Monday, December 12, 2011

Kate Walker on her 12 Point Guide To Writing Romance and a Giveaway!

Kate Walker on Romance Writing and she's also giving away a copy of the Kate Walker's 12 Point Guide to Writing Romance!




But before we give over to her...a reminder! My Blog's sidebars on both sides have links to follow Tracy Sumner and Nina Jade Singer! Please follow on and comment on the blogs to go in mega draws! Tracy is giving away a KINDLE and Nina has a $100.00 Amazon Gift Certificate. As well as BOOKS to give away on all the stops!


And for great gift ideas for writer friends, check out Kate's Gift Suggestions! And read here about how and why Kate wrote this great guide!

So over to Kate now....


Writing a romance novel seems simple when you set out. You start with a conflict and then write the scenes to get you from the beginning to the end until that Happy Ever After Ending. But if you’re not careful, you get partway – perhaps a long way – through – and what started out so well suddenly seems to have s-l-o-w-e-d down so badly. The edge has gone off your conflict, the excitement just isn’t there – even the spark of sexual attraction between your hero and heroine just seems to have faded away. You have that writer’s curse – a sagging middle. And you know that no editor, or reader is gong to want to plough through the slow section to get to the end. So what causes it and what can you do about it?

The 'sagging middle' is a problem that so many authors come up against - and I'm not just talking about the need for a programme like Weight Watchers. The big problem with writing is that almost anyone can 'set out hopefully into the mist' and write the beginning of a book. Most people can have a good idea about the ending- and with Romance well it's easy. There's that Happy Ever After ending that everyone knows is coming, so you don't really have any decisions to make about that.


Donated to a University in FIJI through Kate's generosity.
Kate also donated a box of her books to a library in Fiji.

But the middle of a book - that can either be a wonderful, intense and involving exploration of the developing between your Hero and heroine, with lots of steps forward and almost as many steps back - it can include 'getting to know you' time and perhaps add in a few further twists in the plot - some unexpected moments and some fascinating discoveries. Or it can be a long dull, desert of a section where there is simply 'more of the same' - either more arguing, or more lovemaking (fine in reality but if you're just reading about it, it doesn't develop much - it tends to be much the same every time!) Or more misunderstandings - some more believable than others. Or more scenes where other people come in - other people who distract the reader from the H&h and so really shouldn't be there.

What exactly is the function of the middle of the book? Some people like to think of the story as having 3 act structure – where the first ‘act’ is the set-up, introducing the characters, giving the conflict and the reasons for it, and the third ‘act’ is the denouement where the hero and heroine find out the truth, they see what has been causing the problems and find a resolution to those conflicts. Then they reveal their love for each other and move into a happy ending. The middle section is one of confrontation and complication – where the conflict gets worse, the emotional tension builds and the characters personal inner problems deepen.

Taking all the above into account, the middle section of the romance should
  1. Develop the reasons for conflict, explaining them, healing some, possibly raising others – two steps forward, one back
  2. Show the growing relationship between the H&h - some ‘getting to know you time’ – some movement forward in understanding
  3. Maintain the tension by keeping good reasons why they don’t just leap into each other’s arms and live happily ever after
  4. Show some reasons WHY your H&h actually fall in love with each other – unrelieved dislike/arguing and mistrust is not a basis for the happy ever after ending you’re going to give them

Kate is giving away a copy of KATE WALKER'S 12 POINT GUIDE TO WRITING ROMANCE to one lucky commenter today! And Kate is sharing with Michelle Fayard about how and why this awesome writer's tool came to be written by her!

80 comments:

  1. I've heard nothing but great things about this book. Definitely on my to-buy list.

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  2. Thank you for this article, Kate. The sagging middle...that's the point I'm at in my current wip. The first half flowed really well. I hit the halfway mark last night and today I haven't written a word. Really wishing I had your book.

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  3. Hi Raelyn - and thank you. I'm blushing to think that you've heard nothing but good things about the 12 Point Gide! I hope that if you do put it on your to-buy list that it really helps

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  4. Hello Lorraine - I uderstand only too well that 'I hit the halfway mark .. .and haven't written a word' point. I hope some of this blog post helps you - and you'll be i n the draw for the book (or you can ask Santa!)

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  5. I have several novels started but always seem to hit that brick wall in the middle. I am putting your book on my list to get. :) Thanks!

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  6. I call that part 'Middle Earth' and it takes a lot of getting around. I have to leave the story and go write something else until my subsconscious gets to work.

    Great post as always Kate.

    Thank you for my gift which arrived a day or so ago. I was so happy to receive it and will enjoy my Christmas reading.

    Denise

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  7. I've heard nothing but good things about Kate Walker's book among romance writers. Keeping it interesting when the HEA is a foregone conclusion must be a tough slog. However, it seems to me Kate's general point could be applied to almost any type of fiction. So thanks, Kate, for the tips!

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  8. Sounds like I could do with a copy of this...

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  9. Hi Kate,

    A great post!

    And there is an awesome post on Gifts for Writer's from Kate over at

    http://romancereader-riya.blogspot.com/ too!

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  10. Oh the sagging middle curse. Lol. Thanks for the good tips.

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  11. I love the expression the sagging middle! This book is on my wishlist too, here's hoping.

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  12. Thanks for the taking the time to walk us through this middle thing. It's really difficult to know how to piece together the sparkling start with the emotional latter part. Your insights have been a great framework to build upon.

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  13. Sorry that anonymous is Summer Vasu. Forgot to sign in.

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  14. Thanks for another really helpful post Kate. I am finding your 12 Point Guide invaluable, a book I am sure I will go back to reading time and time again.

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  15. Fantastic post, Kate - I've just printed off your four points about the middle section, as this is the best description (and reminder of what it should include) that I've ever read. Thank you so much!

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  16. Ah, the sagging middle... (great name!). I'm remedying that at the mo by writing short stories. There's no space for a sagging middle when you only have 10 - 15 000 words to tell a story!

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  17. Hi again - the time zones caught up with me and I had to sleep while you all chatted but now I'm back again and I'll catch up with you

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  18. Hi Kirsten - I hope some of my post helps you get past that wall. I know just waht you mean - even after 60 books I can still reach that point. Thank you for putting my book on your list to get - I hope Santa will be listening! And I hope it helps if you do get it

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  19. Morning (well, it is here!) Denise - Middle Earth is a great description of that sticky tricky middle bit . And you're welcome for the gift - I hope you enjoy the books

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  20. Hello LP - the thing about writing romance is that the ending is a foregone conclusion but the journey there isn't. That;s what keeps it intersting. And I agree with you - that the points I'm making aren't specific to romance but to ficiton writing - one of the best reviews of the 12 Point Guide said that it applied to fiction writign not just romance so I hope that what I have to say helps novelists of all genres.

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  21. Aurelia - your name will certainly go into the draw for a copy! And if you don't win then I hope you find a copy and it helps you

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  22. Hi Riya! I was just over at your blog - lots of people chatting there too!

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  23. Hello Keri - I hope the tips help with any sagging middle problems you have - now if only I could find some cures for the 'sagging middle' around my waist!

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  24. Hi Alison - good luck with the draw for a copy of the book. I'm honoured to think that it's gone on your wishlist.

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  25. Hello Summer - thanks for letting me know it was you! I'm really happy if some of my comments helpg - I agree that it's often easy to start out 'sparkling' and you know the emotional ending that's ahead - but there's a lot of story to fill in between

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  26. Hi Susie! You keep making me smile with your lovely comments about the 12 Point Guide - I always said that I wrote it to help people who can't cvome to my workshops/courses and I'm always so pleased to hear that it does.

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  27. Hello Paula - I hope those points help you in the future - and make your middles a lot less saggy! I'm so pleased they helped make things clearer for you

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  28. You're right, Rachel, writing short stories is great trainig - making you think about whether this needs to be put or or that should be said. Yo have no time, and no word count for extras - but even when writing short, it is sometimes possible for tihngs to slow and sag a bit. So we need to keep an eye open just the same.

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  29. This is exactly what I've been thinking about the last couple of days. Thanks so much for the quick reminder of the way I want things to go in this story!

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  30. On my to buy soon list. I've heard great things about that 12 point guide. Thanks Kate. Thanks Nas. Great as usual. :-)

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  31. All my friends who are fast becoming published authors in their own right (or should that be write :-) )have all raved about your advice and this book Kate! I too am a victim of the mid point crisis and need all the help I can get to get past that. Fingers crossed I can win this draw and get the final peice of the puzzle I need to be a success too!!!

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  32. Hi Kate! Good to see you here at Nas'. I have this book and I highly recommend it - it's fabulous and so helpful.

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  33. Interesting breakdown of the romance novel. I have two friends who write romance and I'll turn them on to this one.

