Romantic Novelists' Association

Ann Evans: Hints & Tips For New Writers Blog #1.

28 August 2023

Hello everyone, I’m back writing a monthly blog on writing tips – so hopefully there will be a few nuggets of advice that are new to you – and to me, as I get my thinking cap on and try to analyse how we go about conjuring up people, places, situations, adventures and relationships that didn’t exist yesterday!

To quote Freddie Mercury, maybe ‘It’s a Kind of Magic’. He probably wasn’t thinking of writing a book when Queen guitarist Roger Taylor wrote those lyrics for the film Highlander but there’s parts that ring true to all writers.

One prize, one goal… Get it written.  Get it published!

This flame that burns inside of me, I’m hearing secret harmonies. That desire to get your story written down on paper (okay on screen) can be like a burning flame inside of you. It is harmonious in your mind – you know what you want to say, but getting the right words down in the right order is not as easy as you might think.

Well, unless you are a magician, writing a book or a short story won’t happen with a wave of a wand. It’s going to be a learning curve, probably a very big learning curve; lots of trial and error, a few disappointments, stacks of perseverance and hopefully a lot of fun along the way.

Writing should be fun – I don’t know of anyone who took up writing as a quick way of getting rich, or a great career move, or an easy way of becoming famous – without first starting to write as a hobby. For lots of people it remains a hobby. For a few it’s earning them a living. For some it’s made them rich. Others will tell you it’s a great career move, they wouldn’t want to earn a living any other way. And quite a number of writers have become famous.

It’s all possible, but I truly believe the love and enjoyment of writing has to be at the very core of your being, otherwise why put yourself through it?

So, on to writing tips – well firstly head over to the Harry Potter Shop and buy yourself a magic wand… no, only joking!

It’s all about relationships

As we’re all members of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, we’d better start with those all-important relationships.

Close to the beginning of most romance stories, you introduce your leading characters to one another (and to the readers). And I believe that this is when we should feel the spark between them. It probably won’t be love at first sight – although it could be – but why? If there is an instant mutual attraction – or a one-way attraction, what is it they’ve seen in the other person that’s pulled at their heart strings?

Chances are in your story, your main characters won’t be mutually, instantly in love. Chances are they won’t even like one another – but again, make sure there’s a good reason for that. It might be because they are at cross purposes. When you’ve created your characters, give them aims, desires, beliefs, goals – even moral issues that aren’t compatible with the other main character’s desires.  Do that, and you’ll have lots of ‘ammunition’ to create lively conversations with emotions soon running high. Place your two main characters in a situation where they can’t easily rid the other one from their life – perhaps it’s a work situation or a homelife situation etc.

I don’t know about you, but if I’m introduced to someone I don’t like or aren’t comfortable with, I don’t hang about making conversation if I don’t have to – I’m outa there! And your characters will be too – unless an unavoidable situation is stopping that.

So, if you have great plans for these two people, there has to be a believable scenario where they have no choice but to be stuck in one another’s company, whether they want to be or not.

That all important spark!

And that spark! What big or small trait do your characters unwittingly (probably) give out, that inwardly appeals to the other person? It could be looks, in fact I suppose we’re all initially attracted by someone’s appearance. It could be the way they move – a person’s gait and the way they hold themselves can often be very appealing – that could be the other character’s spark. Could be their voice – the tone as well as what they say can be a make or break point in two people getting to know one another.

Or it might be what that person is physically doing at the moment they first glimpse one another. Are they doing something that sparks a touch of admiration in the viewpoint character’s emotions. Perhaps showing some skill, or some authority, or a sense of humour. Could they briefly interact or catch the other one’s eye – a fleeting moment that can’t be forgotten.

A tiny spark of magic that’s gone in a flash but made a striking impression on the other character that could be a prelude to falling in love.

Happy writing


Ann Evans writes as Ann Carroll for romances.

Lots or tips and writing advice here: