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 How to write a Mills and Boon

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Shelagh
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Shelagh

Number of posts : 12660
Registration date : 2008-01-11
Location : UK

How to write a Mills and Boon Empty
PostSubject: How to write a Mills and Boon   How to write a Mills and Boon EmptyMon Nov 03, 2008 1:53 am

Last night I watched a programme on BBC television about writing for Mills and Boon. The author, Stella Duffy, took on the challenge of writing a M&B novel, and talked to editors, readers and authors, with a stop at Sharon Kendrick’s writing workshop in Tuscany.

It was all a far cry from the kind of life led by members of this forum. It made me wonder how many here would be determined enough to pay to travel to Tuscany to attend a writing workshop.

For me, the most interesting point made during the hour long programme was that it is extremely difficult to write romance novels that match the exacting standards demanded by Mills and Boon editors. They know precisely what they are looking for and coming close isn't good enough. They will give aspiring writers who do come close an "A" for effort but they will only publish work that fits seamlessly onto their list. Those authors who deviate even slightly from the required formula will suffer rejection. It really is a tough world out there. M&B receive between 2000-3000 submissions per year and in a good year, 2006, they accepted 20 books.

A trailer for the programme can be seen here:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/7559532.stm

The whole programme can be seen on BBC iplayer but I don't think it can be seen outside the UK:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00ff170/Time_Shift_Series_8_How_to_Write_a_Mills_and_Boon/

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How to write a Mills and Boon 81KU-cLOw3L._SX110_ How to write a Mills and Boon 41C9GeFDNWL._SX110_ How to write a Mills and Boon 41%2BmGkZJdOL._SX110_ How to write a Mills and Boon 51eDGllZXhL._SX115_ How to write a Mills and Boon 41y7VHKoszL._SX115_ How to write a Mills and Boon 51Zs4N4T4eL._SX115_
Amazon Author Central: Shelagh Watkins
I shall never be old. It doesn't suit me -- ©Shelagh Watkins
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Jenny
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Jenny

Number of posts : 531
Registration date : 2008-01-11
Location : Sheffield, England

How to write a Mills and Boon Empty
PostSubject: Re: How to write a Mills and Boon   How to write a Mills and Boon EmptyMon Nov 03, 2008 3:54 am

I watched the programme too. I was interested to hear that a number of writers touched on the question of M & B's (now part of the the Harlequin Group) books being written to a formula. If you think about it, all books are written to a formula to some extent, even mysteries and crime novels.

It was very informative and, in my case, only reinforced the reason why I prefer to write romantic suspense, rather than category romance. What the programme didn't mention is that all M&B books have a very short shelf-life of 3 months. They publish 6 books per quarter so the turn around is very quick.

If any wants to see the programme, I have recorded it onto DVD. Just send me a private message with your address and I'll happily post you a copy.
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Dick Stodghill
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Dick Stodghill

Number of posts : 3795
Registration date : 2008-05-04
Age : 96
Location : Akron, Ohio

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PostSubject: Re: How to write a Mills and Boon   How to write a Mills and Boon EmptyTue Nov 04, 2008 12:20 pm

Are you talking about the Mills Brothers and Pat Boone? If so, I can't sing and don't play an instrument so I don't believe I'm eligible to enter.
How to write a Mills and Boon 472940
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Shelagh
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Shelagh

Number of posts : 12660
Registration date : 2008-01-11
Location : UK

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PostSubject: Re: How to write a Mills and Boon   How to write a Mills and Boon EmptyTue Nov 04, 2008 1:32 pm

You not eligible? How to write a Mills and Boon 83899 Course you are. Among other things, Stella Duffy is a crime writer. She accepted the challenge to write a M&B novel (a Mills & Boon book sells every three minutes) and found out how difficult it is to write to a formula. She didn't want to do it. Her own creativity kept getting in the way. She was told that the lovers had to meet by the end of chapter one but she wanted them to meet at the end of chapter two.

Any sensible person would say: "Okay, that's the rule, I'll rewrite the opening chapter and introduce the lovers to each other."

Not Stella. She wanted to do it her way. Didn't do her any good though. The M&B editor said her story was beautifully written and she enjoyed reading it, but she didn't offer that all important contract. Break the rules, suffer the consequences.

Now, what I want to know is can you write a steamy romance, Dick, and stick to the rules?

If not, you could try Pat Boone. Hum your story to him and ask him to sing along. How to write a Mills and Boon 260738

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How to write a Mills and Boon 81KU-cLOw3L._SX110_ How to write a Mills and Boon 41C9GeFDNWL._SX110_ How to write a Mills and Boon 41%2BmGkZJdOL._SX110_ How to write a Mills and Boon 51eDGllZXhL._SX115_ How to write a Mills and Boon 41y7VHKoszL._SX115_ How to write a Mills and Boon 51Zs4N4T4eL._SX115_
Amazon Author Central: Shelagh Watkins
I shall never be old. It doesn't suit me -- ©Shelagh Watkins
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