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  34. I heard wonderful things about your writing style and would love to know more. Hoping that I could possibly win your book and write a romance novel and give you credit for guiding me along the way. Love your blog and the links.

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  35. LOL love the pun "sagging middle" at first I thought we were discussing weight watchers tips and was wondering how that tied in with romance novels...

    Happy to say that I've not experienced any "sagging middle" while reading - thanks to all talented authors such as yourself Kate!

    Rita from South Africa

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  36. Hello to all my friends and a big welcome back to Kate!

    I can see you all are having a wonderful time chatting with Kate!

    Now that you have the chance to ask, please ask Kate all the writing questions you've always wanted to ask!

    And if you miss out on a prize, check out Kate's blog. She's just launched her 12 Days of Christmas! Prizes and Giveaways daily!

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  37. Hi Julia - I've been busy all day and out of the house and now I'm back to catch up again. It's a coincidence that this is what yoo've been thinking about recently - it's important to plan what we need to put into this part of the story and not just to wander - good luck with getting yours just right.

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  38. Hi Robyn - to buy *soon* hmm - perhaps a note to Santa might help ;o) As I say to everyone if you do get your hands on the book and it helps then I'd love to know. Sometimes I wish I could do more workshops outside the UK but right now the one in Italy (see my Events page) is the only one - but my 12 Point Guide goes where I can't go.

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  39. Hi Michelle - I love the thought of your friends getting published and saying thw 12 Point Guide helped - just what I'd hoped for. That mid-point crisis can be a real killer so I know what I'm talking abot and I wish I'd had someone to point out what i needed to remember when I started out. Good luck!

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  40. Lovely to see you too, Talli - and thank you for the lovely compliments. I did once reckon up how many newly published authors has said that 12 Point Had helped then - it was heading into double figures but I had a lovely suspicion that there are more now.

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  41. Good evening from the UK Cleem - I hope your friends who write romance find this helpful - though as I said it also applied to all sorts of fiction

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  42. Hi Jacqueline - oh how lovely to know that you've heard good things about my writing style - thank you. And I'm glad you enjoyed the blog and the links - I hope yo'll visit my blog often.And I'd love it if you could get published and give credit to the 12 Point Guide - fingers crossed!

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  43. Hi Jacqueline - oh how lovely to know that you've heard good things about my writing style - thank you. And I'm glad you enjoyed the blog and the links - I hope yo'll visit my blog often.And I'd love it if you could get published and give credit to the 12 Point Guide - fingers crossed!

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  44. Hi Rita - I could do with the Weight Watchers as well! But luckily the writing sagging middle is a bit easier to deal with - well, sometimes. I'm really happy to know that you find my books at least don't suffer from the sagging problem in the middle.

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  45. Hi Nas lovely to 'see' you again - and thank you so much for inviting me to chat with all your friends today.

    Thank you too for starting off my 'Countdown to Christmas' for the next 12 days - as you say, lots of book giveaways and I hoep some fun on my blog -
    Thanks so much for the big blog tour and everything you've done Nas!

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  46. This looks like a great reference book. Those are great points about the middle (sagging and how to prevent the sag).

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  47. Great character tips. Can be used in other genres. :)

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  48. Hi Kate,

    It was wonderful to read this article. A very timely piece of advice as my current book faces an extremely saggy middle. It started out a ripper and I now have my H&H looking around and asking: "So where to now?"

    Your 12 Point Guide to Writing Romance sounds like the perfect tool to help me up and over the hill to a bumper finish.

    Thank you for a great read, Nas & Kate :)

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  49. Saggy middles are not attractive! We definitely need to work on them to make them tight :)

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  50. Your four points are a great reminder, Kate, as I struggle through the middle of my current WIP

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  51. I haven't written any romance yet. But great pointers. :)

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  52. such great tips. The middle for me is always the hardest part. Thanks, Kate! <3

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  53. I liked the mini-lesson here Kate. Thank you so much for your time and expertise. I'm always eager for more books on writing, and your's looks enticing indeed.

    Hello Nas; sorry I've been away for so long. Wrapped up in my own world lately . .

    Thanks for stopping by my blog today. Have a wonderful week.

    .......dhole

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  54. Good morning - it's early morning UK time - Medeia. Thank you for coming by. I'm glad you found the points on the sagging middle - and how to get it 'unsagged'! - useful. I've been thrilled by how many people have said that they've found the 12 Point Guide so useful - it's made my week!

