Saturday, February 11, 2012

“Liz Fielding’s Little Book of Writing Romance”

The First Book to Read for Aspiring Writers! 

The Next Book to Read for Established Writers!

Format: Kindle Edition
Publisher: Classic Romance Publishing
January 2012
Amazon Digital Services

"Liz Fielding’s Little Book of Writing Romance" is all about the essential elements of the craft. As such, it provides the romance writer with the necessary information for creating the most enjoyable reading experience. 

While, as a primer, the book is ideal for a beginning writer, it is not simplistic! Nor is it a book of rules you have to follow. Rather "Liz Fielding’s Little Book of Writing Romance” is a book of ideas. It’s a book of, “I wish I’d known this when I first started writing” advice.

As the author writes in the Introduction: 

“…I have written the book I wish I’d had when I was starting out.” 

While the book covers the essential elements of romance writing, it is by no means 'basic' -- in the sense that learning your ‘A’ ‘B’ ‘C’s, before learning how to read, is 'basic'. Indeed, very complex subjects are covered in this book.

For example, understanding the idea of ‘conflict’ is essential to writing fiction but ‘conflict’ is a very complex and often misunderstood concept.  If a writer does not have a clear understanding of the essential elements of her subject, then applying writing rules can actually make a novel worse. 

Consider 'conflict'. Here's what the author has to say about what 'conflict' is not:

First, most importantly, it is not two characters having an argument for 199 pages and then saying “I love you” on page 200. 

An event that delays a hero or heroine’s progress towards a goal is not conflict, it is only an incident. 

A misunderstanding, a wrong assumption, one or other of the characters jumping to the wrong conclusion is not conflict. Conflict lies in the underlying reasons why they are unable to communicate.

   Meddling by another person is not conflict and can make the main characters appear weak, passive, unable to take charge of their own lives. Nor is the main character’s unwillingness to admit that they are attracted to the hero or heroine in any way, conflict. They might fight off the attraction, but conflict lies in the underlying reasons why they fight instead of fall into bed. 

So what, in the context of a novel, is conflict? 

Imagine the very worst person that your hero or heroine could fall in love with. Then double the nightmare. Tighten the screw. Layer in more reasons why this match is impossible. Family feud, faith, social class, distance, politics, health, reputation, a past relationship, secrets, lies, perceived past betrayal.

Conflict comes when, despite all and every apparently good reason for the characters to say “no way”, the attraction is too powerful for them to walk away, as in these partnerships that should never have worked."

Now, if a writer thinks ‘conflict’ is something that Liz Fielding points out is not 'conflict', (like having people argue) then adding such ‘non-conflict’ to a novel could well make it annoying to the reader! (And here the writer is thinking she has followed the rules and made her novel better!) This is exactly why established writers will benefit from reading this book. It is essential for all professionals to always be learning those things they ‘know’ that ‘ain’t so’. 

I discovered a few things that "I knew that ain't so" when reading this book. For this reason alone, reading "Liz Fielding's Little Book of Writing Romance", has been very rewarding for me.

Perhaps the most important thing about, “Liz Fielding’s Little Book of Writing Romance,” is the emphasis it places is on the reader. The central focus is not on agents, editors, contest judges, publishers, critics or even rules. The reader is at the central focus of this book and this makes it highly unusual and exceptionally valuable. So many “How to Write a Novel” books are about meeting the needs of the novel. The reader’s reading enjoyment is often lost among all the writing rules. Liz Fielding never forgets the reader!

As Liz Fielding writes in the book: 

   “The primary purpose of a romance novel is to elicit a positive emotional experience for the reader. Make her smile, make her cry, make her sight with pleasure. To put it in a nutshell, give her a good time.”

Writing to the needs of the 'reading experience' is what best selling authors do the best. Liz Fielding's little book is an excellent example of how to do this. From this point of view, "Liz Fielding's Little Book of Writing Romance", is a writing gem. A little jewel in the crown of romance writing books.

The Ten Chapters Cover These Topics:

Grab the reader on the first page.
Create characters your reader will care about.
Make conflict big enough to carry story,
Dig deep for emotion,
Develop romantic tension.
Write realistic dialogue.
Understanding Viewpoint.
Construct a four-dimensional world.
Give reader a satisfying ending.
Last Chapter covers: The basics.

I just want to point out that ‘the basics’ come at the very end in the last chapter. This book could be used in a graduate seminar on romance writing and probably will be.

"Liz Fielding’s Little Book of Writing Romance" – An Ideal Way to Calibrate Your Writing Knowledge!  A Writing Book You Can Profitably Read Again, Again, and Again! 5-Stars!


  1. I took my first writing class over 25 years ago at an adult education class in Tulsa with Liz Fielding as the instructor.

  2. Hi Tina:

    I bet it was Peggy Fielding!

    Know your Fieldings:

    Joy Fielding = 'See Jane Run'
    Peggy Fielding = 'Scoundrels' Bargain'
    Helen Fielding = 'Bridget Jones's Diary'
    Liz Fielding = 'The Marriage Miracle' (2006 RITA), 'The Best Man & The Bridesmaid' (2001 RITA) 'Flirting With Italian' (future RITA and ROSE award winner)
    Henry Fielding = 'Tom Jones'

    BTW: I also had Peggy Fielding in a writing class at TJC but it was novel wirting not romance writing. (In the 1970's.)

    I like all the Fieldings. Thanks for stopping by.


  3. Hello Tina!

    Vince is right - definitely wasn't me! Twenty five years ago I was living twenty five miles from London!

  4. Vince, sadly, I missed the Rita this year - was busy with the last book and left it too late. :(

  5. Thanks for sharing this. I just put it on my Kindle. Can't wait to read it!

  6. Hi Donna:

    I think you will really enjoy this book. It's a writing book that a writer cannot out grow. I've read dozens of writing books and I'm just about done writing one right now and this book is one I plan to read every year. You'll see. Thanks for commenting.


  7. Hi Liz:

    I wish you had told me. I'd of sent your application in for you. I'm very good at picking winners. If I say a book is going to win a given award, it will at least finial.

    But at least now five other nice writers have a chance to win. :)