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May 21, 2013

Tina's Guide to Writing Romantica
By Tina Engler, 2002

1. During "forced seductions", redeeming the hero is crucial - nobody wants to read about a rapist.  Make sure that the heroine clearly wants the situation to occur by the time there is penetration.

2.  Strong heroines are a must.  Women are much more interested in watching an independent female give a hero a run for his money, and then submit, rather than reading about a weak creature who is a pathetic, empty vessel, waiting to be filled.

3.  This is a take-off point on 2:  "brave resistance" = money for Author, "petulant heroine" = negative reviews.  There is a fine line between brave resistance, giving the alpha male a run for his money, etc. and having the heroine be cruel, vicious, petulant and unwilling to give the hero a break.  Said heroines are trying to the nerves, induce gritting of the teeth, etc.

4.  Monogamy = good, faithlessness = bad.  This rule is for the protagonists only/  The beauty of erotic romance is your secondary characters can get away with anything, so if a particularly kinky idea occurs to you, have the secondary characters indulge in it.  But for a protagonist....be careful!  The hero and heroine cannot have sexual penetration with anyone else once they have met.  If you allow that to happen, you will receive angry emails from women all over the world.

That said, you CAN get away with sexual touching in sci-fi so long as it's done properly.  In the Trek Mi Q'an series, for instance, there is something called a "Consummation Feast" where the heroine is brought to orgasm by the hands and mouth of five of more warriors before she's given to her mate for penetration.  In the Oath series, there is the "linking" ritual which requires a male close to the hero to rub all over the heroine's naked body while she's orgasming.  (You gotta love sci-fi!)  If the otherworld you build for your fantasy/futuristic setting includes multi-partner relationships, that is not "cheating."

5.  Don't always write the perfect heroines.  I can't stress this enough.  The occasional "babe" is okay, but they should be more of the exception to the rule than the rule itself.  Write chubby heroines, passingly pretty heroines, average heroines, etc., but not too many drop-dead gorgeous heroines.  Remember that your readers include every race, every culture, every body type.  Never refer to body fat in a bad way, for instance.  Call it "pleasingly fleshly" or something of that nature.

6.  Heroes are always tall, masculinely handsome (never pretty), muscular, and well-endowed.  It doesn't matter who his heroine is....the hero is always yummy.  Best selling heroes are also slightly obsessive - women readers love territorial ales who stake claims right off the bat and focus their energies on one woman.

7.  Vamps, futuristic/sci-fi, and MaleDom bondage sell the best.

8.  Always have a plot.

**I felt this was great information, in a quick, easy to understand format.  Many of you may know Tina Engler as the Founder of Ellora's Cave www.ellorascave.com while many more of you may know her by her Pen Name, Jaid Black www.jaidblack.com.  Either way, she is a leader in our industry, with years of experience, and valuable information to offer.  

**The information is taken directly, word for word, from: Ellora's Cave Publishing, Author Information and Submission Guidelines

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