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How not to write a romantic novel.

Updated on October 6, 2008

A humorous look at a popular writing style.


How not to write a romantic novel.

For all those frustrated writers out there who dream of being another Christine Feehan or Mary Jo Putney, do not despair, help is here. Go through these steps of what not to do, while writing a novel and more power to you if you still deem yourself brave enough to continue.

In this article, you're going to learn how not to write a Barbara Cartland style novel.

First of all -- do not copy the style of any popular best-selling author. One could easily parody the style of Barbara Cartland by thinking up a heroine with a speech impediment, purer than the driven snow, and dressed all in white. She should naturally be an orphan, without any gumption, or ability to save herself whenever she is in trouble. As Barbara Cartland picked up her female prototypes straight from Elinor Glyn and Ethel M. Dell, even up to the three sentences paragraph, and her stories straight from Georgette Heyer, you will be guilty of plagiarizing four authors instead of one.

If you really think yourself wanting to take the shortcut and writing a Barbara Cartland style novel, use the following points -

Write in short paragraphs, with five word sentences.

Have a heroine with a name, made up of two consonants and three vowels. She should have eyes as large as a doe's and should be about as ethereal and full of soppy romantic notions as Caroline Lamb. She should think the world well lost for love even if there is no bread in the house. The heroine should suffer from a major lack of spine. She should be incapable of making any decision without lots of "oh mama, help me.". That is because her set of parents, who had no place for her in their soppy dotty lovie dovie scheme of things inflicted names like Taryna, Verina ,Sarina and Nara or any name with two consonants and four vowels, before dying off and leaving her all for loan, or forlorn, however you spell it, with just enough of money to buy yards and yards of white cotton, which she turns into ghostly garments . She should be able to converse in Latin and Greek and yet should not be able to speak a sentence in English without stammering and stuttering.

Show that poverty can be beautiful, especially when her parents have eloped, leaving their highborn families to live a life of genteel poverty which somehow seems romantic to this beautiful gudgeon. Poverty is never romantic but can anybody make a romantic writer understand that? Nyaa.

The villain naturally has to be a lustful man with a leer and a lurid imagination.

Enter Hero, a macho male masterful and a muckraker with mucho moolah, who does not speak, he ejaculates whenever he wants to express something . He is well bestowed with mysterious mistresses and much melancholia which his manifold doocedly undressed mistresses, who are not overladen with morals either, cannot dispel even though they try. These mistresses are addicted to tube roses and dishabille consisting of just one Ruby or emerald necklace. He has to have a vaguely Romanesque name ending in us likes Sylvanus or Maximus. Why didn't she use Platypus?

These mistresses, should be the clinging type who want to get their hand upon the hero's bank balance and person.

The hero escapes from his mistress' machinations, and manages to meet Miss White clad Snowflake, who is trying to escape from the attentions of Lord Leer. That is quite enough for the heroine to go about declaring to herself. "I love him I love him." That is after she has been rescued by the hero from Lord Leer, because our heroine is incapable of rescuing herself and spends her time sending the hero telepathic messages of "save me save me," which he receives, being the hero and all.

Lord Leer is vanquished, the mistress is discomfited and everything sets out to be a happily ever after with a wedding in a church with only a couple of witnesses after a proposal set on these lines.

Barbara Cartland's proposals normally proceed on masterful physical lines

Hero muster fully, mastering up all his energy into this violent proposal ejaculating fiercely. " You are mine! Do you hear?" If he were Italian, it would have proceeded on chemical lines. "you are a -- mine! I was quite vitriolic, acidic and gave into my base nature and my basic instincts to, till you spirited into my life. [Traces of methylated spirits and bitters here.]

"Heroine. ..... Oh oh. ........ Do you.. really.. oh ... oh oh... love... me? [inarticulate mumble against his shoulder] .

Hero.-I doth plight my troth. Otherwise who shall pull you out of your plaintively pitiful plight, you gormless inarticulate female?

Words to avoid which Barbara Cartland uses in all her novels. Ejaculate instead of speak, inarticulate mumble, delicious food, very lovely .


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