Bold Strokes Books – Writing Lesbian Romance

Bold Strokes Books Lesbian/Sapphic Romance discussion about wlw books

Key Elements For Success.

Panel discussion about the key elements of how to write a successful romance.

(Bold Strokes Books Authors: L-R I Beacham, Anna Larner, Rebecca Buck)

Anna Larner – So what makes a good romance?

Publishing my debut novel Highland Fling has been a fantastic learning process for me. When I think of writing lesbian romance, I now have the following quick check list of key in my mind:-

A clear focus – on the two characters falling in love. It’s all about them. With their story fully resolved.

Main characters you can admire or be attracted to – Readers want characters they can invest emotionally in. Basically if they’re not fanciable in some way readers are not likely to care. You want readers to fall in love with your MC’s!

Conflict – both internal (what they’re thinking), and external (what they do) – the energy that drives the story.

A happy ending – Readers expect that despite all of the agonies or uncertainties on the characters’ road to love, there will be a happy ending, that their feelings are safe in the writer’s hands.

Sexual tension – the will they won’t they element, enticing, engaging cues to sexual attraction and longing.

And, as I have been asked to select my golden rule for a successful lesbian romance, it would be this – Write from the heart, put into the story what it feels like to long for someone, to fall for someone, the uncertainty, the self-doubt, the tortured agony of it all…

Short stories vs Novels?

Bold Strokes Books Festival - Short Story vs Novel Panel

Moderating The Sprint Vs The Marathon Panel

Anna Larner moderating the panel discussion about the short story versus the novel.

(Bold Strokes Books Authors L-R. Anna Larner, Robyn Nyx, Rebecca Buck, Michelle Grubb)

Bold Strokes Books: Submissions Guidelines

Let’s have a think for a moment about what we mean by a short story, and what we mean by a novel – the clue to everything is word limit. If we use Bold Strokes Books guidelines – a recent call for submissions for a short story collection asked for stories between 2,000 – 5,000 words; and novels, well they start from 45,000 words upwards, depending on the genre.

So with a novel, averaging say 85,000 words, how do you keep your reader gripped for so long? How do you build in the depth that’s needed? How do you write a story that will stay with the reader forever from just the seed of an idea? And if you’ve only got 5,000 words, how do you tell your story fully? You’re going to need to grab the reader quickly –how do you do that? Does it mean you can only focus on one or two characters? And how do you manage without the space for a back story? How do you get depth without depth?

The joy of a short story

But is the joy of a short story, that it’s not a novel? You can experiment perhaps, try out a new genre, a different voice, explore a new character, work on impregnating a story with meaning in every word. Do the restrictions actually make you free?

The joy of a novel

And the novel, do you get to live another life through the expansive canvas offered to your characters? Do you have the room to say just what you want to say, no restrictions, another kind of freedom? As a novelist are you thrilled that you’ll keep your reader reading far too late, night after night, after night, after night..?

Bold Strokes Books: Authors attending the 2016 book festival. LGBTQ+
Bold Strokes Books Festival
(Authors L-R Brey Willow, David Swatling, Lesley Davis, Christian Baines, Rebecca Buck, Charlie Cochrane, Matt Bright, Amy Dunne, Robyn Nyx)
(L-R Jane Fletcher, Michelle Grubb, I Beacham, Anna Larner)

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