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  55. Hello 'M' - yes - I'd like to think that so much of my advice can be used in other genres. I could have called the book the 12 Point Guide to Writng Fiction - but romance is what I know best

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  56. Hello Juanita. Oh, I kow exactly how you're feeling - that moment when your H&h are looking round and saying 'what now?' That's when you realise that you haven't dug quite deep enough intotheir characters and the conflcit and their reasons for it to give you another twist, a deepening of the situation that takes the book one a couple of stages more - my advice? Have a 'talk' with your characters and find out what they are feeling right now and why - there will be some insecurity/lack of trust/hidden secret that you can build on. Good luck!

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  57. Hi Jemi - saggy middles aren't attractive in boos (and round my middle!) but a bit of work and 'tweaking' can hopefully soon sort them out

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  58. Good morning Shelley - I'll let you into a secret - reading through this post as I prepared it for Nas's blog, those four points reminded me just what I needed to remember for my own book. Good luck with yours

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  59. Hello Sharon - of course these tips don't need to apply only to pure romance - any fiction with a relationsip/romantic element can use the points I'm talking about - in fact, most fiction writers should look at their 'sagging middles' and see what they can do about it.

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  60. LTM - I suspect that the middle is so often the hardest part for so many writers. The beginning is new and sparkly and exciting. By the time we're heading for the ending we've a real idea of where we're going - but in the middle we can often run out of steam. And it can be harder in a shorter category romance because there are so many scenes that really wouldn't fit into that type of novel. I'm hardly likely to suddenly create a huge battle scene in the middle of my contemporary romances !

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  61. Good morning Donna. I'm like you I love to read books on wrtitng so that's why I tried to make my 12 Point Guide a little different - I made it partly a workbook too with a thinking/writing exercise at the end of each chapter. I always hope that readers will actually do those exercises and not just read them to get the best out of it.

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  62. I've got my copy of the 12 Point Guide and I can say that it is a great resource.

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  63. The importance of tension and conflict can't be under stressed. Sounds like a great guide.

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  64. I just love reading and placing myself in the story and when I'm finish I just continue the story in my mind. I would love to try my hand at a short story without the sagging middle.

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  65. Great discussion about sagging middles - something I definitely struggle with!

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  66. Love that two steps forward, one step back idea. This sounds like a great book!

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  67. Hello Maria - thank you. I'm so glad that you're finding the 12 Point Guide so helpful - and thanks for visiting here too

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  68. Good morning Lynda - yes, I sometimes think that readers are a bit mean to the hero and heroine - they love to see them caught up in tension and conflict and the more there is the more they enjoy the book!

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  69. Hello Cheri - that's the joy of reading a really good story isn't it? To get lost in the story and make it come alive in your mind. And it's the sign of a good writer who can make that happen

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  70. Good Morning Susan - I msuspect that almost all authors struggle with sagging middles at some point. (I struggle with it twice - once in my book and once round my own middle! ;o) )

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  71. Hi Deniz - that two steps forward, one back is something that has always helped me when I'm writing an emotional conflict for a book - just when the reader (and my characters) think that the hero and heroine are getting closer, something happens to move them further apart again and that increases the emotional tension. And tension is what helps keep the middle from sagging.

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  72. Now I need to call Charlie in from the garden and get him to pick a winner - back soon!

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  73. Sorry - Charlie too some time to find - he was out chasing squirrels!

    And the winner is - Juanita!

    Juanita will you please email me kate AT kate-walker.com with your postal address and I'll get your copy of the 12 POint Guide in the mail to you.

    EVeryone else - don't forget that over on my web site there is the Countdown to Christmas with lots more book giveaways - come on over, chat with everyone, tell me a bit more about yourself and you could win

    http://www.kate-walker.blogspot.com/

    See you there!

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  74. Congratulations Juanita!

    I'm so sorry for missing, please forgive me? We're having terrible weather with thunder and lightening and our net was down as well....anyway...

    Thank you Kate for this wonderful giveaway and taking time from your busy schedule to chat with us all here.

    And thanks to all my lovely friends who came by to chat with Kate!

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  75. Thanks Nas & Kate. It will take pride of place at my writing desk. what a great Christmas present :)

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  76. Great advice. Hopefully with this I'll be able to avoid the sagging middle in my rewrites.

    :-)

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  77. Very cool prize. Sounds like a must for writers of romance!

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