Thursday, August 04, 2011


On September 13th 2011 Mills and Boon launch their second global search for fresh writing talent to join Mills & Boon’s galaxy of romantic fiction stars.

A celebration of romantic fiction and romance, New Voices will put entrants through their romantic fiction paces – and the Mills & Boon readership will have their say every step of the way!
The winner of the competition will win some fantastic prizes, including publication by Mills & Boon and a Mills & Boon editor for a year!
For more information go to the dedicated Mills and Boon website here

You'll also find a lively debate and lots of advice on the New Voices Facebook page here

As part of the New Voices programme, I will be giving a workshop at Pontardawe Library at the end of August, so if you're in the south/south-west Wales area, do look out for more information on that.

Since the competition starts with the first chapter, I'm directing you to an article on my website, which I hope will help you make the leap from the idea in your head to the important first lines on the page.

Meanwhile, here are a few points to consider before you put pen to paper –
  • start at the moment of change - what has just happened that will change your heroine's life?
  • with action, not introspection - you want your reader to follow your characters.
  • with character, not scenery, or weather - unless the heroine is about to be swept away by a flash flood in which case you have both the above!
And here are some important points from one of my characters who just happened to be an author: -

1.    Begin your story at a moment of crisis, a point in time when your character's life is about to change for ever.
2.    Keep the conflict simple.  Make sure the reader knows what’s going on.  Ask yourself…  Is the conflict strong enough to sustain the length of the story?
3.    Use dialogue to move the story along.  Use it to create tension, misunderstanding, to reveal character to the reader.
4.    A hero has to be strong, tender, a man who would never let down the woman he loves.  But he has to be flawed, too.  If he were perfect there would be no story.  (And he’d be impossible live with.  LF)
5.    Sexual tension is not just about getting naked.  It’s about wanting something and knowing it’s out of reach.  It can be a look instead of a touch.
6.    Every story will have a moment when explanations, an air-clearing talk, will offer the way to a happy ending.  Never let this happen.
7.    The romance reader is looking for warmly observed characters and deeply felt emotion.
8.    A satisfying ending provides a final moment of discord before all the loose ends are gathered in, with reassurance that the hero and heroine will live happily ever after.

I'd also recommend Kate Walker's WRITING ROMANTIC FICTION to any new writer.

Two of last year's New Voices authors have already been bought by Mills and Boon; several more are working with editors and hope to make the leap to published author soon. This is an amazing opportunity to get your writing noticed so get started!


Alexandra said...

Thank you for the useful advice. I've noted a couple of points that have made me think, as I think I have made things a little too easy for my characters.

Liz Fielding said...

Never make it easy for your characters, Alexandra!

Marlena Cassidy said...

This advice is great! Thanks, Liz. I'll have to do a checklist now with my WIP.

Zoe2damis said...

Tenx Liz 4 dis advice. Im gonna try very hard to follow them. I really want to win the competetion. I hv a prologue and chapter one with my book. Can dey both be submitted 4 d competetion once it has started.

Liz Fielding said...

Good luck, Marlene!

Liz Fielding said...

Hi Zoe

You need to read the rules on the M&B website, but first you post chapter one and if you get to the next round you post chapter two, then a "turning point" for the final stage.

Good luck!

Zoe2damis said...

Tenx but i just discovered dt pple frm nigeria r nt among those eligible to enter 4 d newvoice competetion. Im a nigerian so it means i cant enter 4 d competetion. Tenx 4 all d advice.

Kathleen Bosman said...

Hi Liz
Molly's advice was excellent - I haven't known many of those points before but one point made me wonder. Why can the characters not sort out their conflict with an explanation? That's how hubby and I most often sort out our conflict. Just wondering.

Liz Fielding said...

Kathleen, of course in real life we sit down and thrash things out. If we allowed our characters to do this a lot of books wouldn't last past page 50!

It was a bit tongue in cheek to be honest - there's is a link, I think, on the sidebar of the blog where you can read the entire short story for free (these were just chapter headings.) I used each chapter to demonstrate the points.

Liz Fielding said...

Here's a link to Molly's story, Kathleen - just scroll down beyond the covers and you can read it all - only 10,000 words.