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Kate Walker's 12 Point Guide to Writing Romance

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Table of Contents

1 First things first: what is romance? includes 2010 changes at Harlequin Mills and Boon 2 Emotion 3 Conflict 4 Dialogue 5 Focus 6 Sensuality 7 Passion 8 Heroes 9 Characterisation and heroines 10 Plotting 11 The question 'why'? 12 The intense black moment 13 a believable happy ending 14 Practicalities 15 From the authors' desks

About the Author

Kate Walker was born in Nottinghamshire, England, but the family moved to West Yorkshire when she was just 18 months old, and she has always regarded Yorkshire as home. She was the middle child in a family of five girls, growing up in a home where books were vitally important, and she read anything she could get her hands on. Even before she could write she was making up stories. At the age of four she was telling the tale of The Three Little Raindrops Drippy, Droppy, and Droopy to her two younger sisters. She can't remember a time when she wasn't scribbling away at something, and wrote her first "book" when she was 11. But everyone told her that she would never make a living as a writer, and that she should work toward a more secure career. So she decided that if she couldn't write books, at least she could work with them, and settled for becoming a librarian. On leaving school she went to the University College of Wales, Aberystwyth to study English and librarianship. While there, she met her husband, who was also studying at the college. They married and moved back north, eventually settling in Lincolnshire, where she worked as a children's librarian until her son was born. After three years of being a full-time housewife and mother she was ready for a new challenge, but needed something she could do at home, so she turned to her old love of writing. Her first attempts at writing novels were done at the kitchen table, often working late into the night when her son was asleep, or during a few snatched hours while he was out at nursery school. The first two novels she sent off to Mills & Boon were rejected, but the third attempt was successful. She can still remember the moment that a letter of acceptance arrived instead of the rejection slip she had been dreading. She must have read that letter over and over a hundred times before what it said sank in, and for days she kept checking it just to make sure she hadn't been dreaming. But the moment she really realised that she was a published writer was when copies of her first book, The Chalk Line, arrived just in time to be one of her best Christmas presents ever. Fitting in hobbies around writing and being a wife and mother can be difficult, but Kate always finds time to read. She loves all sorts of fiction, especially romance, obviously, but she also enjoys historical novels, detective fiction, and long, absorbing biographies, and she can spend hours in bookshops, just browsing. During her working hours, her four cats, all adopted from the RSPCA, keep her company in her study, though they have to be dissuaded from sitting on the piles of papers that they are convinced are there just for their benefit. Kate is often asked if she's a romantic person because she writes romances. Her answer is that if being romantic means caring about other people enough to make that extra special effort for them, then, yes, she is. Romance is about making the important people in your life feel valued and letting them know that you care. But she also writes about relationships and the difficulties people sometimes have in understanding each other, or expressing their feelings, or overcoming problems. Sometimes, when the right words won't come, or an idea hasn't worked out as she thought, she wonders why she doesn't have a regular nine-to-five job but only sometimes. When the story's flowing and the characters come alive, she really can't imagine doing anything else. And there's a tremendous satisfaction in knowing that she's doing what she always dreamed of and proving wrong all those people who said she would never make a successful career out of her writing. Kate loves to hear from her fans. You can contact her through her web site at: or email her at:


Vince Mooney, Posted on the Community Boards Review for second edition Kate Walker's 12 Point Guide to Writing RomanceA" Is Probably: * The Best Single Book on Writing Romance * The Best Single Textbook For Teaching Romance Writing * The Most Useful Book for Published Romance Writers I must say to start that I've taken a very long time to read Kate Walker's 12 Point Guide to Writing RomanceA". That's because I can only read large type. I've had to read this book very slowly using a magnifying glass. If the book wasn't so consistently excellent, there is no way I would have finished it. Incidentally, I found it very educational to read a book so closely. It's like inspecting a house brick by brick. This is not a typical fan review. It is a professional review. I have been writing nonfiction for thirty years. I've written and edited manuals, created correspondence courses, and taught advertising copywriting in college. I run a real estate school so I know the crucial importance of having a good manual for each course you teach. I am also working on a book about the romance genre and have read at least 40 romance writing books during my research. (Some of the best are listed below.) I found Kate Walker's 12 Point Guide to Writing Romance to be unique among the many romance writing books that I've read. It is exceptionally well suited for three different purposes. First, if you were only going to read one romance writing book-to teach yourself how to write at home-this book offers the best coverage. It features many examples, checklists, questions, and, where appropriate, it offers other romance novels that provide additional examples on the romance writing concepts being discussed. Even more important Kate Walker, like all good teachers, is always pointing out what something being taught does not mean. Knowing what something does not mean is very important to a successful learning experience. My biggest problem teaching adults happens when the student thinks he or she already knows what you are trying to teach. These students close their minds and fail to learn. For example, almost every student knowsA" that the mortgagor is the lender and they are wrong. The lender is the mortgagee. Almost every student knowsA" that the broker representing the seller is the selling broker. But they are wrong, he's the listing broker. The selling brokerA" represents the buyer. As Will Rogers once said, "It's what we know that ain't so that gets us in trouble.A") It is very hard to undue what people know that isn't soA". Kate Walker not only states what a romance term or concept means, she also points out what it does not mean. This is invaluable if you are learning at home without a teacher. It is also invaluable for an inexperienced teacher as it provides excellent talking points to go over in class. Let me give you an example from the book found in chapter 2 on EmotionA". After stating what emotional punchA" is, the author goes on to demonstrate what the term does not mean.It does not mean, just arguing or shouting,A" endless crying,A" wallowing in self-pity,A" it is not manipulative,A" it is not just sentimentA" or clicheA", and so on. This house cleaningA", as I call it, goes on for pages. Teachers should love this book. Chapters include: Emotion, Conflict, Dialogue, Focus, Sensuality, Passion, Heroes, Heroines, Characterization and Heroines, Plotting, The Question WhyA"?, The Intense Black Moment, The Believable Happy Ending, Practicalities, and From the Author's Desks (advice from other romance authors). In other words, you are getting the full package here. The book is 265 pages long. Second: as good as Kate Walker's 12 Point Guide to Writing RomanceA", is for self-teaching the material, I found it excels as a textbook. I know how important a good manual is to making a teacher's job easier. An exceptional manual allows the teacher to teach from the overflowA" which greatly enriches the material and makes for a more enjoyable student experience. With a weak manual this valuable time has to be spent doing the job the manual should have done. I would love to teach from Kate Walker's 12 Point Guide to Writing RomanceA". The text is very reader friendly. Kate Walker knows how to communicate. The way she wrote this book is going to change the way I write my manuals and courses. The chapters fully cover the writing concept being taught. Then there is a 12 point checklist covering how you should implement the concepts in your actual writing. Then there are suggested writing exercises and assignments. Third: experienced writers will find the writing checklists on various topics very useful. There is a saying in advertising copywriting that professionals do not have to be taught but they do have to be remindedA". I was a very experienced copywriter and taught copywriting in college but I still always used a 500+ item checklist for improving a direct marketing promotional package. Everything we learned from testing direct mail pieces was incorporated in that list. Even the people with the vast experience needed to create the list, used the list. Kate Walker has many of these checklists. If I were writing a romance novel, I would type all these checklists into a Word document. When I finished writing a chapter (and it was still fresh in my mind), I would run through the applicable checklists as a critique of my work. If I was lacking in an area I could immediately act to improve it. This would be a little like having an experienced editor always available to provide assistance. Here is a sample of the checklists. Each features 12 questions: * Emotional punch 1. Have I allowed time for my characters to explore their feelings? (11 