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I would like to know if you have any information about how to get started with writing a romance novel. I have all of the ideas in my head and emotionally I am there, but am having trouble putting the words down. Whenever I try to write them down they lose meaning and seem silly to me instead of what they were really meant to be like. Do you have any suggestions about how to get started on writing a romance novel since I am a very auditory perosn rather than visual which is causing issues with my writing? What is the structure for writing that you would suggest? Thank you- I am appreciative in advance.  

Hello Dani:

First, let me say that finding your words "silly" is simply due to inexperience. It is difficult for an emerging writer to judge her own work, therefore, I don't recommend it. Put aside your doubts and concentrate on writing. Whether the words have meaning to you has nothing to do with how they will sound to the reader.

Getting Started. In organizing your material, you first need a "Guiding Principle." The guiding principle, also called the "premise," functions  like the framing of a house. It holds the story together, gives it coherence, and guides in the chosing of material to include in the story.

The premise is what the story is "about." Given in one word, it may be "jealousy," "greed," or "freedom," etc. It sets forth one thing that your life has taught you, that you believe in strongly and think the world should know about. It should be global (applying to all people of whatever culture), and capable of being stated in a simple formula of A + (or -) B = C, although it may be more complex. Some examples:

"Love plus plenty of money makes for a good marriage."
"Those who are unfaithful give their spouses the right to be unfaithful also."
"Abuse of children, of whatever form and at any age, is simply wrong, and should be a criminal offense in places where it is not."

I repeat, this must be something you believe in strongly and are fully convinced that people should know about, for nothing else will carry you through the writing of an 80,000-100,000 word romance novel. Whether you are writing a romance, mystery or science fiction novel, these techniques apply. A premise, along with helping you organize your material, also gives depth and meaning to your writing.

Once you have your premise, get some 3x5 cards and on each,
write down your ideas - the events of your story. These events should have elements that will support your premise. At some point, a pattern should begin to show itself. Sort the cards around this pattern until the arrangement suits you. At this point you should notice a pattern developing; use this to structure your novel. Make sure there's some
kind of progression - some movement from A and B toward C.

When you are finished organizing your material, you may want to make an outline, or you may just begin to write your first draft. Don't worry whether it's good or bad (the premise has established meaning), just get it all down. Write wild and free - enjoy yourself. This is supposed to be fun!

I hope this helps. If it does, a nice rating would be greatly appreciated. I am proud of my high score over 600 questions.

And good luck with your writing!

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Susan Rand


I can answer questions about the elements of fiction and non-fiction writing: how to get started, writing techniques, re-writing, etc. I will NOT write for you, do critiques except from my website at, or give you ideas. I will not answer home-or-schoolwork questions in any category. If English is your second language, please say so, and I will make an exception. Please submit no more than one or two questions at once, as I tend to go into detail in my answers.


I wrote my first book in 1957 and have been writing and studying writing since. I have a BA in Written Communications, and have taught writing both privately and through adult education for 15 years. Have also edited (fiction books) for an online publisher and edited/wrote more than 100 articles for a teen sex education site. Currently writing web content and mentoring beginning writers.

BA degree in Written Communication

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