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Writing a romantic novel

(44 Posts)
Annaram1 Wed 23-Jan-19 12:26:07

I have taken several writing courses and am nearly finished writing a romantic novel. I thought it would be perfect for Mills and Boon but on reading a few of their books recently I was quite shocked to discover how much quite graphic sex is in them, so that they are almost like the Fifty Shades books. Although there is a lot of love in my book (its actually about a love triangle) there is no graphic sex, only implied. My family all know I am writing it and are eager to read it once it is finished.
If I write a few sexy scenes I am afraid my children and grandchildren will think I am a dirty-minded old lady.
I could easily write the scenes as I have read all the Fifty Shades and 4 M and B books. By the way M and B are nt currently accepting any new submissions. I may well self publish of Amazon.
What would others do in my situation?

MissAdventure Wed 23-Jan-19 12:44:32

I would let the family think I was a dirty minded old lady.
Seriously though, tell them there is some sexy stuff in there, then its up to them if they want to read them.
They may prefer not to.
Good luck!

Annaram1 Wed 23-Jan-19 18:16:50

My book is a bit different to the normal romantic novel. There is the death of one of the women and the ending is strange, weird, and unsettling,
Perhaps a few sex scenes would take away from the romance? Think of some of the great Victorian romances - not that I am comparing my efforts to those - Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights etc. They did not include sultry scenes yet are still very sexy books, aren't they?

Jane10 Wed 23-Jan-19 18:41:18

Mills and Boon have several styles of book. They are not all raunchy. Google them. There are also templates outlining structure and character type required for their books. I looked at these out of interest. However, I couldn't bring myself to even try. Am too much of a feminist!
Perhaps there's a writers group local to you that you might enjoy going to. They might be able to advise you on best course of action or act as beta readers.

MissAdventure Wed 23-Jan-19 18:42:26

Yes, sometimes the anticipation is better than the nitty gritty of it.
Maybe you could find some other way to write in some spicy bits, or hint at them?

MawBroon Wed 23-Jan-19 21:33:50

There should be lots of inspiration on GN itself.
Not naming names but you might find the particular thread I and others are finding reminiscent of a “bodice ripper” shock

HildaW Wed 23-Jan-19 21:48:00

Don't they always say 'write what you know best'. The other advise is that its perilously easy to write sex scenes badly....they end up unintentionally funny. Mind you the power of subtlety is remarkable we all know that Mr Rochester is quite the filthy beast.

MissAdventure Wed 23-Jan-19 23:43:44

I can't remember which radio station, but they used to read an excerpt from an erotic novel each night.
Their best reader had a voice (like mine!) which was flat, and pure estuary English.
It was a great laugh.

FountainPen Thu 24-Jan-19 00:09:47

Writing about sex isn't dirty-minded. It's just a describing what people do quite naturally. It does however have to fit the flow and general timbre of the story.

I am sure we have all read novels in which a gratuituous sex scene has been added just for the sake of it. Ken Follett springs to mind. Or sex written so badly it has the reader cringing or rolling on the floor laughing. Anyone remember Morrissey's bulbous saluation? No? Probably best forgotten.

BradfordLass72 Thu 24-Jan-19 02:47:01

If you are uncomfortable writing raunchy scenes then your books will never sound or read well. Be true to yourself and write what make you happy. There's nothing which says you must have graphic sex scenes.

I used to be a working member of the Romantic Novelists Association and we had many talented authors, some of them better, in my view, than those already published by M&B.
However, in the 10 years I was with them, not one single manuscript was accepted by M&B or any other publisher with similar imprints "Because we're not accepting authors from your area" said the visiting M&B exeuctive at our annual meting.

Eventually, some authors elected to have their books printed with lovely covers too. They sold really well and the authors made a very reasonable amount of money, rather than the tiny percentage offered by publishers.

Do it your way Annaram1

Annaram1 Thu 24-Jan-19 10:47:25

Thank you all for your comments and advice. I used to belong to a local writers group but it closed. I have taken several online courses including Jericho Writers. These you have to pay for. Harry Bingham is very good and gives advice by email but in the case of sex writing he merely points you in the direction of one of his many videos. I have not yet had any advice which I feel comfortable with. I think I will probably leave out any blow by blow descriptions and stick with just hinting, ,,,

Anja Thu 24-Jan-19 11:30:23

Get an agent

Anja Thu 24-Jan-19 11:32:07

Incidentally writing a ‘romantic’ scene can be a master class in subtlety.

