Planning a Romance Novel

I recently had this exchange on Twitter:

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I’ve reached that stage of editing, with novel #2, where I’m past the fuzzy warmth of false confidence and social lubrication and into I’m-going-to-vomit territory. (I’m not entire sure the tequila analogy works there…)

I’m now tinkering with individual sentences and words and probably making them worse, or just as good, instead of better.

This means it’s time to start novel #3. I thought I’d explain my process here–with the caveat that it’s MY process and will NOT work for everyone–for planning a romance novel.

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Sir Tedward McGinger

This is the story of a very special cat.

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Sir Tedward McGinger–Ted to his friends–was born circa 1999.

Little is known about his kittenhood and early years, but it’s believed he had older brothers, because although he tolerated other cats with a weary air, he only ever passively-aggressively tried to get rid of them for some peace and quiet, never overtly picking a fight.

He may also have had younger sisters, because his family suspect his weary air around girl-cats was really just for show, and secretly he enjoyed cuddling with them. It was because of this that his human mum was so surprised when she rescued a stray girl cat, Willow, and Ted tried with all his might to get her out of the house. It turned out that Mum, with her degree in animal care, had missed Willow’s prominent testicles. Upon further investigation it was discovered that Willow was actually called Dave and had gone missing from a house a few miles away. Oops. Dave was reunited with his family shortly after.

Biographers suspect young Ted studied Yowling before taking a master’s degree in Linguistics. Unlike most cats, he even learned some human speech–able to say “nooo” (usually to his nemesis: fences) and “whoa” (when a human had the audacity to pick him up).

The first documented evidence of his life begins in 2003, when he was sleeping rough in the grey streets of south-east London. Although quick-witted and ferocious in a fight, Ted was not suited to a life on the streets. His ginger fur stuck out against concrete and grass alike, and there was a reason he majored in Yowling instead of Mousing.

He was rescued by workers at Celia Hammond’s cat sanctuary. They put him through many undignified treatments from de-fleaing to de-worming, and many examinations that seemed purely sadistic. Did they REALLY need to take his temperature? And why there? And what the fuckity fuck are anal glands, and why, for the love of tuna, do they need to be squeezed?

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