Pippa Hearts Presents
The journey of one (relatively) young, single girl’s romance with Harlequin Presents!
by Harlequin Presents editorial assistant Pippa Roscoe
Sorry ladies, my dating life has been put on hold this week to focus solely on your wonderful submissions! But I’m sure I’ll have even more exploits to kiss and tell you about next month. In the meantime…
Thank you to all the lovely people who entered our online pitch competition this month. We had a whopping 39 submissions in just two weeks and the Presents team just can’t wait to read them! The authors of our top 5 pitches will be contacted early next week and invited to an exclusive online chat where they will come in character!
However when one door closes on the competition, it still leaves another open. To get all of you aspiring authors buzzing with enthusiasm and creativity for your future submissions, we have asked five of our newest, brightest Presents authors to give us their top writing tips! After all, who better than to advise you than the authors who have sat where you sit?
Here are Victoria Parker’s secrets to success… Her debut, Princess in the Iron Mask is on sale in July.
Tempted by partials? To a new writer, this sounds so obvious but when someone tells you to finish the book know that it’s the best advice you’ll ever hear. Not only will the hair-tearing yet addictive process greatly improve your craft, the partial you then send to an editor will be far stronger starring fully-developed characters they are sure to love.
Trade secrets? For me it’s all about the characters and the plot should rise organically from the very people you’ve created. Make them breathe with emotion. Give them interesting conflicts so they clash and bond and plenty of room to grow. Then let them lead each other to their HEA.
Dani Collins’ tips on making your writing shine… Dani’s debut, Proof of Their Sin is available in July.
Submitting these tips was hard! Writing short is tougher than writing long. You have to be succinct, but pack a punch.
I try to use an active voice, side-line secondary characters, and continually ask myself ‘How is he/she feeling? Why?’
Keeping the heroine aspirational is paramount, so I also ask, ‘Where is her self-respect?’ If she’s folding, she needs an emotional motivator beyond love (especially if it’s unrequited.)
And get as much emotion on the page as you can. Good luck!
In August Michelle Smart debuts with The Rings That Bind. Her words of wisdom are…
1) Read as many Presents as you can lay your hands on.
2) Read as many Presents as you can lay your hands on.
3) Read as many Presents as you can lay your hands on.
Once you’ve read them as many times as you can, the ‘flavour’ of the line will seep into your writing without you even realising it. Most importantly of all… Do NOT
give up. Perseverance is key.
Tara Pammi’s top tips… Her debut, A Hint of Scandal, is available in October.
Write every day, even through the hard days. Even if it’s just sketching out the next scene. I’m always amazed at how fresh and cohesive the story remains in my head when I do that.
If the ‘R’ letter comes, consider it a badge of honor, a rite of passage. Take a break and come back with an action plan. I always used those periods for binge reading all the latest Presents. J
Within the guidelines, make the story your own. This I truly believe is what separated my rejected stories and the one that caught my editor’s attention – because I stopped thinking what the story ‘should be’ and instead let my characters really tell their story.
So You Think You Can Write competition winner, Jennifer Hayward, debuts in October with The Divorce Party.
The unique storyline of The Divorce Party helped me catch the SYTYCW editor’s attention. What distinctive idea or spin on a tried and true tale makes your story stand out?
Read great writers, take all the courses you can — absorb what works for you, then sit down and write the story that keeps you up at night. Your passion will shine through.
Give your voice permission to take over. Don’t hold back – make it the heart and soul of your book.
So just before I go, I hope that you found the wonderful advice from our sparkling new authors inspiring and that you’re raring to go, ready to put pen to paper, or finger to keyboard! But, ladies, if there are any burning questions you would like our advice on, please post comments and we will get back to you!