Revival of a Lapsed Romance Writer

Revival of a Lapsed Romance Writer

In 1993, I wrote a ‘how to write’ article for the Macmillan Writer’s Handbook, at their request, called ‘Writing for the Romance Market’. (I’ll post it another time, I don’t want to bore you with the whole thing now, and it is years out of date!!)  At that time I‘d had three novels published by Harlequin Mills and Boon.  Ahead of me, although I didn’t know it, were another 18 novels to my name before I wandered off track, bought a house in France, acquired an allotment and eventually went back out to work.  At that point for a variety of reasons, it just seemed easier to stop trying to write my next novel and do something else instead.

When I re-read my article recently, I was struck by the irony of the 3-point plan I recommended – perseverance, flexibility and credibility. Persevere; don’t give up just because you’ve had a few rejections. Be flexible, open and willing to take criticism, revise and change direction; Do lots of research to make your plots, your characters and the environments they live in, credible…

Yes, well, if you said that then, I hear you thinking, why the hell didn’t you practice what you preached?

I think the trouble began when I started letting the Procrastination Pixies into my life, and saying slightly pathetic things to myself, like:

  • I just can’t think how to write my next novel;
  • I suppose I could start my next novel, but only when I’ve cleaned the bathroom, vacuumed the house and thrown out assorted mouldy food from the bottom of the fridge.

Anyway, being a lapsed romance writer is much better than being an ex-romance writer, i.e. I might have stopped actively practicing the thing full-time, but the programming in my head has never really gone away.  The desire to write has never really left me. I’ve got a dozen or so half-finished WIP’s on my computer to prove it.

And the good news is, I have decided to turn over a new leaf, change my ways, and my 2012 Resolution is to REVIVE my writing career.  With a view to this, I have dug out all my old ‘how to write’ books.   Over the years I’ve bought lots of excellent books on ‘how to write’. I have just retrieved a random selection from the top shelf, including; 


Writing the Breakout Novel


Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook by Donald Maass

Solutions for Novelists


Solutions for Writers by Sol Stein

‘Twenty Master Plots and How to Build Them’ by Ronald B Tobias

On Writing by Stephen King


The Craft of Writing Romance by Jean Saunders

There are loads more, hiding somewhere under piles of stuff.  (If you saw my study you’d understand.)

I’ve also just treated myself to a few more, namely;

‘The Novel Writer’s Toolkit


‘Write it Forward’ by Bob Mayer.

Are You There Blog, It’s Me, Writer’


We Are Not Alone’ by Kristen Lamb.


‘The Little Book of Writing Romance’ by Liz Fielding

I recommend them all. I feel a revival may be underway. Kristen Lamb has coaxed me cleverly into the 21st century. Liz Fielding’s is a brilliant ‘hands-on’ guide, with great excerpts from her own novels as examples.  And best of all, Bob Mayer has confirmed it’s okay to watch loads of movies as research for plots. In the daytime!

Yey!  A writer’s life doesn’t get any better than this!

How do you distract yourself from having to get on with your book?

Or are you a prolific, perfectly disciplined author?  Please let me know how you do it if you are!

I’d really love to hear from you!




About Rosalie Ash

Rosalie Ash is a member of the Society of Authors and the Romantic Novelists Association. Between 1989 and 1999 she wrote 21 successful contemporary romance novels, published by Harlequin Mills & Boon. She then decided to drag herself out of her romantic bubble into the world of work. Now, over a decade on, she has started writing romantic fiction again, as well her latest passion, children's picture books for age 3-5, and she is now a member of SCBWI-UK (Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, UK).
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4 Responses to Revival of a Lapsed Romance Writer

  1. Bob Mayer says:

    Thanks for the mention. Story is story and there are some great people writing movies and shows for TV. I’m a big fan of the cable channels for some outstanding shows such as The Wire, Rome, The Sopranos, Boardwalk Empire, The Good Wife and others.

  2. Jill says:

    Glad to read you are getting motivated! Facebook can be a bit of a distraction, but on the other hand, I really like the quick exchanges you can have with friends, when a phone call is not really called for.
    I will check your Facebook & website to see how you’re getting on 🙂

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