Romance Includes You, The Writing Life

Medicals Romance Includes You recap

It was such a pleasure to see how many people participated in the Medicals Romance Includes You pitch session, and the variety of plots was impressive! As an author who joined the medicals family through So You Think You Can Write, I know how nerve-wracking pitching must have been. Congratulations to everyone who put themselves out there, and even if you didn’t get that ‘thumbs up’ from one of the editors, please don’t give up.

We all have stories to tell, and you can be sure there are people in the world who want to hear them.

I want to hear them.

Just prior to the pitch session, a lady contacted me through my website and asked for my opinion on her pitch. I was extremely flattered, because this profession can be an extremely isolated one, where I write and write and never know if what I’m putting out is really liked. I’ve gotten to the point where I don’t really think about it much anymore (and I rarely, if ever, read reviews) but it is nice to hear from the occasional reader.

Giving her a few pointers took just a few minutes of my time, and I wished her all the best, hoping she’d attract the editors’ attention, because I’d like to see how she handled her plot.

So, that’s my next point to all those hopeful authors out there.

Don’t let anyone’s opinion make you think you’re laboring in vain, even if it feels that way.

If this is something you really want to do, keep trying. Bad writing, if done frequently, can lead to good writing, as you keep learning and find your voice.

On a slightly less upbeat note, I saw a few pitches that had me thinking that perhaps that particular person hadn’t read any Harlequin/Mills & Boon medicals. There were plots points and situations I’d think many more times than twice about pitching to my editor. High drama is wonderful, but there are ways to take that to extremes and risk turning off the readers.

So, if you’re determined to break into the Medicals line, read the books. That’s really the only way to figure out what the editors are looking for. While preferred plots, characters, etc. change, the tone of the line remains fairly constant.

There were also a few pitches with typos, and missing punctuation. Now, let’s all be honest, typos happen to EVERYBODY. Yet, if ever there was a time to get obsessive about what you’ve written, it’s when trying to attract an editor or agent’s attention. Typos will get you attention—of the wrong sort!

But the bottom line really is, congratulations to everyone who pitched, because it takes guts to do! To those who got the nod, all I can say is, “Get writing! We’re all waiting…”

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

The Medical Romance Includes You Pitch Event is almost here!

Medical Romance Includes you

It’s almost time for our #MedicalRomanceIncludesYou pitch event!

From 8am until 8pm GMT this Friday, March 26th, two of our Harlequin Medical Romance editors  will be eagerly awaiting pitches for our Medical Romance series from underrepresented authors (underrepresented voices includes, but is not limited to, authors who identify as Black, Indigenous or people of color (BIPOC), members of LGBTQ+ communities, marginalized ethnic and religious cultures, and people with disabilities and neurodiversity. to review).

Here’s a reminder of how to submit your pitch:

Hannah Rossiter from the Harlequin Medical Romance editorial team will be monitoring the #MedicalRomanceIncludesYou hashtag on Twitter for your pitches. Follow Hannah Rossiter on Twitter at @Hannah_ER24 for updates.

Megan Haslam from the Harlequin Medical Romance editorial team will be monitoring pitches on the #MedicalRomanceIncludesYou event on the Harlequin Writing Community Facebook group. To join the Harlequin Writing Community group on Facebook, select “going” to the #MedicalRomanceIncludesYou event and post your pitch (500 characters max) to the event “Discussion” area.

Please choose only one social platform, Twitter OR Facebook, to post a pitch on. Please do not pitch your book on both platforms. Don’t worry, Hannah and Megan will be reading every single pitch, so as long as you post it once, they’ll see it! If Hannah or Megan give your pitch a “like” please submit your first chapter and story synopsis to Harlequin Medical Romance for review here. Be sure to include “Medical Romance Includes You” in the subject line.  Your synopsis should be 1-2 pages, and your first chapter should be about 3000-5000 words.

All submissions will be read and responded to within 60 days.

Need a reminder of what makes a story fit for the Harlequin Medical Romance series? Check out these tips from the editors and find out what they hope to see in your medical reads!

We can’t wait to read your medical romances!

All that’s left to say is…

Good luck!

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Medical Romance Includes You: Hints and tips from our writers.

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!

Susan Carlisle

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.

Fiona McArthur

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.

Traci Douglass

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.

Ann McIntosh

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.

Fiona Lowe

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.

Louisa Heaton

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.

Kate Hardy

* 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)

Becky Wicks

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.

BE RELIABLE
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!

Annie Claydon

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!