Five Tips for Writing for Love Inspired Suspense
-- By Guest Author Sandra Orchard
Be sure to read all the way to the end to learn how to win a copy of Shades of Truth!
I’ve learned a lot about my editor’s expectations in the process of writing my first three books for the line, and yet, I still don’t always see the pitfalls in my proposed stories until my patient editor points them out. That’s why I’m now revising a proposal for my fourth book.
So…when Roxanne Sherwood invited me to write a guest post for The Ponderers, I decided to share the things I’ve learned (and often forget when caught up in idea) about my editor’s expectations. Although you may not be interested in writing romantic suspense or writing for one of the Love Inspired lines, I hope these tips will provide food for thought and generate some interesting discussion.
Here we go…
The heroine needs to be in jeopardy throughout the novel. If the impending danger to the heroine isn’t obvious from the outset, ideally it would be hinted at on the first page.
While the line is not interested in publishing cozy mysteries, they do like a mystery as to who the villain is.
Romantic tension is as equally important as the suspense. After every proposal I’ve presented, my editor has asked: What is keeping the hero and heroine from pursuing a serious relationship with anyone, not just each other?
For the reader to truly care, the suspense plot needs to be personal to the heroine. It’s not enough that she’s in danger because she happened into the middle of some dangerous case the hero is working on. She needs a stake in what’s happening beyond getting out alive.
Bring the hero and heroine together on the page as quickly as possible, and keep them together on the page as much as possible. That is to say, don’t spend scene after scene following the hero as he hunts down a criminal with nothing more than an odd thought about the heroine. On the opposite extreme, do not have the hero and heroine admit their love to themselves, or each other, too soon.
According to my editor, that kills the romantic tension. The obvious exception would be when the hero and heroine start out loving each other and the plot piles on all sorts of reasons why they are not right for each other.
Sandra Orchard won the 2009 Daphne DuMaurier Award of Excellence for Mystery/Suspense and sold to Harlequin’s Love Inspired Suspense the following year. Shades of Truth (March 2012) is the second book in her series, Undercover Cops: Fighting for justice puts their lives—and hearts—on the line.
Recently, Sandra also received an offer from a trade-length CBA publisher for a new three-book series! But details will have to wait until the ink is dry on the contract. ~grin~
Sandra is a member of ACFW, RWA (and its Faith Hope Love chapter), and The Word Guild. For those targeting LIS, you might like to know that Sandra is available to do critiques for both this year’s Write!Canada and ACFW’s annual writer’s conference.
You can connect with Sandra at: http://www.SandraOrchard.com where she offers resources for both readers and writers, also at http://www.Facebook.com/SandraOrchard and http://www.SandraOrchard.blogspot.com
MISSION: HIDDEN IDENTITY
Big city detective Ethan Reed is working deep undercover at a Christian youth detention center. The kind of place he spent some harrowing time in as a kid. Ethan’s mission: ferret out who’s recruiting resident teens for a drug ring. He expects help from the lovely, devoted director of Hope Manor. But Kim Corbett won’t tell Ethan anything— even when she’s threatened and attacked. When Ethan discovers what Kim is protecting, his guarded heart opens just a bit wider. Enough to make this the most dangerous assignment of his career.
Shades of Truth will only be in stores for one more week so don’t miss your chance to pick up a copy!
Roxanne Sherwood: Sandra, Thank you so much for being with us and sharing those excellent tips. I can't wait to read Shades of Truth and to hear details about your new trade-length series. Congratulations!
It really makes sense to support businesses that sell Christian fiction and buy in bookstores when we have the opportunity. We want to ensure those businesses stay in business when our books are for sale. ;-)
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