Back to Basics (Part 3)

Updated: Mar 25

What Do I Need To Get Started?

Pen, paper, an idea and commitment are really all you need to write a book.

But to write a great book you are going to need a few more things.

I wrote my first book 20 years ago with pen and paper at my kitchen table while my toddlers played around me. After saving like crazy we bought our first computer and it still took me another decade before I began to write my stories straight to computer. You will find me writing in notepads even today as I believe it frees the mind in a way typing doesn’t.

Drafting/Writing Apps

Drafting/Writing Apps are everywhere but the most common are Word, Scrivener and Google Docs. Each has its own benefits.

Word is still the most accepted way to submit your work to an editor, publication, agent, etc. It is fairly user friendly and has a great tracking system for when you and your editor are marking up your work.

Scrivener is my go to for plotting and my first few drafts. It has a steeper learning curve, but there are plenty of tutorials on how to use it and once you discover the corkboard you will never go back. There is a version for MAC and Windows and a one off payment that won’t break the bank. There is also a decent length trial time for you to get a true feel for the programme.

Google Docs is popular as it is a free program that is compatible with most platforms. It has some great features and I would recommend using it if you were ever writing with a co-author as you can both have access to the document at the same time.

Know Your Genre

Read. Read. Read.

I cannot emphasis enough how important is if for you to read within the genre and subgenre you want to write in.

Romance is full of tropes and you need to understand them to satisfy a seasoned romance reader. Know what the ratings of steam are and figure out what you are comfortable with – this can take a bit of practice.

*Romance Tropes and Sex Scenes will be explored further in later blog posts.

Know Your Word Count

Know what the typical word count is for the subgenre you are writing in – they vary greatly. Are you planning on Traditionally Publishing or Indie Publishing? Different publishers want different word counts. If you are submitting to a publication read their preferred length guidelines before you write a 100k word novel and they only want 50k length works.

*Further discussion regarding word counts will be available soon.

A Few Starting Point Resources

Pinterest is fabulous for researching and creating boards about your books. From setting ideas to clothing to general writing knowledge – there is a lot on offer.

Check out my Pinterest boards for some ideas –


The Writing Hub

Creating Characters

I also have boards for each series I am working on.

Baby Naming Sites are fabulous when you are stuck for a name or if you want to know the meaning or ethnicity behind it. There are also name generators if you struggle to name places within your book.

Always Remember That Your Story Must Have A HEA or HFN Ending.

HEA – Happy Ever After

HFN – Happy For Now

This is non-negotiable in romance.

You can have first books in series end in with a break-up (think 50 Shades of Grey), but the couple must finish the series together or no one will trust you as an author.

*Always remember that my advice is only what works for me. Please feel free to adapt anything you find here to suit your needs. This series focuses specifically on romance writing and not all lessons will apply to other genres.

Next month we will begin exploring plotting with – To Plot Or Not To Plot.

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