Romance Writing: You’ve Got the Thing

Should you be looking to become a full-time writer of romance, I have the one web site on the internet with all the answers to your many, many questions. Well, no, I don’t. I have the exact opposite.

There’s a lot of meaningless drivel on the internet (hi there!) and most of it merits exactly zero notice, but this site is just a clusterfuck of wowser: Got the Thing in Becoming a World-renowned Writer?. The first paragraph alone may harm you, your neighbors, and possibly people you don’t even know. You might be so spellbounded by the writing that you pass out cold, particularly after this piece of advice:

You write what you read and that means you need to read a love of romance stories to get some ideas from experts before you and that’s it in the nutshell

Wait, that’s it? Really?

But the site that page links to is an even bigger treasure trove of WTF, particularly this quote:

If you’ve ever finished a great romance and thought to yourself, “Hey, I could write one of those!”  there has never been a better time than the present to fulfill your dreams.

Yes. Fuck the economy. Quit your job now!

Seriously. If you’ve ever finished a great romance and thought to yourself, “Hey, I can do that!” you have one of the following problems:

a. a clearly deluded sense of how easy it is to write a great romance (hint: it is not easy)
b. an inaccurate method of evaluating that which might be a “great romance.”

I mean, sheesh, who hasn’t finished a romance novel so profound in its brilliance that it leaves you in breathless tears, and paused to think, “Nice, but I could do better.”

 

Comments are Closed

  1. 1
    Chrissy says:

    Sweet suffering angels… that first quote is enough to send me screaming for a dark spot in which to go fetal.

  2. 2
    karmelrio says:

    You write what you read and that means you need to read a love of romance stories to get some ideas from experts before you and that’s it in the nutshell

    Hey, who knew that Sarah Palin was an aspiring romance writer?

  3. 3
    Poison Ivy says:

    Now my eyes hurt. Incomprehensible language strewn with obvious grammatical errors.

    Yep, these are the people I’d go to for writing help.

    *headdesk*

    At least they could have posted a photo of a hot guy, the way the real estate scam infomercials have girls in bikinis. Give us something, please, since you can’t use words intelligbly.

  4. 4
    Teddypig says:

    I was just reading Naked Lunch the other day and decided I too could take that many drugs, be that messed up, and probably write just like that.

    But then I decided the hard part was having to find a wife willing to die for my art that’s when I figured maybe War and Peace was less daunting and work my way slowly up to Naked Lunch.

  5. 5
    JenTurner says:

    That site is to Romance Writers (and really, writers of any genre) what jumping in front of Picasso, snatching up his paint brush and kicking him in the junk…is to Artists.

    I’m with Poison Ivy up there. They should have, at the very least, included a photo of a hot, nekked man. Something, anything to divert the eyes from the mountain of crap on that page. :D

  6. 6
    Carrie Lofty says:

    …financially speaking, you should get ready to take your career up on the next level when you become a best-selling romance novel author.

    I’m ready, baby! Bring it on! Oh, wait…

  7. 7
    Laura says:

    Ow Ow Ow Ow Ow…

    So I went to the index page of the site, (selfhelp-hub.com) and found that this appears to be a blog based on “empowerment” and achieving goals…a multitude of them.  Here’s the most recent post:

    What is your attraction to a home based business? The fascination people have with wanting to start their own business from home is staggering yet when we look at the success of this model, the truth is, there is little success.Don’t get me wrong, yes, a home based business can bring you both money and time freedom but let’s ;look at the statistics. More than 95% of home business attempts come to a screeching halt while the attrition rate in network marketing for example is similar.

    I’m not sure if the same guy writes all the posts—business, weight loss, writing, spirituality—but they sure read the same way!

  8. 8
    Suze says:

    What an AWESOME website!!  A one-stop-shopping centre for all your questions.  Want to set up a home-based business?  Lose weight? Open your chakras? Write a romance novel?  We have ALL the info you need!

    Here are their categories:
      * Banish Fear
      * Dealing With Others
      * Do it yourself
      * Education
      * Goal Setting
      * Keeping Fit
      * NLP
      * Self Development
      * Self Help
      * Self Improvement
      * Self-help books
      * Spirituality
      * Time Management
      * Uncategorized
      * Weight Loss
      * Work From Home

    As a former Holistic Health Practitioner (there’s no money in it, unless you’re Louise Hay or Deepak Chopra), I’m kind of cringing right now, thinking about the kind of desperation that would drive a body to look here for advice.

