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.



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