Writing a Mills & Boon novel – Part 1: How hard can it be?

So I decided this week that I am going to write a Mills & Boon novel. I confess this wasn’t an entirely creatively motivated decision. I read in Cosmopolitan that you can earn between £2,000 and £30,000 per book and frankly that sounds like a lifestyle I could handle. I mean, it can’t possibly take people more than about a week to churn out that rubbish. Can it?

I have never read a Mills & Boon before but their reputation precedes them on most grounds and it didn’t occur to me for a minute that bashing one out would be particularly taxing. My boss was less convinced.

“I don’t think it’s as easy as you’d imagine,” she objected. “There’s quite an art to it. They run courses and everything so people can learn. I don’t think it’s the kind of thing you can just do.”

Nice to get a vote of confidence… but anyway. Forgive me if I appear cocky but it’s not as though I’m trying to turn my hand to neuroscience here. I am, after all, a writer. In fact, as a journalist it is basically my job to write convincingly on topics I hitherto knew very little about. And this is trashy romance we’re talking about, for God’s sake. How hard can it be?

Well, we shall see. I have decided to record my experiences here as a testimony to the art (or otherwise) of writing for Mills & Boon. My first task? Read some Mills & Boon…

*

Next up: Writing a Mills & Boon novel – Part 2: Isn’t it supposed to be sexy?

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3 thoughts on “Writing a Mills & Boon novel – Part 1: How hard can it be?

  1. My drawing teacher at RIT liked to tell us that if we ever wanted to sell out, illustrating romance covers was the way to go. Apparently back when he was an illustrator you could make $6000 per cover, which only took a week or so to churn out. I imagine that this is no longer true, after all, don’t a lot of romance novels use photographs for their covers now?

    I would think that writing trashy romance novels would be difficult in that there were simply so many out there. It’s probably difficult to get yours read by a publisher when there are so many others trying to do the same.

    Good luck!

    • You make an excellent point. How many different woman-meets-seemingly-arrogant-alpha-male-with-secret-sensitive-side-and-ultimately-tames-him scenarios can there be? The difficulty will no doubt be in coming up with a new plot idea.

      Interesting to hear that about the art side of it. The funny thing is, those kinds of illustrations have a kitsch retro appeal now. A friend gave me a card once with an old Mills & Boon illustration on it and I have it up on the wall at home. People always comment on it.

  2. Pingback: Writing a Mills & Boon novel – Part 3: Losing the plot « Francesca Da Rimini

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