This week I’m reviewing a book just for the romance writers out there. And because I belong to the romance writing community myself, I’ll include a few more books on editing specifically for romance writers in the coming weeks. Because the genre focuses on emotional development and relationships, there’s a ton of internal conflict that must be structured into the plot and into character development, so editing romance novels will have some very specific-to-the genre issues to concentrate on. But with Ebony McKenna’s Edit Your Own Romance Novel, you’ll know where to start, what to pay attention to, and how to edit your own work. There’s a lot of good reasons to pick up KcKenna’s book, but my top three are:
- It pays attention to fixing backstory issues
- It highlights connections between micro and macro issues (mechanics and story issues)
- It serves as a good general how-to for the romance genre.
Cut that Backstory!One of my pet peeves in any genre of writing is the info dump. That moment, often in the first pages, where the author tells us everything about the main character’s past and present woes, everything she’s feeling, and everything she’s scared of? You know it? When I encounter that info dump, I simply quit reading. I’m not alone. McKenna also dislikes backstory. I mean, really dislikes it, almost as much as I do. We might be kindred spirits. But she doesn’t just tell you she dislikes it and shame you for doing it. She shows you what it looks like, how to find it in your own writing, and how to CORRECTLY integrate backstory into your work. Because there is a way to do it right, and you’ll have to read McKenna’s book to find out how. 🙂
Fix Your Story, Fix Your MechanicsI mentioned in a previous editing book review that problems with sentence structure, grammar, and mechanics, are often symptoms of larger problems with the story or content itself. Fixing one can often fix the other. Edit Your Own Romance Novel makes these connections evident for writers. McKenna does a particularly good job of explaining how adverbs and filler words can distance the reader from your characters. You definitely don’t want your reader feeling cold and distant–or worse, indifferent— toward your characters. Yikes. Reading McKenna’s how-to book can help you figure out how to avoid this particular pitfall.
Romance Writing How-ToFinally, this is a great editing how-to book for romance writers because it is so much more than an editing book. I would recommend anyone wanting to write a romance novel read this FIRST, before writing a single word. It will teach you character development, story structure, and necessary conventions of the genre. So, if you’re a romance writer of any sub-genre, odds are, you’ll benefit from reading this book. Amazon says it’s actually three books in one, and there is definitely a lot of useful information packed inside.
Want help self-editing your work NOW? My checklist for quick editing helps you clean up you prose without reading an entire book (though you should do that too!).