that hung over feel, after finishing the first.

Then, and only then, will you be ready to take it to an agent/publisher, or burn it. Don’t burn it. If you really don’t love it, put it in a drawer. All in all, it’s layers and layers of detail.

Short story.

My first? I called it “The Sweet Spot” about a single Mom to a little boy who inherited a restaurant, then met a retired baseball player. I entered it into the Golden Heart (it was $50 to enter back then). This was in 2006.  It obviously didn’t win. I brought it with me to a Pacific Northwest writer conference, met some cool people. Told them all about my book. Rookie mistakes? Absolutely!  I didn’t edit it more than sort of. No line edits. Or any of the other layers of spit shining that a book needs. Edits are important. BEFORE showing up to brag about it. Just say, “I’m working on something”.

So? It sits in a box in my storage unit somewhere.

Several years later, I heard a lot of chatter about a book called, The Sweet Spot about a single Mom to a little boy  running a restaurant (bakery?) who met a football player in her own small town. Hm? The author was from the Pacific Northwest. Hm? Rookie mistakes. Coincidences? Life lessons learned all over the place?

All of the above.

Rookie mistakes …

… we all make them at first. They mean you tried. They mean you learned something along the way. They mean, you’re a writer.

Writing is a blood sport. Think about it. And here’s the Writing 101.01.

If you are a writer, you need to write. You want to write. You may not call yourself a writer until you’re already famous (a lot of professions think you have to do this). You however, are wearing your heart on your sleeve. You are experiencing all the emotions for all the characters in everything you write. Own that. You HAVE to be emotional? Or, a psychopath who can’t feel. That happens. Just remember, if you’re not feeling it, neither is your reader. Some of them are also okay with that.

Be you and know that it’s okay. If you write an 800 page tomb, but there’s only one big “romantic moment” with just a gaze in someone’s eyes as the connection, that’s STILL a romance. Disney’s Lady and the Tramp. One of the greatest love stories of all time. I often argue, so is Game of Thrones if you think about it. So much love to the point of … distraction.

Romance is NOT just about the sex. You can find sex in any psychology or medical text book. It’s an act between beings. Romance is something so much more.

The definition of a romance genre novel (From the RWA website): Two basic elements comprise every romance novel: a central love story and an emotionally satisfying and optimistic ending.

A Central Love Story: The main plot centers around individuals falling in love and struggling to make the relationship work. A writer can include as many subplots as he/she wants as long as the love story is the main focus of the novel.

An Emotionally Satisfying and Optimistic Ending: In a romance, the lovers who risk and struggle for each other and their relationship are rewarded with emotional justice and unconditional love.

Until next time, have a happily ever after day!


Author of Poppins, and that other little novel which shall not be named until I have the rest of the series finished. Plus the 4 in the can & 2 in the closet.

To learn about my other stuff, go to:

Or, find me on Facebook @KarenDalyAuthor


I did my doctoral dissertation studying the subjective well-being of professional authors in the romance genre, so know a thing or two. I’ve also been writing in that genre since 2004. Long before I published anything. I’m a small business owner in the holistic well-being industry and a writer looking for that thing that can not be named.