Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Why I Write Category Romances by Margaret Daley

Why I Write Category Romances
By Margaret Daley

I have been writing for Harlequin’s Love Inspired line since 2000 and have enjoyed creating Love Inspired and  Love Inspired Suspense books, some still to come out at the end of this year. Writing for a category inspirational romance publisher has challenged me and helped me to grow as a writer.

What have I learned writing category romances? I’ve learned first and foremost how to tell a story in a concise way. I had to learn to pick and choose what was important to tell the reader, which isn’t always that easy to see, especially when you are so close to the story. What we should do is introduce the hero and heroine and let the reader get a sense of who the protagonists are in the present before we flood them with their back story (and actually a writer should never “flood” the reader with the back story but sprinkle it in throughout). 

But often as a writer we want to jump in and explain everything at the beginning so the reader will “understand.” That was the way it was done when I first started writing years ago. We often took a chapter or so to let the readers discover who the main characters were before we really introduce the conflicts between them. Not anymore—which leads me to another reason I write for category.

I have learned (still learning) to tell a fast paced story that will keep today’s reader turning the page. Nothing is better than receiving a note from a reader telling me that I kept them up all night reading my book. That is one of the highest honors I could receive from a reader. Up until recently I taught at a high school. I discovered that the teens I worked with thought most of the classic novels were boring. When I studied those novels, I could see their point. It took quite a while to get into the story. The books were wordy and the authors often padded the basic story. I wanted these students to learn to love reading as I do so I looked at books that told a compelling story that was fast paced. That is what they read and I saw some good results. Remember, these same teens are used to a story being told in an hour on a television show. If the show didn’t grab their attention, they used the remote and moved on to another show. A category story requires an author to tell a story quickly (or should), to choose her words carefully. There is little room for unnecessary information in the stories. These stories are fast reads that can often be read in one sitting.

In a category romance there is always a happy ending (which is another reason I read and write category stories—I love a happy ending), but the story is in how the characters get there. Millions of people read category romances and keep coming back. They like the idea of a happy ending. That’s one of the reasons they keep reading them, but what intrigues them is how the author gets the hero and heroine together—the conflicts, the type of characters portrayed, and in my line, what part their faith plays in their lives. So when people pick up a category romance, they know how the book will end but not how they will get there.I’ve been blessed to have the best of both worlds. I write for a traditional publisher and I self publish too. I love to write an emotional story but also a story with a mystery and suspense element (not to mention a faith element). After reading one of these, you walk away with hope for love and a relationship with the opposite sex.  Hope is so important in this world and that’s really why I write inspirational romances and romantic suspense books.

Hunted, Book One in Everyday Heroes
Murder. On the Run. Second Chances.
Luke Michaels' relaxing camping trip ends when he witnesses a woman being thrown from a bridge. He dives into the river to save her, shocked to find her wrapped in chains. As a canine search and rescue volunteer, Luke has assisted many victims, but never a beauty whose defeated gaze ignites his primal urge to protect. When Megan Witherspoon’s killers make it clear they won't stop, Luke fights to save her, but can he keep her alive long enough to find out who is after her?

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  1. Margaret,
    As a writer, and a great admirer of your work, I appreciated this blog. Very informative and thank you!

  2. Margaret, congratulations on a wonderful career in writing.

  3. Margaret, thank you for your informative and heart-felt post. Those students were very fortunate to have you as a teacher!