Waiting for "The Call"

“Honey, it’s always crap. Every book I write is crap. It’s my job to fix the crap afterwards,” according to Nora Roberts. Well, I've got it half right. Still working on the "fixing it" part. "Trust your characters to be complex enough and to have enough emotional baggage. Force them to make hard choices." Advice from Michelle Styles that might help!

New Harlequin/Mills & Boon comp! July 6, 2009

Filed under: Writing and Life — Autumn Macarthur @ 10:18 pm
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There’s a new Modern/ Modern Heat/ Presents contest for first chapter and synopsis just announced on the Mills & Boon and I Heart Presents  sites. Click on the words Mills and Boon for the link to the UK site, or on I Heart Presents for the information there.

The closing date is not til November so plenty of time to get the new story done for it even after I mess around for a while with multiple versions of Luk and Emma!




16 Responses to “New Harlequin/Mills & Boon comp!”

  1. Eileen Says:

    do you have a link you can post?

  2. waitingforthecall Says:

    Ack, I’m on the train and won’t be able to post a link til tonight! If you go to I Heart Presents (it’s in my links list to the right there) it was yesterday’s post.

  3. Eileen Says:

    Thanks for the link!

    I must be crazy. The last thing I need is a completely new project on top of all my other thoughts. Particularly I don’t need one where I’d need to study the line but that’s what I find myself doing tonight: studying the line.

    My last writing workshop pushed us to study other people’s stories to pull out their structure and then train our own stories to grow on that structure (like training a plant to a trellis). No two stories turn out the same but it works very interestingly and I write very well within the trellis. So I’m doing what every romance writer dreads: I’m working scientifically to find the schema in published novels. LOL!

    It’s not as bad as that though. Mostly I’m trying to boil down how fast things happen (in how many words). If I don’t give myself a word count my characters tend to go off on internal tangents about how the marble floor is a perfect reflection of their cold heartless interior … and that’s really hard to recover from.

    I should concentrate on something else but I keep thinking /it’s less than 50,000 words/ so short … so … doh.

  4. waitingforthecall Says:

    Hey I completely understand what you mean about the trellis! That’s exactly what I’ve been trying to learn in my current story. I thing that once I realy understand it, my stories will write quicker and work better. Not the mythical “formula” idea, but as you say a structure to support the story we want to tell, the elements that need to be there to create a strong story that takes the reader on an emotional journey. 50,000 words is an excellent discipline! We are forced to right tight, pare the story done to the essential elements. The main appeal to the longer lines is the space to include more, but I’m thinking I will actually do better writing longer if I master the shorter stories first. I love the intensity of short category! Are you thinking Presents, or Modern Heat?

  5. waitingforthecall Says:

    Also thinking about the marble floor thing. My first drafts are internal monolgue city! But I also think that adds emotional richness and depth to the story. I guess using it as seasoning rather than the main ingedient is the key. And sometimes I think we tell the reader too much, we’ll I know I do. Readers don’t want to have to work to hard in popular fiction, but do like figuring things out.

  6. Eileen Says:

    A lot of times it is about writing it so you can cut it later. A few sentences on the marble floor might be good but my original paragraph or two? Not so much.

    I think Modern Heat … see the difficulty for me is seeing the difference between Presents and Modern Heat because in the US both are packaged under the title “Presents” with EXACTLY the same packaging, but from the descriptions the main difference seems to be that Modern Heat is “chic urban” and Presents Modern Romance is “exotic travel.” Is that about right? Other than that they’re both fun, young, wealthy and sassy, right?

    (BTW I originally typed ‘sassy’ as ‘assy’. Yeah. That too I guess.)

  7. waitingforthecall Says:

    The heroines are sassy, the heroes sometimes assy. If you go on the UK M&B site and look at the Moderns, it shows which ones are Modern Heats. The titles are in red on the covers. Though things are complicated further by the fact they often change the title for the US release!probably best to go by author, some of them write for other lines but I don’t think many write both Presents and MH. I like Kate Hardy, Trish Wylie, Heidi Rice, Natalie Anderson. Julie Cohen used to write them and her stories are fab. There are a few others who write for MH that I haven’t read yet but will! I think your assessment of the difference is right. MH characters are usually younger and urban based, though not necessarily. The tone is lighter, and the conflicts less dark and dramatic. There’s more humour. Generally children, though pregnancy definitely is a possibility. I’m not sure my WIP will fit. The tone and conflict is right, but it’s hardly urban! I’m not convinced I should submit it anyway. I get the feeling it’s better treated as a learning experience! The new story I want to do for the contest should work well for MH. Have you got characters in mind already?