  9. 9
    amy lane says:

    Oh my.  That easy, huh?  Well shit, what in the fuck am I doing wrong?  (Besides self-publishing.  Okay.  I knew that.)

    spamword—-other44, as in what are OTHER 44 things wrong with that paragraph!

  10. 10
    Jessa Slade says:

    I haf swallowed my tongue in astonishment.

    Suze, you’re right; I pity the sad soul who stumbles upon that site looking for actual help.

  11. 11
    Bren says:

    It isn’t often that I respond to dopes but I Just. Could. Not. Stop myself.  Here’s what I posted.
    ………………………………………………..
    This is a farcical piece, right? I am not sure who you are “Coach” but you clearly know NOTHING about writing romance novels!

    To write a good romance novel you first have to identify the genre for which you wish to author. You have to do *extensive* research in order to satisfy your readers not to mention the agents and publishers! You have to craft something that is actually readable, clearly presents conflict and resolution, has exceptional character development, provides authenticity both for the genre but for the food, clothes, vernacular and environment not to mention believable scenes between the protagonists. And no “wocka-wocka” sex scenes, either – you better know how to get people turned on without turning them off halfway through.

    You then have to secure representation by an agent – a whole separate and sometimes as arduous a project – IF and that’s a HUGE IF you can get your manuscript past the slush pile of SQUILLIONS of other manuscripts and many agents today don’t take unsolicited work. You then, if you are lucky enough to connect with an agent who will give you a crack in the door, have to rework and edit your novel into something the agent feels they can actually sell to a publisher, whether or not you like what the agent wants you to do.

    You then have to wait and pray and hope that your novel will somehow stand out from the hundreds of others being presented to publishers. And GOOD LUCK if you are a newbie – even authors with previous *good sellers* have been dropped by their agents and or publishing houses if subsequent books fail to sell well.

    Still think you can pull a romance novel out of your nose? Hop on over to one of the many writer’s boards and check out what they have to say.

    And, no, I am not a romance novel writer, just in case you were wondering. I just apparently have a little bit more realistic understanding of the tremendous amount of talent, drive and sheer tenacity REAL writers have.

  12. 12
    Kate says:

    oh the pain, the pain!  I made it through the first two paragraphs and now I’m torn between banging my head against the wall and getting something strong to drink.  owwww.  I need to convince myself I never read that.

  13. 13

    I mean, sheesh, who hasn’t finished a romance novel so profound in its brilliance that it leaves you in breathless tears, and paused to think, “Nice, but I could do better.”

    Not me.  I usually finish those and go curl up in a corner, drooling and mumbling “who the hell do I think I’m kidding????”

    Jess (who just made the mistake of going on a Bujold kick whilst trying to finish the Manuscript From Hell- not a recommended confidence builder, btw)

  14. 14
    Suze says:

    I really can’t get past the WTFery of the first paragraph.  Between “Boy meets girl.” and

    If you read this story, you’ll get dazed and confused but these are the real factors of a good romance novel and anybody who wants to do romance novel writing will surely agree to this.

    is a story synopsis (?) like a bad acid trip, and not in the fun Hunter S. Thompson way, either.

    Just, WTF?  These are the real factors of a good romance novel?  Really?  Parents and druglords and arranged marriages and elopements and cosmetic surgery and lions and tigers and bears?  In what universe?

    The Polyamorous Alien’s Stolen Secret Love Child’s Arranged Field Trip?

    This kind of blind pimping of catch phrases is one of the things that turned me off holistic health, too.  Alternative does not mean brainless, illogical, baseless crap.  And neither does Romance mean talentless, plotless, characterless shyte.

    Feh.

  15. 15
    Silver James says:

    The Polyamorous Alien’s Stolen Secret Love Child’s Arranged Field Trip?

    *snorts coffee out nose* If you write it, Suze, I’ll read it!

  16. 16
    ev says:

    Oh hell, I can’t even write a dirty limerick to go with Burma Sauce. I wouldn’t even try a novel of any kind. I know where my talentd lie. And where they don’t.

  17. 17
    Kirstin says:

    Wow. Just…wow.

    I could barely make it past the first paragraph. I had no idea that a book being over the top and needlessly “complex” is the equivalent of it being well written. Silly me.

  18. 18
    SonomaLass says:

    @Laura, it looks like the same person (Coach) writes all the posts.  Ugh. 

