Monday, September 03, 2012

Writing with Editor Karen Block

Wow!  I had the good fortune of meeting a real live editor this summer.  Karen Block attended our writers’ group meeting.  Lucky for us (especially me) that she was vacationing in our area from Kentucky.  She edits for Turquoise Morning Press.

I had just submitted (to First Monday magazine) my second article in a three-part series on the changing climate of adult entertainment (motivated by the success of Fifty Shades of Grey) when we met.  I couldn’t believe my luck when I discovered that Turquoise Morning Press publish all levels of heat from sweet romance to sizzling erotica.  Check out their site at .  They have the most user friendly download for ebooks that I have seen.  (They also have print versions available.)

Karen and I enjoyed an evening filled with questions, answers, opinions, musings and the odd glass of wine.  The interview that will run in my First Monday column should be on the stands by next week. 

Aside from the Q and A in First Monday, there is a wealth of information to share with the writers who catch my blog.  This week I will list ten tips that Karen Block offers to writers.

1.      Know your target audience.  If you are writing romance know what is appropriate for that age group.  (That could be why some agents/publishers ask for the target audience.  That used to annoy me but now I understand.)

2.      Don’t query too soon!  The manuscript needs to be perfect.  You have only one shot.  You need to have a couple of independent readers and an editor to be really comfortable that there are no grammar and spelling mistakes.  The consistency of your characters is important, as well.  If you query too soon, you’re done.  (Gulp)

3.      In every romance story there has to be an ‘ahhhhh’ moment.  That is what you should strive towards.  Readers need to be satisfied that the characters are going to live happily ever after.

4.      Romance is all about emotion.  Write so that it brings tears to your eyes or your heart breaks because something awful has happened.

5.      There should be external conflict and conflict between the hero and heroine because that’s what is driving the story forward and creating sexual tension in a romance novel.

6.      Don’t waste pivotal scenes on minor characters.  Everything today is written in scenes.

7.      Every scene must advance the plot.  Don’t have fillers that are just throw aways!

8.      Don’t have too much detail and description without something ‘happening’.  (super advice for me)

9.      Start in the middle of the action.

10.  Be sure of your facts.  I have a historical bent and if detail is wrong....... This applies to any genre.  In a murder mystery make sure the weapon will actually do the job.  If a writer is not an expert then they must have other resources.  Get it right!

More to come in future blogs! 

Check out Karen Block’s editor profile 


  1. Just came over from Morgen's forum. Good advice for any genre, not just romance.

    1. You are so right! Thanks for dropping by. Over the next few weeks I will be blogging more interesting comments and advice from Karen Block. Hope you stay tuned!