In A Natural History of the Romance Novel, Pamela Regis writes ‘The romance novel has the strange distinction of being the most popular but least respected of literary genres’. This week, we’ve put together 53 of the best websites for romance writers, a genre-specific companion to our popular guide to the 151 must-visit websites for writers. When you’re finished reading, you can scroll down to download your free eBook copy of ‘How to plot your romance novel’.
Romance Writing Advice
Romance University is a blog featuring online lectures from successful romance writers. Topics covered include everything from advice on writing tenderness in fiction to tips on how to promote your romance novel on social media.
The ‘Romance’ section on Writing-World provides a number of helpful articles on writing romance, mostly written by Anne M. Marble. Subjects include writing love scenes, creating great heroes and heroines, information on subgenres and their common tropes and interviews with established romance writers.
Tips for Beginning Romance Writers is a collection of tips for first-time aspiring writers by Sabrina Jeffries, a New York Times bestselling romance author described as the ‘queen of the sexy regency romance’.
Romance posts on our blog (shameless self-promotion, we know) include topics on plot, setting and what not to do when writing in this particular genre.
NYT bestselling author Jenny Cruisie shares advice about writing craft, the writing life and the romance genre on her website. In this post she shares the five things she’s learned from TV about writing romance novels.
Nicholas Sparks’ Advice for Writers is insightful, coming as it does from the ‘king of romance’ whose romance novels have sold millions of copies and frequently land on the NYT bestsellers list. Subjects treated on his website include his personal story of how he found an agent.
For their documentary ‘Guilty Pleasures’, PBS hosted a series of articles by Mills and Boon writer Gill Sanderson on writing romance fiction. In addition to a guide to writing your first romance novel, Sanderson provides useful advice on getting your work published.
In this interview, Nicholas Sparks (often described as ‘the king of romance’) shares his thoughts on topics including choosing storylines for romance novels, juggling family life and writing and more.
Jodie Renner, an editor who has worked on many romance manuscripts, provides aspiring writers with tips for breaking into the romance genre successfully.
Darla G. Denton provides advice for writers in the romance genre, as well as resource lists such as this handy collection of random idea generators you can use when writing your novel.
Writer’s Digest’s romance category includes a host of writing tips for aspiring romance fiction authors. Topics include writing gender specific dialogue and guides to writing conflict, minor characters and page-turning plots.
New York Times romance bestseller Lisa Gardner provides a number of useful articles for romance writers, including this eBook guide to creating romantic suspense.
Angela Ackerman’s blog Writers Helping Writers provides practical advice on a range of writing craft sub-topics and includes this post on using vulnerability in romance writing to create compelling romantic relationships in your fiction.
Romance on the Writer’s Block blog offers insightful articles on writing within the genre, such as this article providing seven romance-writing tips for first-time romance authors.
How to write romance on Creative Writing Now covers aspects of writing craft for romance writers, including tips for writing dialogue and devising effective romance novel plots.
The Huffington Post’s ‘Books’ section has several concise articles on writing romance, such as this guide to writing good sex scenes by Gene Doucette.
The Internet Writing Journal shares tips for writers, such as this old but helpful post by Claire Delacroix, ‘Nine Tips for Aspiring Romance Writers’.
Heroes and Heartbreakers’ YouTube channel features weekly debriefings from the romance websites editorial team as well as author Q&As that provide insight into all things romance lit.
Writing Romance Characters
The Creative Penn is a platform where indie author Joanna Penn shares advice on writing subjects from craft to book marketing, and this article provides tips on crafting great romance heroes.
Free matchmaking websites such as OkCupid can be a great source of ideas for creating rounded, complex romance characters. Create a free account to browse individual accounts and see how people represent themselves and the myriad things people look for in relationships.
Writing-world’s romance section includes this guide to choosing names for your romance protagonists.
The ‘dating’ section of about.com is a valuable resource when either researching your novel or crafting the psychology of your characters and plotting their responses to significant events in their lives. The site includes advice on dating, flirting, dealing with breaking up and more and these can provide inspiration for deciding how your characters behave and why.
Romance Divas is an award-winning website where romance authors share their insights on the genre. There is also a forum where authors can share their ideas and writing conundrums and obtain advice from other writers.
The Romance community Heroes and Heartbreakers provides a space to ‘Discover. Share. Obsess.’ Romance writers can share their stories, and the site also keeps an updated feed of new romance novel releases.
Inspiring ‘Top’ lists
Top romantic quote selections such as this post on the 50 most romantic lines from literature via Stylist magazine can be instructive in helping you write memorable lines for your own romances.
Rotten Tomatoes’ guide to the top 100 romance movies is useful if you live to watch movies within your writing genre to get inspired. Enduring romantic classics are a goldmine of character ideas, effective plots and winning dialogue.
The Telegraph’s list of the best romantic novels of all time provides suggestions for reading material that could help you to create enduring romantic fiction of your own.