  8. Eileen Says:

    I have a Kate Hardy title which I intend to read this weekend. The opening chapter was superhot in the online preview even if it did leave me with almost no idea of who the heroine was other than “not his usual type” lol. I’m looking forward to unpacking that one.

    I think it’s definitely worth submitting your story even though it’s not PRECISELY within the scope: the worst that can happen is that it’s rejected right? 🙂 Besides, I just finished a Presents title (Lee Wilkinson, I think) where three whole chapters in the middle of the novel are spent in back story that happened 7 years prior. That seems like an insanely long time to spend in flashback and yet it worked well enough to be published!

    I’m starting to think of my heroine — she and her best friend are putting together a clothing label in NYC. She meets the hero at this schmooze and invest in the label party where she mistakes him for someone less important and therefore puts her foot in it which he (of course) finds intriguing. Unfortunately, I don’t know much more about him at the moment than that he has money and he likes challenging outspoken women who want nothing to do with him. Got any suggestions for a part playboy part businessman?

  9. waitingforthecall Says:

    I love Kate Hardy’s style- I hope you enjoy the story! I have her latest MH in ebook- I want to read it this weekend as the stories from last year would have been written before they alphaed up the guidelines for the MH hero. Your heroine and starting scene sound intriguing and very MH- I would love to read this! Hmm, your hero? Why is he at the start-up party? What makes him the last person in the world the heroine would want to fall in love with? What makes the heroine the last person in the world he would want to fall in love with? I have a fair chunk of the plot for mine- but I hope it’s not too much of a “cute meet” of the type editors hate!My heroine gets stuck in a lift with a stranger. Two hours later, when they finally get out the lift, they aren’t strangers any more,and she’s solved the problem ofbeing let down by herdate for her friend’s wedding that weekend. A weekend fling follows, all very Four Weddings-ish, until on Monday she discovers that he is the mystery business opponent who is trying to take over her father’s hotel chain. Ack, it sounds pretty bad written like that! It’s really not as coincidental as it all sounds (apart from the lift breakdown), he had good reason to be in the building, and neither of them know who the other is, or tell the truth about who they are. In fact, it’s like a game they play, to deliberately not know anything about each other for the weekend, a way of making it a perfect no risk interlude completely outside of real life. Of course,when she finds out who he is, she thinks he knew who she was all along and was just manipulating her. She has a bad track record when it comes to relationships, so she doesn’t trust herself or her instincts when it comes to men. So her big emotional journey is to learn to trust him. I’m not 100% sure yet what his will be, but it will come. Or what the black moment is, because I don’t think it will be finding his real identity, that comes much much earlier in the story. Hmm, clearly, this needs more thought. And I want to get at least all the way through a solid first round edit of Luk and Emma, and polish up their partial to get off to Richmond before I even start on this one. The lure of the bright shiny new story is tempting me!

  10. Karen Says:

    Hi, this competition is for Unpublished, is that right. Or does it mean those not published with Harequin Mills and Boon.

    Thanks, 🙂

  11. waitingforthecall Says:

    Karen, as far as I know it’s for “not published with HMB”. I would think if someone had a story with a smaller e-publisher or little press it wouldn’t necessarily disqualify them. I’m no expert though- maybe the best place to ask the question would be on the Official Rules thread at I Heart Presents.

  12. Tarnya Says:

    I’ve had a hard time trying to find an answer. It is saying here, ‘All Unpublished’ does this mean, unpublished with Harlequin Mills and Boon, or everyone else that is published elsewhere is not allowed to enter.

    Thank you,

  13. Tarnya Says:

    ooppss sorry its already been posted and answered. 🙂

    I think it means those who are not published with Harlequin, but I need to check. lol..


  14. waitingforthecall Says:

    Tarnya, do remember I’m no expert on the competition, I’m just going to be entering too! I’ve only had a couple of articles published, no fiction or romance, so I don’t think that would disqualify me.
    Follow the link to I Heart Presents for the full rules, and good luck with your entry!

  15. Amy Says:

    Hi all,

    Amy from Harlequin & I Hearts Presents here! A pingback led me this post. Yes, you can enter the contest if you have published elsewhere in the past, just as the long as the story you submit hasn’t been published, submitted before, or won a previous contest or award.

    Best of luck to you all!

  16. waitingforthecall Says:

    Thanks for visiting and answering that question, Amy. BTW, I’m Mulberry on I Heart.

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