Annaram1 Thu 24-Jan-19 17:19:27

Hi Anja, Thank you for your opinion, I would be grateful if you could kindly give me some information on how to get one, please.

Are you by chance an author yourself?

NotTooOld Thu 24-Jan-19 18:11:56

The Writers and Artists Year Book lists agents as well as publishers. I don't think it's easy to get either, tbh. I have three full length novels I have written over the years that I would like to publish on Amazon but it all seems very complicated. Has anyone done this? How difficult was it really?

Ilovecheese Thu 24-Jan-19 19:24:15

It is not difficult to place a book on Amazon, I had a slight problem getting them to accept my ISBN number because I hadn't bought it fom their recommended supplier. But Amazon is just a marketplace, you have to advertise your book or get it reviewed yourself, or no one will know it is there.

Jane10 Thu 24-Jan-19 19:51:17

Writing the book is the easy bit! The next part is far harder. Look at the Writers and Artists Yearbook for info.
I have 2 published novels which are available to buy from bookshops and Amazon as well as in Kindle version. I've just plain been very lucky in meeting the right person at the right time followed by a series of helpful events none of which I could have imagined myself. That's no help to you though just to say that there isn't a sure fire way of getting a book published and promoted. I'd warn you that this us shark infested water. Beware publishers who would charge you money or organisations that promise to promote your book.

Annaram1 Fri 25-Jan-19 10:05:02

As far as I know, getting an agent is not easy. Anja seems to know how to get one. I have the names of just 2 UK agents who might be interested in submitting my book to a publisher. If the publisher accepts it I will get a payment and the agent will take a hefty share.
If I publish with Amazon I will get a lot more money but as noted by others you do have to work to get it noticed,

Annaram1 Fri 25-Jan-19 10:11:34

I will just add that after finishing the first draft of my novel I got a pop up from Austin Mitchell, a vanity publisher, and I sent them a hard copy of the book. After oohing and aahing and telling me what a wonderful book it was they pjroposed to publish it at a fee of £3800. Do not be fooled by them or any other vanity publisher. I asked them to send me back the hard copy as I needed to make some revisions. They sent it back. I received a couple of phone calls asking when I might be finished with it. I fobbed them off. Then I got a bill for £3800!
I rang them immediately and they apologised profusely and said they thought they had published it! The editors I had spoken to had left.

Jane10 Fri 25-Jan-19 10:15:55

Oh yes! Austin Macauley- avoid avoid avoid. It's better to hang on to your rights to the book rather than sell them off to a publisher who may not even get round to publishing it.
These are all tips and suggestions garnered from speaking to other writers. There's a huge writers community out there. Even if your local group has closed there are lots of online ones. Supportive and helpful. Check out Twitter.

Anja Fri 25-Jan-19 10:46:37

You can look up agents online. Concentrate on those who deal in your particular genre. Then submit using some of these guidelines

Getting your book noticed. or you can self publish eg on Amazon.

Anja Fri 25-Jan-19 10:50:24

I would also suggest you join a Writers’ Circle. You can get useful feedback and help from others. Or start one yourself.

Annaram1 Fri 25-Jan-19 17:31:34

Thank you Anja. Are you an author yourself?

Annaram1 Sat 26-Jan-19 10:18:24

Oh no - I have just got another bill from AM saying they want their £3800 and as far as I know they never published my book, or sent me a preview copy with cover to approve, and I never got my 15 copies included, Apparently the firm is in a mess with staff leaving all the time. I am never going to pay.
I will probably publish on Amazon and it is not difficult apparently, E L James started publishing Fifty Shades there.

NotTooOld Sat 26-Jan-19 22:15:16

That is the problem with self publishing, the need to do one's own marketing. Thanks for the warnings about Austin Macauley. I have received similar pop-up ads from them and was considering contacting them but now I don't think I will. Perhaps I'll just go back to writing stories for my little granddaughter! Perhaps GN could consider publishing a book of short stories written by we grans? Perhaps a competition to select 20 of the best?