more follow.) * Conflict 1. Have I a conflict over which is truly worth being at odds? Is it one that really matters? (11 more follow). * Dialogue - all the below topics also have 12 item checklists for good writing. * Focus * Sensuality * Passion * Heroes * Heroines * Plotting * The Question WhyA" * The Intense Black Moment" * The Happy Ending I haven't read any other romance writing book that I thought would be so useful to a professional writer on an ongoing daily basis. Unlike some textbooks, Kate Walker's 12 Point Guide to Writing RomanceA", is written by someone who actually knows how to write. I've been reading Kate Walker romances while I've been reading this book. This allowed me to observe how well she practices what she teaches. Her own books are the best testimony to her teaching methods and knowledge of the romance novel. Summary: If you are going to teach a class on romance writing, you should get a copy of this book before you select a textbook. I have not read another text that does a better job from both the teacher's POV and the student's POV. If you are a home study student who is learning to write romances on your own, this is the key book to read. However, if you are teaching yourself, you really should read many romance writing books. I also strongly recommend that you read "Dangerous Men & Adventurous Women: Romance Writers on the Appeal of the Romance", Krentz and "Writing Romances: A Handbook by the Romance Writers of America" by Romance Writers of America (Organization), Rita Gallagher, and Rita Clay Estrada. Plus as many more as you have time to read. It won't hurt to read them all. If you already are a romance author or a mainstream author thinking of writing a category romance, this book is worth the price just to get the writing checklists. Vince Mooney runs his own real estate school in Oklahoma, he also teaches and writes training manuals. Amazon review Kate Walker is a seasoned professional writer. Her first novel was published way back in 1984. She has written over fifty books and currently has two Harlequin Presents books out this year. This book explains: how to write emotion and create page turning quality. How to create conflict amidst your characters and why it is a major essential component of your novel. Why dialogue is the lifeblood of your knowledge. How to make dialogue sound realistic. How to make your characters real. How to create the required sharp focus on your hero and heroine. How to develop supporting characters that work. Why flashbacks are important in some stories and how to create them in your novel. Why sensuality is imporant and how to develop sensuality between your hero and heroine. How to pace the development of the romance that is occurring between your hero and heroine. How to write the love scene between your hero and heroine and the importance of 'after'. The importance of the hero and his essential 'vital' vulnerability'. The filter role of the heroine for the reader. The heroine's 21st century response to conflict. How to answer the question 'why?'. How to write the intense black moment and why it is so important. She also has a chapter devoted to the practicalities - agents, market study, rejection, revisions, synopsis', queries etc. In short the book covers everything that romance writer needs to develop their craft. I found this book to be pretty comprehensive and clearly laid out. If you are serious about writing then this book should be on your shelf. 5.0 out of 5 stars A must read for anyone who wants to write fiction!, By Kym McNabney "Writing From The Soul" (Illinois) - See all my reviews Amazon Verified Purchase(What's this?) This review is from: Kate Walker's 12-point Guide to Writing Romance (Studymates) (Paperback) This is a wonderfully written book. I've been writing for some time but it wasn't until I read this book that I realized why my writing wasn't working. This is a MUST read for anyone who wants to write fiction. Easy to read, to understand, and right to the point. Amazon review 5.0 out of 5 stars A great resource for serious writers..., By Holly Fuhrmann (PA) - See all my reviews This review is from: Kate Walker's 12-point Guide to Writing Romance of romantic fiction, from a master of the craft. A must have for your writing resource library, 12-Point Guide breaks the information into easily digested bits. 5.0 out of 5 stars What a wonderful resource, By Kitty (USA) - See all my reviews This review is from: Kate Walker's 12-point Guide to Writing Romance (Studymates) (Paperback) What a wonderful resource for not only novice writers, but for those of us who have a few books under our belts. Reading about the craft, about why we do what we do, about what makes a story helped invigorate my current book. Kate Walker has such an easy way, a gift of explaining what's what. From finding your voice, to plot, to's all there! 5.0 out of 5 stars I can't recommend Kate's plan highly enough, By Kitty (USA) - See all my reviews This review is from: Kate Walker's 12-point Guide to Writing Romance Kate Walker's 12 Point Plan for writing romance is truly fantastic. Not only is Kate a strong storyteller and very successful romance author, but she is a natural teacher and puts the elements of good writing in terms that will click with anyone reading her book. If you are serious about pursuing a career in romantic fiction, I can't recommend Kate's plan highly enough. 5.0 out of 5 stars Read this book, This review is from: Kate Walker's 12-point Guide to Writing Romance (Studymates) (Paperback) Kate Walker knows romance and she knows writing. Want to put the two together? Read this book.

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