Writing Sex Scenes
The Bad Sex Awards are awarded annually to writers chosen from a shortlist by The Literary Review. Writers whose sex scenes are unintentionally amusing or just plain clumsy receive the honour. These extracts by nominees are worthwhile reading if you want to avoid distinction in bad sex writing yourself.
WebMD’s relationship and sex advice section provides plenty of inspiration for romantic scenarios as well as creative sex tips that you can apply to your novel’s erotic scenes to make them feel real and sensual.
Resources for finding Romance Writing Inspiration
The Mills and Boon Pinterest account is full of romantic quote, romance-writing inspiration and also provides romance-themed recipe suggestions for romantic occasions.
The Romantic website is dedicated to all things amorous. Here you can find inspiration for first date ideas for your characters, relationship humour and quotes.
Love poems on Poemhunter can also inspire scenarios and romantic dialogue. If you are writing an epistolary novel in which your protagonists communicate by letter over long distances (a common device for historical novels), romantic poetry can give you a good sense of how to write impassioned exchanges.
General and Market Research Resources
This Wiki is a useful resource for finding factual information on romance subgenres as well as lists of publishers specializing in romance writing.
The romance novel database at Eye on Romance is a useful, searchable repository of romance novels. Billed as ‘the largest romance novel and romance author directory on the internet,’ you can search by author, title, theme, hero and more. This is useful when you are in the planning stages and want to make sure you title isn’t taken or that you do not write a novel that is less likely to find a readership due to a saturated niche.
Travel websites such as Travel and Leisure can be a wellspring of ideas for romantic settings for your novel. Let this list of the 50 most romantic places on earth inspire you to create sumptuous, sensual settings.
The Romance Book Club is run by the same team as Eye on Romance, and offers monthly reads for romance writers as well as an online book club system whereby you can subscribe and receive interesting tips and advice for your romance-writing book club.
At Romance Junkies, voted one of the top 101 writing websites by Writer’s Digest, you can find information on romance contests, articles on writing, author services and more.
The Romance Studio is another general resource devoted to romantic fiction writers. Besides featuring member-authors, the site offers advertising services and hosts reviews for writers as well as a feed of news relevant to the genre.
This story planning ‘beat sheet’ by Jami Gold can help you plot your romance novel. A template like this needn’t be rigid – you can deviate from your initial plan in any number of ways – but having a plan to begin with will give you an idea of the overall narrative arc of your romance novel and this makes the drafting process much easier.
Eliza Knight’s blog History Undressed is dedicated to ‘the sexy side of history’, and includes a useful list of resources for researching your historical romance novel.
RT Book Reviews’ Romance site will provide you with an idea both of what is currently entering the market and reader response to the latest romance novels. The site also features guest interviews where romance writers share tidbits that can inspire you in your own writing.
DateHookup, an online dating site, offers a guide to online dating that may prove inspiring if you’re writing a romance about characters who meet online.
Romance Writers’ Associations and Guilds
Romance Writers of America states that its mission is ‘advancing the professional interests of career-focused romance writers through networking and advocacy.’ On the association’s website you can find information on events for romance authors, historical and other information about the genre, lists of annual contests and more.
Romance Writers of Australia follows the dictum ‘promoting excellence in romantic fiction’. The site offers similar resources to the American association, including event calendars, information on annual conferences as well as bootcamps for romance writers wanting to hone their craft.
Romance Writers of New Zealand is another association offering workshops for writers, opportunities with agents and editors, competitions and more. The association’s yearly conference, ‘Love Thrills’, takes place in August 2015.
The Romantic Novelists’ Association represents more than 700 UK writes, agents, editors and other publishing professionals. The site maintains a calendar of UK conferences and meetings, and the association also bestows awards yearly for six categories of romance novel – contemporary, epic, historical, romantic comedy, YA and shorter fiction.
The Canadian Romance Authors’ Network, which has members from Toronto to Saskatchewan, offers a platform for writer promotion as well as romance-related articles and a frequently updated list of new releases in the genre.
The Paranormal Romance Guild provides writers interested in this genre with event calendars, book reviews and submissions, a forum and author services.
One of the oldest romance fiction publishers,UK-based Mills and Boon provides useful information for aspiring romance authors, including editorial guidelines for submissions purposes, free online reads, romance-related feature articles and special offers on the latest romance books.
The Passionate Pen, via Killer Books Marketing, has this substantial list of romance publishers that you can pitch your manuscript to when it is complete.
Crimson Romance eBook publishers include a guide to submissions and what they look for in received manuscripts, and this provides insights into popular trends such as ‘gender role subversion or the defiance of gender stereotypes’. This list will help you to decide whether there’s a particular niche audience your novel could appeal and this will help you plot and market your novel so that it appeals to this niche.
What are your best romance websites? Tell us in the comments below. Then read our post on plotting your romance novel (or download our free eBook above to read the post offline).