do and don't · writing problems

Know your cliches

Several times a week, I see romance queries where a professional woman who doesn’t date must work with the local millionaire playboy. Attraction sparks and drama ensues.

That story already exists on shelves. Thirty versions already exist on shelves. Those 30 stood out from the 3000, unique enough to each be publishable.

Unless you have a new spin on this plot, we’re going to reject your story.

You must read your genre. Good books are new twists on old things. You need to read widely enough to know that yours is a new twist.

If you write thrillers, reading thrillers will give you a feel for plot pace, voice…and what’s already written. If you write fantasy, don’t simply read Tolkien and give me an inadvertent copy of Robert Jordan, Terry Brooks, or RA Salvatore.

I once requested a romance manuscript with the no-dating woman and millionaire playboy. This one had such a fresh, humorous take I couldn’t put the pages down or stop laughing. I requested immediately.

danor shtruzman danor_shtruzman

Image by Danor Shtruzman.


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