Romance Writing and General Publishing Terminology

Back Cover Copy:
the short description of the book printed on the back cover (aka the blurb). These are usually written in-house.

Black Moment: the point in the story where the romance seems doomed

Copy Editing: minor changes to your work, such as typos, grammatical errors, minor clarifications

In-house: done by the publishing company with little or no author input

Internal Conflict: a dilemma within the character that causes problems with the romantic relationship.

External Conflict: an external problem that impedes the development of the romantic relationship.

Paranormal: stories that deal with supernatural creatures and events, such as ghost, vampires, fairies, etc.

Plot: the sequential narrative of events emphasizing cause and effect that forms a story with a beginning, middle and end.

Proposal: the first three chapters of the book and a synopsis. The length of the synopsis will be determined by the story and the publishers' specifications.

Purple prose: flowery, "over the top" language (the opposite of "spare")

Query Letter: a one-page letter to an editor about your story. The intent is to see if there is sufficient editorial interest to proceed further in the process.

Revisions: these are suggested major changes to your work.

RT: Romantic Times magazine, a glossy publication that prints reviews of romance and mystery novels aimed primarily at readers

RWA: Romance Writers of America

Secondary Characters: everybody except the hero and heroine.

Subplot: a secondary story apart from the main romantic plot, but that influences the main plot (for example, the villain's machinations or another couple's love story)

Tip Sheets: a general description of what a publishing is looking for, plus submission requirements

Synopsis: a straightforward telling of your story in the present tense. There should be little or no dialogue.

If you would like to print this out for your personal use, feel free. If you belong to a writing group and would like to reproduce it for your fellow writers, please e-mail Margaret. All other use is prohibited.

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