Romance writers are always learning and growing. If you ever looked back at one of your earlier pre-adulthood writings, you would hopefully see improvement between then and now. To that end, many romance writers who have made a successful career have some traits in common.
- The understand grammar. It’s okay to use “goin’” and “gettin’” if that’s the way that the character speaks. Ordinarily, most of the tenets of proper grammar are observed by writers. To write well, you need a solid foundation to work from even if you stray every now and again.
- They read a lot. You would be hard pressed to find a romance writer who isn’t a prolific romance reader. That is one of the ways that they knew that they wanted to be writers – they loved to read the written word.
- They study the market. This doesn’t mean that your historical romance novel won’t get published if the hottest thing now is vampire fiction, but you need to know what is going on around you and what publishers want. For short stories and such, a good writer can use the basics to craft stories on demand for publications like magazines and anthology books.
- Get help from other romance writers. This is one of the many uses of a critique group. You can have your manuscript or short stories read by others who are also writers. They will give you honest criticism to help improve your writing.
- Write with reckless abandon. This refers to letting the ideas flow onto the paper. As writers we wear an editing hat and a creative hat. Letting the creative hat have free reign during writing time ensures that all good ideas get captured.
- Learn the business. If you want to be a successful published romance writer, then you need to know a little bit about the writing business. What are romance publishers looking for? How do you find an agent? All of the answers to these questions can save you a lot of time and heartache in the long run.
- Keep a notebook and pen handy. You never know when an incident or even a person will strike up the creative juices. Instead of resorting to writing on your arm, keep some sort of writing instruments handy for jotting down character names, traits and plots.
- Submit to magazines and other publications. All of us want to be the next breakout novel but in the mean time you have to eat. Writing and submitting gets you in the habit of dealing with editors, rejection letters, acceptance letters and making revisions. All are a part of the romance novel writing process too.
- Keep a library of reference books. Is there one “l” or two in “traveling?” Your spell check will catch that one more than likely, but some grammatical errors or poor word choices are not flagged. Keeping handy guides around (like “The Elements of Style”) can help you keep it all straight.
10. Love of writing. You won’t do it day in and day out for a pile of rejection letters and rewrites if you didn’t have a passion. When it’s all said and done, you can say it was well worth the effort to see your cherished work in the hands of others.
Now, every romance writer may not have all of these traits, but they are sure close to it. See how many you have and strive to develop the rest.