Romancing the Beat: Story Structure for Romance Novels
I know you read kissing books, but do you write kissing books too?
This week I released my first nonfiction book about story structure for romance novels. I understand that there are hundreds of different narratives for these books, from Mafia Romance Books to fantasy novels to same-sex stories, but most of them follow the same basic structure. So, if you write or review romance–or you just want some behind the scenes info–you might be interested. I sort of sound like I know what I’m talking about and there are plenty of ’80s references so you know it’s me. LOL.
Whether you are in the process of starting a novel and want to learn how to write dialogue, or already have some novels under your belt, there are lots of useful lessons that can make your writing better. Which reminds me, are you on the lookout for a literary agent? It is no secret that a literary agent can help you to publish your work. To learn more about securing representation from a literary agent, take a look at this guide to presenting a novel manuscript over on jerichowriters.com that also includes a helpful manuscript format.
What makes a romance novel a romance? How do you write a kissing book?
Writing a well-structured romance isn’t the same as writing any other genre-something the popular novel and screenwriting guides don’t address. The romance arc is made up of its own story beats, and the external plot and theme need to be braided to the romance arc-not the other way around.
Told in conversational (and often irreverent) prose, Romancing the Beat can be read like you are sitting down to coffee with romance editor and author Gwen Hayes while she explains story structure. The way she does with her clients. Some of whom are regular inhabitants of the New York Times and USA Today bestseller lists. Romancing the Beat is a recipe, not a rigid system. The beats don’t care if you plot or outline before you write, or if you pants your way through the drafts and do a “beat check” when you’re revising. Pantsers and plotters are both welcome. So sit down, grab a cuppa, and let’s talk about kissing books.
Healthy Dog Treats from Mr. Hayes
I’ve had lots of people ask for my husband’s puppy cookie recipe–especially now that so many dog snacks and foods get recalled as unsafe. He makes these for the pups once a week.
Pumpkin Dog Snacks
½ cup of pumpkin puree
2 TBL Powdered milk
2 TBL Peanut butter, fresh ground or homemade preferable
2 TBL Brewer’s Yeast
2 TBL Palm (coconut) sugar, more for the nutrients than for the sweetness
1 ½ cups Rice Flour
1 cup Oat flour
2 TBL coconut oil, melted
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk the eggs lightly then whisk in the pumpkin, powdered milk, peanut butter, brewer’s yeast, and palm sugar. Then stir in, I like to use gloved hands for this, the rice flour, oat flour, and coconut oil. It should come together to form a nice workable dough, like… play dough. You may need to add a touch more rice flour if it’s too sticky. On a lightly floured (rice flour) surface knead the dough 5 to 10 times. Now roll the dough to a thickness of about a ¼ inch and cut into shapes, place them on a sheet pan and dock with a fork. Bake the cookies in a 350 degree oven for 20 to 25 minutes. Half way through the cooking pull the cookies out and turn each cookie over so they will brown evenly.
Depending on how thick I roll the dough I can usually get between 55 and 65 two inch cookies.
Note: The flour combination can be switched up. I have used buckwheat, millet, and almond flours. Just so long as you can get a workable dough.
*Yes, he really does use homemade peanut butter.