    I wonder about the whole set-up.  The articles usually seem to contain links to one or more other sites, offering free lessons or tips or some other scammy sounding thing.

    My favorite bit, though, has to be the disclaimer on the Secrets of Romance site, which is where the links in Coach’s post take you.  Here’s the best part:

    You agree to grant to Secrets of Romance a non-exclusive, royalty-free, worldwide, perpetual license, with the right to sub-license, to reproduce, distribute, transmit, create derivative works of, publicly display and publicly perform any materials and other information (including, without limitation, ideas contained therein for new or improved products and services) you submit to any public areas of the Site (such as bulletin boards, forums and newsgroups) or by e-mail to Secrets of Romance by all means and in any media now known or hereafter developed.

    Great scam, no?  You get a free series of writing lessons by email, and anything you write and share with your “teacher” becomes the property of whoever owns the web site.  And I’ve got to wonder how they eventually extort money from the suckers who sign up.

    Wow, just a lot of WTFery there.

  19. 19

    You write what you read and that means you need to read a love of romance stories to get some ideas from experts before you and that’s it in the nutshell

    So does this mean some innate ability to string words together isn’t required??? 

    Not gonna read it.  Don’t think I need the headache.

  20. 20

    Shall we just call this what it is, a WTFBBQ?  Like Amy Lane said, what the hell have I been doing all these years?

    Clearly written by a man drinking too much Burma Sauce – must have burned out his synapses.

    Off to find putty to fill in the head-shaped dent in my desk…

  21. 21
    Ms Manna says:

    It looks to me like an affiliate-link site, or something of that type.  The dead give-away is that if you take a phrase from one of the recent articles and Google it, you get hits on a number of similar sites with exactly the same canned crappy articles.  The articles are churned out by the thousand these days by badly underpaid writers, to create fake content for link/ad sites.  Don’t give them the page hits.

  22. 22
    tish says:

    Holy crap. I got a headache reading that first paragraph on the site. How are there NO comments there yet??

  23. 23

    Looks like simply another example of someone who doesn’t actually respect the romance genre (or understand the kind of craft that goes into writing good romance) misguidedly promoting it as easy. If someone tried to write a similar website on literary fiction, everyone would be laughing. Instead, I bet there are people out there who actually believe these misguided fools.

  24. 24
    JenTurner says:

    The Polyamorous Alien’s Stolen Secret Love Child’s Arranged Field Trip?

    THAT is the greatest freakin’ line I have read all day. LOL! So much so, my kool-aid became one with my laptop. :)

  25. 25
    Gwynnyd says:

    I got a headache reading that first paragraph on the site. How are there NO comments there yet??

    I left a polite, but not-very-flattering comment. It accepted it, then put up a red flag saying it ‘awaited moderation” before posting.

  26. 26
    P.N. Elrod says:

    In 2001, at least, one romance novel is read by over 50 million Americans,

    WHICH ONE? WHICH ONE??

    GODDESS DAMMIT, COACH, GIVE US A TITLE…WHICH FREAKIN’ ONE?!?!?!?!?

  27. 27
    Leah says:

    Lol, Teddypig!

    And when I read a great romance, I look at my little pile of pages and think, “ew, I really suck!”

  28. 28

    WHICH ONE? WHICH ONE??

    GODDESS DAMMIT, COACH, GIVE US A TITLE…WHICH FREAKIN’ ONE?!?!?!?!?

    It was written by Shiloh Walker…

    Hey, I can dream, right?  Since writing romance seems to be so easy, I need something else to occupy my time.  Might as well dream great big illusions of grandeur type dreams.  :)

  29. 29
    Anaquana says:

      In 2001, at least, one romance novel is read by over 50 million Americans,

    WHICH ONE? WHICH ONE??

    GODDESS DAMMIT, COACH, GIVE US A TITLE…WHICH FREAKIN’ ONE?!?!?!?!?

    I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say that there is a very high likely hood that it was probably one of Nora’s. *grin*

  30. 30
    Anaquana says:

    Rereads last post.

    D’oh… that should be likelihood… that’s what I get for spending all day in NaNo land.

    I was poking around the site and at least 95% of the posts under Banish Fear have to do with breast enlargement. o_O

    Err… what the heck does having larger breasts have to do with banishing fear? *said as a woman with a very small chest*

    Spamword last35. Yeah, I probably should have read my last post 35 times before hitting submit.

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