The Medical Romance Authors are so excited about the current #MedicalRomanceIncludesYou Facebook and Twitter event for under-represented voices, on the 26th March 2021! If you haven’t heard about this yet, there’s still time to get your entry ready so check out the details here.
The Twitter and Facebook pitch event is specifically looking for underrepresented voices who love to write Medical Romance. The Editors welcome submissions from all authors at any time via the Harlequin Submittable page.
We’d love to encourage anyone who’s thinking of writing their own medical romance to give it a try. So we’ve gathered some of our own, personal, hints and tips together – things that have helped us and which we hope will help you in your journey.
Good Luck, everyone!
Keep in mind the story is about the characters, about how they think and feel in a situation. Emotion is what draws the reader into the characters world. You can write a great story and show emotion but if they don’t work together you don’t have a book. Also, the medical scenes are vehicles for the characters to learn something about each other. Good luck.
Two things changed my writing forever. I hope they change yours.
Finish the book before submitting a partial – it took ten years of three chapters and rejections before I learned my book didn’t grab until I knew the whole journey.
Don’t expect to write thousands of words every day. Some days, you will. But five hundred words a day, everyday, will give you a medical romance in a hundred days. Imagine. You’ve always wanted to write a book – now you can – in one hundred days. Good luck. Being a writer is wonderful.
To be more productive, word count wise, on a given day, try sketching out whatever scene(s) you’re working on ahead of time. Even if you’re a writer who doesn’t like to plot, per se, knowing the basics can help you write faster. I like to do basic points—who, what, where, how and why—to make sure I’m staying on track and things are moving in the direction I want them to. Knowing what you want and need to accomplish in a particular scene will make it less daunting to sit in front of that blank page.
Also, the point of view characters goal at the beginning of the scene and at the end helps too. And don’t forget the emotional arc. That should change as well from the start of the scene to the end to keep the story moving along.
As authors we’re constantly told, “Write what you know,” but when it comes to writing a medical romance, my advice is don’t be intimidated by what you DON’T know.
Medical romances are, first and foremost, romances. Medical professionals and first responders—whether doctors, nurses, paramedics, firefighters, vets, etc.—have the same hang-ups, phobias, family and relationship issues as the rest of us. Focus on the relationship conflict first, and think of the medical drama as a way to either up the stakes (e.g. they’re vying for the same job! Bucking heads over treatment options!) or to bring them closer together (e.g. she thinks he’s a dink until she sees him holding a scared patient’s hand, or a rescued baby!). If you’re comfortable doing medical research and love writing romances, go for it! We’re looking forward to welcoming you to our happy group.
When you’re writing category romance, learn what’s popular in the line. After four rejections, I wrote a pregnant doctor working for the flying doctors, hitting two themes. They bought the book!
Don’t let anyone steal your voice. I was so desperate to be published, I let my critique groups’ opinions sway me. A Mills & Boon editor said to me, ‘your voice seems to disappear then return.’ It was a big revelation to me and I reclaimed my voice. They bought the book.
Finish your work. Even if you don’t manage to sell it, or get it published, you will learn A LOT from writing an entire draft.
Each story will teach you something new.
Don’t get hung up on how long you think chapters should be! I see this concern an awful lot on forums. Your chapters are as long (or as short) as you need them to be. Chapters need to end on some sort of hook and this is what is most important. How will you make your reader want to read on? How do you make them want to find out what is going to happen? How will that situation resolve itself? What will happen to your heroine? Your hero? Leave your reader wanting more. Needing to know more.
* start at a point of change
* remember the medical is there to throw light on your characters or the situation
* if it’s not working, try writing the scene from the other character’s point of view (but avoid head-hopping – best to stick to one point of view per scene – and from the POV of the character who has most to lose)
ADOPT A FRIENDLY APPROACH
If you haven’t approached Harlequin before, it’s really all about your cover letter/email! Are you coming across as approachable, friendly, enthusiastic? Our lovely editors get a lot of mail every day, so it helps if you’re memorable off the bat. Forget formalities, politeness is fine but no one wants to work with a robot!
KEEP IT SIMPLE
Don’t use long words, in either your pitches or your cover letters. Remember, chances are, if you don’t know the meaning of a word, no one else will either, not without opening a dictionary!
BIG UP YOUR SOCIAL SKILLS
If you already have a social media following, shout about it. If you’re at a point where you can sell your own books to a fan base, sales and marketing will love you more. And yes, it’s unfair for those of us who can’t even open Twitter without crying but that’s the world we live in. Popularity sells.
If an editor likes your idea and asks for more information, or something else back within a timeframe, leave your tardiness at the door and check in when you’re meant to. Or before. Knowing you’re an author/potential author who can be relied upon to deliver, whatever it is, will work hugely in your favour!
Sending your work off to an Editor can be daunting, but take your courage in both hands, and be confident – write your own story in your own voice. Believe in yourself, finish your story, and submit your work!
But don’t be over-confident – read what’s already been published in the line you want to write for and listen to the Editors’ comments because they are always worth their weight in gold. Always know that you can improve your work, and read it through (maybe reading it aloud to yourself, if that helps you to ‘hear’ your own voice more easily). Don’t be afraid to change or delete passages that you think aren’t working.
More of Kate Hardy’s advice on writing can be found on her website – this is a must-read for new writers.
And don’t forget the Write for Harlequin website. The Write for Harlequin Community Facebook page also offers lots of encouragement and good advice, including an Editor chat with Megan Haslam and Hannah Rossiter about the #MedicalRomanceIncludesYou event.
If you have a question, or you’d like to send a few words of encouragement to new writers, please post here. We’d love to hear from you!