First Theory on Thursday guest for my new-look blog is debut M&B Medical author Louisa George. I met the lovely Louisa at the cocktail party (I think) at the last RWAus conference and she was as lovely in person as she is in her glamorous author pic 🙂 But even more exciting than author glamour is author wisdom, and Louisa has some very insightful info to share with us today… Thanks for coming Louisa and WELCOME!
What do You Want from Me?
Ten things I’ve learnt from working with an editor
Hi Rachael! Thanks for inviting me here!
Back in the dark ages when I began writing and amassing rejection letters saying my
category manuscript was not what they wanted I began to ask the question, well what
the heck do they want? No-one could tell me for certain. After a year working with
the best editor in the world and doing a heap of revisions on three manuscripts, I can
tell you what they want. Or at least what I think they want from a category writer.
Wherever you choose to set your story the place should be aspirational- the reader
wants to step inside the heroine’s world. There isn’t a lot of space in a short book to
describe the scenery, so make your words count. My second book, Waking Up with
His Runaway Bride (release July 2012) was originally set in the midst of a raging
bush fire, my heroine’s medical practice was failing, she had no money and was
reeling from her mother’s death. Not a lot there for anyone to want to emulate!
Men speak and think differently to women and this should shine through dialogue. I
was asked for flirty and sexy conversation to counterbalance deeper emotional scenes.
We have to see why the heroine is attracted to the hero- and how they fall in love.
Playing and flirting is always a good way of getting the sizzle level higher!
3. Emotional conflict
This is the real doozy and where I kept going wrong. Emotional conflict is NOT
a tragic backstory. Emotional conflict is how the tragic backstory has influenced
a character’s life/thoughts etc. What emotional armour do they use to protect
themselves from hurt? And how is that armour chipped away?
4. Highs as wells as lows
This is a romance, a love affair…there has to be moments of positivity. The reader
doesn’t want to be thrown into a deep depression. If there are fast-paced emotionally
charged scenes, we need slower paced scenes too.
5. Character driven NOT plot driven
My second partial was turned down because the plot was too complicated. There was
a disputed will, an intruder, a fraud, a dead grandmother, the loss of reputation and
cricket match fixing – all in the first four chapters of a medical romance! The plot
needs to be simple but effective, and deeply emotional.
6. A hero we all want to love
Alpha, for sure- but sensitive to a point, capable of love despite the tragedy he’s been
through. A modern day man with flaws- not downright rude or an angry victim. He
can be (emotionally or physically) scarred, yes, but healed…or on the way to being
7. Obvious signs of fighting attraction
Lots of sizzle and chemistry and lots of internal struggle to not act on the attraction!
8. Obvious signs of an emotional journey
We can’t have the hero/heroine suddenly have their internal conflicts resolved on the
last page- we have to see them changing as the story unfolds.
9. Fresh twists
This always has me in a panic! But, in a nutshell, there are no new plots – just new
characters. Your hero and heroine bring their own fresh viewpoints to old storylines.
If you draw your characters in a unique way rather than relying on stereotypes you
breathe new life into an often repeated trope.
10. Politeness and Professionalism
From you! This is a business and you need to show your willingness to learn and
grow as an author. Sometimes it’s frustrating having to wait for long turnaround
times, or deal with more revisions, but bitching about it in a public forum is not
Obviously, there’s heaps more to this so if you have any questions about the
publication journey or revisions, or…anything…then please don’t hesitate to ask!
WOW – that was very useful stuff Louisa. Thanks so much for being so honest. And all you wonderful aspiring writers out there, Louisa has generally offered to answer questions, so… ASK AWAY!!
Some things in life are worth waiting for…
Jessie Price has lost her only chance at motherhood – it’s a constant
hurt, until she meets sinfully sexy single dad Dr Luke McKenzie
and his gorgeous little girl. Luke’s intoxicating kisses and his
daughter’s adoring hugs have Jessie longing for the impossible. But
she’s a temporary locum, the clock’s ticking – and there’s only a
month to make all her wishes come true…