Harlequin Historical Submission Blitz — and Historical Romance Writing Tips!

Ever dreamed of writing for Harlequin Historical? Well this could be your big chance! The line is running a submission blitz starting today through the end of the month. We wanted to know more — and we wanted some insider tips so that you can get that publishing contract! (So long as you promise to remember us when you’re famous.) So today we’ve got Kathryn Cheshire, Harlequin Historical Assistant Editor, to break it all down for us. Take it away, Kathryn!

The #HistoricalBlitz is now open, which means that for all you aspiring Historical Romance writers out there, it’s the perfect time for your writing to be read quickly by one of the Harlequin Historical editors. You can submit a pitch (cover letter, synopsis and first chapter) any time from now until May 31, and the editors will send out feedback to all entrants by June 10. You can find all the details here. Here are five tips to get you started!

1. Make sure your first page grabs us. Consider how many submissions we see, and then think about what is going to instantly capture our attention and make your submission stand out from the crowd. Whether it’s a snappy bit of dialogue, a shocking statement, an intriguing question or just something a bit different, we like to be thrown straight into the action of your story.

2. We want to be able to identify with your heroine — whether she’s a demure governess, a sword-wielding Ancient Warrior or an enigmatic lady of the Medieval Court. Think about what is going to make readers empathise with a heroine who lived in another time and another place. Is she going to make us laugh, make us feel sympathy, make us cry? Whatever your heroine’s personality, we need to root for her from the first page to the last!

3. Readers love seeing the past brought to life. Because we absolutely want to get a real sense of the world in which your characters live, we recommend using all five senses to immerse us in the era. Make the atmosphere tangible.

4. Remember that the romance is paramount. Of course, use those historical details, secondary characters and secondary plot elements to bring your world to life, but the relationship between your hero and heroine needs to be front and center at all times.

5. Make sure you send your hero and heroine on an emotional rollercoaster. We want to be kept on the edge of our seats until the final few pages, desperate to find out how your characters are going to find their happy-ever-after together. Each scene should further the romance in some way, and up the emotional stakes (whether for better or for worse) for your characters. And, to keep the will-they-won’t-they tension between your hero and heroine as high as possible, we like to see an intense emotional conflict for both of your characters. What have they both been through in their lives that means they can’t be with the other person until the end of the story? What emotional journey do they have to go on and what emotional barriers do they have to overcome before they can be with the other person?

For the full guidelines for Harlequin Historical, go here. Good luck to everyone entering! We can’t wait to see your name on a book!

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