So You Think You Can Write and Wattpad: Everything you need to know!

 

SYTYCW_300dpi wattpad logo - orange

 

Wondering how to enter So You Think You Can Write 2015 with Wattpad? Editorial Assistant Deirdre McCluskey walks you through the process!

You’ve probably heard by now that So You Think You Can Write has teamed up with Wattpad for our 2015 contest. What does this mean for you?

As always, we’re looking for great new voices in romantic fiction, and we’re offering the awesome Grand Prize of a two-book contract with Harlequin! Our free, interactive online conference for romance writers is happening at soyouthinkyoucanwrite.com from September 14-18, 2015.

So what’s different this year? Two big, important things:

  1.  You must set up a profile on Wattpad and post your manuscript there to qualify for the contest.
  2. You must publish you romance manuscript on Wattpad in full by September 21, 2015.

Posting your manuscript on Wattpad gives you access to feedback from millions of readers. You can post your book now and make changes right up until the September 21 deadline!

To learn more about Wattpad, visit their site.

Check out our Rules and Regulations on Wattpad.

Read our FAQs on Wattpad.

The first thing you have to do to enter So You Think You Can Write 2015 is set up a profile on Wattpad. Your profile is your home on Wattpad and the place where readers discover your writing and learn more about you. You can join Wattpad on your mobile device or computer. We’re going to talk here about the web version since many of you will already have your romance manuscript on your computer and will want to add it from there.

You can join Wattpad either using your Facebook profile or an email address. To use your email, fill in the fields with the email address you would like associated with your account. When you have provided your information, select the Sign Up button to complete the process. You will receive an activation email soon after you sign up to verify your account.

Sign up

Once you’ve created an account, you’re ready to publish your story on your profile page. In Wattpad lingo, you’re going to “create a story.” To start the process, click “Create”

Create a Story_rev

And then, “Create a Story”

Create a Story 2

The first thing you’ll do is enter some information about your book. Click on “Title your story” to add the title, add a description, and complete the rest of the fields using the drop-down menus. Click “Save Changes” when you’re done.

Create a Story - add details

Make sure you tag your story on this details page. You can create as many tags as you want to improve discoverability, but you MUST include the contest hashtag (#SYTYCW15) and the hashtag for ONE of the 18 eligible Harlequin categories (example: #AmericanRomance) to qualify for contest entry.

If you choose more than one category hashtag your entry will be disqualified.

Just click on “Add a tag” and enter your tags. For the full list of eligible categories, see the Categories page on Wattpad. For the full list of eligible tags see our contest checklist.

Create a Story - tags

You can create a cover for your book, and it’s fun to do! (But you’ll still qualify for contest entry without a cover.) To create a cover, click “Edit Cover.” You can upload a cover you’ve already created and saved on your computer, or you can click “Create Cover.”

Create a Cover 1

If you choose to create a cover, you’ll be taken to the Cover Creator page where you can choose the details and create your cover.

Create a Cover 2

Now that you’ve included the details of your manuscript, you’re ready to enter your story. For the first phase of judging, we’ll be reading your 100-word pitch and Chapter One of your book. These MUST be added on Wattpad as Part 1 and Part 2 of your story. You can add your pitch and Chapter One by clicking “Create.” You’ll have the option of adding a New Story or a New Part to the story you added (in this picture I’ve already added my pitch and Chapter One.)

Add parts

Click on “New Part” and retitle “Untitled Part 1” to “Pitch Part 1,” type your pitch, maximum 100 words, in the text box, save and select “Publish.”

Add your pitch

Your first chapter MUST be Part 2 of your story. Select “New Part,” retitle “Untitled Part 2” to “Chapter One Part 2” and add your first Chapter to the text box by cutting and pasting from your manuscript document. Save and select “Publish.”

Add your first chapter

Note: If you are including a prologue, it must be included here with your first Chapter as “Part 2” of your story. The prologue and first chapter combined cannot exceed 5,000 words.

Add additional chapters to your story in the same way. You can add your chapters one at a time, or all in one session. Remember, your additional chapters cannot be in “Part 2.” They must be in Part 3 and onward.

Add more chapters to your story
Just be sure your full manuscript is posted and published on Wattpad by 4:59 EDT on September 21, 2015! The first phase of judging will be on the pitch and first chapter only, but the full manuscript MUST be posted by the September 21 deadline! This is a change from previous years, so don’t forget to review the timelines carefully!

You can go back to the details page and update details, change the cover, add tags, etc. at any time before September 21 at 4:59 EDT by selecting “Edit Story.”

Edit the details of your story

That’s it! Once you’ve set up your profile on Wattpad and published your story with the appropriate tags, you’re in! The contest is open now, so why wait? Good Luck!

Here’s a handy timeline:

July 2, 2015–September 21, 2015: Write and post your Harlequin romance novel on Wattpad.

September 22, 2015–October 6, 2015: Judges read pitch and first chapter ONLY (Part 1 and Part 2 on Wattpad) to determine the top 50 submissions, but full manuscript MUST be posted by September 21 to be eligible.

October 8, 2015–October 14, 2015: Go to http://www.wattpad.com/user/HarlequinSYTYCW and vote for your favorite top 50 submission. The top 25 out of these votes will move on!

October 15, 2015–November 9, 2015: The judges review the top 25 manuscripts in their entirety, and the top ten finalists move forward.

November 10, 2015–November 17, 2015: Go to www.soyouthinkyoucanwrite.com and vote for your favorite!

November 19, 2015: We announce the winner!

Have more questions? Check out these important links:

Wattpad Help Center

So You Think You Can Write Wattpad Profile Page

How to Enter

Rules and Regulations

FAQs

Contest Categories

Contest Checklist

How to Write the Perfect Romance

Or email us at sytycwhelp@harlequin.ca

Follow So You Think You Can Write on Twitter @SYTYCW, hashtag #SYTYCW15

And on Facebook

 

 

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Advice From The Archives: Children in Romance

We’re talking about ‘Children in Romance’ in today’s Advice from the Archives post! These pearls of wisdom are from the 2011 New Voices competition – enjoy! 

Going ga-ga for romance! Should children be seen and not heard?

Children who populate our books can change the whole feeling of a story, for better or worse, and something that can present a challenge to an aspiring author is dealing with a child in their romance story – as we all know, children don’t always do what they’re told!

Babies are a classic theme to help bring couples together and they are a reader favourite – there’s something about a tall, powerful hero protecting a tiny baby that tends to resonate for almost everyone. However, once that baby starts talking, the writer’s suddenly dealing with a whole other little personality that can be determined to steal all the attention…

So here are our top tips for making your fictional children totally adorable…

Focus on the romance: First and most importantly, the romance should still be driving the story, not the children – no matter how demanding they are. Having too much page time spent dealing with babies or children around can distract from the intensity of the relationship (which alas can feel all too realistic!). As an example, although children can sometimes act as a barrier to romance (for example if your heroine wants to focus on being a single mum and isn’t looking to fall in love), they mustn’t be the only thing holding your couple apart – no matter how adorable the kids are, they are only secondary characters.

Warning: contains sickly-sweet children, may cause nausea…
Sadly, outside the world of fantasy, children aren’t perfect – and we love them for it! A child without a spark of naughtiness is, let’s be honest, a dull child. In the same way that heroes and heroines need flaws to feel real, a perfectly good child is too good to be true. Equally, watching your characters struggling with their children on occasion will make it easier for readers to relate to them and to trust in their happy ending; it’s easier to believe that a billionaire hero’s going to stick around once he’s dealt successfully with baby vomit on his handmade Italian loafers!

Put your children to work!
How can these little secondary characters help to move the romance forward? Shared responsibility for a child can be a great way to bring couples together while they’re also a way for the reader to see another side to a character for example, a softer side to a haughtily alpha hero or vulnerability when an otherwise completely competent mum tries to reach her teenage daughter.

And there you have it – the recipe for the perfect love story with the addition of adorable children!  

So what about you? Does a baby on a cover make you run to the shelves or run for the hills? Do you have any favourite fictional children? Comment below or tweet and use the #SoldBlog hashtag and let us know! Happy writing!

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Advice from the Archives:

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My Secret Crush: Lana Kane



We’re back this week with another #EditorCrush from HQN and Desire Editorial Assistant Tahra Seplowin who reveals her #SecretCrush on Archer‘s Lana Kane…

Sexy, hilarious, and utterly endearing despite her weakness for men she should never date, agent Lana Kane is my secret crush. A large part of the hero worship I feel for her might be wishing that I could kick butt and deliver witty lines as efficiently as she does as unfortunately, I’m more the type who comes up with the perfect retort the next day.

Surrounded by egotistical people at her day job, Lana’s clever mind, sharp tongue, and and impressive backbone are very prominent characteristics of hers and certainly things that she needs to rely on constantly to survive in her high-stakes career. She’s a strong believer in doing the right thing even when it’s difficult. Mix that in with her wicked sense of humor and genuine warmth, and she’s the kind of heroine that I never get tired of.

And, let’s face it – no one rocks a sweaterdress like she does. I’m pretty sure she’d respond to that statement with a loud, resounding, “Yup!”

Thanks, Tahra! We all love to see a strong heroine stealing the show! Who is your ultimate heroine #SecretCrush? Tell us below in comments.

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Weekend Writing Tips: Nic Caws

Do you love writing about Alpha heroes wrestling with strong emotions? Then make sure you check out @NicolaCaws‘s top tip on keeping them strong AND sexy!

Happy Writing!

The SOLD Editors x

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Interview with… Jennifer Morey

Jennifer Morey first sold to Harlequin in 2007. Her Silhouette Romantic Suspense debut was The Secret Soldier and since then, she has written fifteen books. What she loves most about writing for Harlequin is the happy endings , a great team of editors and marketing staff, and the international reach. Don’t miss Jennifer’s latest book – A Wanted Man – out now!

Be sure to follow Jennifer on Twitter and Facebook!

0915-9781460387948-bigw1. What book first got you hooked on Harlequin?
Kathleen Woodiwiss’s Shana got me hooked on the romance market as a whole.

2. How did you celebrate selling your first manuscript?
My spacecraft engineer coworkers all took me out for happy hour, then I threw my own reception after my book was published. It was a big shindig, and an exciting, happy time!

3. Which of the many books you’ve written has stayed with you the most and why?
The Secret Soldier and Special Ops Affair. The Secret Soldier from the All McQueen’s Men miniseries, because Cullen McQueen sets the bar for sexy, strong heroes, and Special Ops Affair, also from the same miniseries, because Cullen’s intelligence officer, Odelia “Odie” Frank, epitomizes a strong heroine put to the test when faced with the prospect of love. Whenever I get stuck with a heroine’s character, I always think of her.

4. What’s top of your TBR pile?
Guilty by Karen Robards.

5. What book do you wish you’d written and why?
The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt, because of her brilliant, engaging prose and graphic characterization. For me, there is no better study of literary perfection.

6. What’s harder – first or last lines?
First lines. Bringing the reader into the time, place and occurrence that triggers the story isn’t always easy without falling prey to telling or information dumping. The less the reader knows the better, but the reader can’t be confused over what the story is about, where the characters are in time and place, who they are, and how they have triggered the story. It’s like the beginning of movies. If you miss the first 20 minutes or so, you’ve probably missed the best part—the most important part.

7. How do you choose your characters’ names?
I have several baby name books. Naming my characters is one of my favorite aspects of the writing process. I sometimes am told my names are too unusual and have to change them.

8. How do you push through writer’s block?
Write anyway. Even if it’s bad and I know I’ll be deleting most of it later. The point is, not all of it will need to be deleted and I always find the story again.

9. What’s the best career advice you’ve ever had?
Show, don’t tell. It’s a lot more complicated than those three little words.

10. Your preferred writing snack?
Nachos with something carbonated.

11. Who is your favourite fictional couple?
Bruce Willis and Mary-Louise Parker in Red. I was hooked as soon as his character talked about a romance novel with her!

12. If you could rewrite your life, what would you change?
My first marriage, my first job, and when I went to college. I’d have skipped the first two and gone straight to college. Teaching my brain is what made me the writer I am today.

13. What would your readers be surprised to know about you?
I wasn’t a Harlequin reader until I was published by them.

14. What is your most overused word?
Was. That word haunts me. Yes, it has its proper use, but it can sneak into sentences that could be much stronger without it. Kind of like the word “it.”

15. If I wasn’t a romance author, I would have liked to be…
A screen writer. Maybe an actress. Movies. Ah, movies.

16. When was the last time you said ‘I love you’?
This morning to my Australian Shepherd.

17. What does love feel like?
Warm and tingly with a big smile and a need for whiskery kisses…or… Warm and tingly with no smile, just an all-encompassing need to get closer to the person stirring the passion.

18. What’s your guiltiest pleasure?
Cuddled up on the couch all day watching movies and eating greasy, salty food. Maybe a glass of good red wine to finish off the day.

19. What’s your most romantic song?
Vince Guaraldi’s “Linus and Lucy” from A Charlie Brown Christmas.

20. Every hero needs a…
A moral reason to fight and a woman who challenges him emotionally.

A big thank you to the lovely Jennifer Morey for stepping into the Sold blog spotlight this week! We hope you enjoyed it! 

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Dear Editor…

Dear Editor,

I’m a long-time Harlequin Presents reader, but a first-time writer. I really want to write about a virgin heroine – I love these story-lines the most! – but I’m struggling to think of a way to make her virginity sound believable! Would you recommend I stick with my virgin heroine or make her more experienced? Any tips most gratefully received!

Thanks!

Jenny

Dear Jenny,

Great question! We’re so glad that you love virgin heroines as much as we do – she’s an enduringly popular Harlequin character! – but you’re right to think carefully about how to make sure her virginity rings true for the contemporary reader.

We’ve come a long way from the days when virgin heroines were the norm.  We now live in a time where contraception and societal changes have enabled women to embrace their sexual freedom. So it’s been important to Harlequin, and Harlequin authors, that this new reality is reflected in the type of heroines and story-lines we publish.

That aside, the idea of the virgin heroine still has huge appeal – to readers and aspiring writers like yourself, as well as to our existing author base! Of course, the appeal of the virgin will be different for everyone, depending on what series you love to read and write. Perhaps you feel saving yourself for Mr Right is the ultimate sign of love and commitment. Perhaps you’d rather read about a heroine losing her V-plates and loving every minute of the experience, rather than the often anti-climactic (!) reality?! Or maybe you just like to see that even the most innocent, shy heroine can bag herself a super-sexy bad-boy hero – and have some smoking hot sex along the way!

Whatever the reason, the virgin heroine is clearly here to stay. But in order to make her convincing in a 21st century world, and to 21st century readers, we need to understand exactly why a heroine has made that choice.

So, here are our top tips on how to pull off your virgin heroine…

  • Give her a rock-solid emotional reason for avoiding physical intimacy. Did she have a traumatic sexual experience in the past that has left her wary of taking that final step? Does she have extreme body-confidence issues – an eating disorder? Physical scarring of some kind? – that mean she’s deeply uncomfortable getting naked with someone? Let the reader understand exactly why the thought of making herself that physically vulnerable to someone is more than she can bear… until she meets the hero :-)
  • Consider a high-fantasy setting. Setting your story in fictional kingdoms around the world, where different social customs prevail, could be a great way to have some fun with your virgin heroine! Is she a Mediterranean princess whose family’s honor rests on her chastity? Has your desert heroine been betrothed from birth to a neighboring sheikh? We could go on for hours – this is fun! – but you get the picture.
  • Beware the double standard! If your heroine is a virgin, but your hero is a playboy tycoon, consider what other qualities your heroine has that could balance out this power dynamic. Despite her innocence, how can she bring this hero to heel?!
  • Make the most of your hero’s reactions. Your hero might secretly love the fact that he’s the first, but have him question why the woman he finds so attractive has kept other men at arm’s length. This can be a great way to explore the heroine’s conflict on the page…and cement how compatible your hero and heroine really are!
  • Remember – emotional virginity counts! If you decide to write a more experienced heroine, that’s great too! However, if she’s not a virgin, let’s see that everything about the relationship with the hero – from their sex life to their emotional connection – is in such a different league from her previous experiences that it feels like the first time.

We hope you find these tips helpful, and best of luck with your virgin heroine – have fun writing her!

The SOLD Editors x

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My Secret Crush: Han Solo



Excitement is mounting for the highly anticipated upcoming release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. But Carina Press author R.L. Naquin might be more excited than some as she reveals her #SecretCrush on Han Solo!

My Ultimate Secret Crush is…

Han Solo. By writing those two words, I just flashed my geek card and my driver’s license. Yes, I am old enough that I saw all the original Star Wars movies in theaters when they first came out. Several viewings. It was a magical time.

But the fact that I’ve loved Han Solo for so long proves that he can withstand the test of time. This is not a fleeting crush. This is forever.

Please don’t judge me.



So, what makes Han Solo so irresistible to me? For starters, who doesn’t love a bad boy? When we first meet him, he’s a rogue. A scoundrel. A smuggler. And when Princess Leia meets him, she calls him a “stuck up, half-witted, scruffy-looking nerf herder.” That’s harsh, but pretty spot on.

He’s in it strictly for the money.

But is he really? No! Just when he’s needed most, he swoops in during the big fight and distracts the Imperial fighters long enough for Luke to get in there and destroy the Death Star. Hooray!

Over the course of the next two movies, we watch Han and Leia grow closer, and Han even risks his life to go out into the freezing landscape of Hoth to rescue Luke (again). For a stuck up, half-witted, scruffy-looking nerf herder, he certainly turns out to be a good friend. And smart. Not everyone would think to shove their friend inside the warm body cavity of a freshly dead tauntaun to keep that friend from freezing to death. He didn’t even care about the smell. That’s friendship.

By the second movie, The Empire Strikes Back, Han and Leia are obviously in love, though she hasn’t fully committed yet, since the silly girl isn’t sure if she’s also in love with Luke. And so, we watch the dance of the confused love-triangle—and each time Han thinks she’ll choose Luke, he’s willing to honor that decision (wrong as he is about it) for Luke and Leia’s sake. Because he’s a good guy, even if he is a bad boy.



But he knows she loves him. In fact, when she finally tells him as he’s being dragged off to be frozen in carbonite, he gives her that sexy half smirk and says the classic line that geek girls everywhere long to hear: “I know.”

Nobody could pull that off but him.

In the end, of course, Luke’s genetics take him out of the running (and Leia pretends she knew all along that he was her brother), but not before a classic “Big Misunderstanding” pulls Han and Leia apart for a little while. But it was never going to be Luke. How could it be?

Even Leia loves a bad boy. Don’t we all?

We certainly know our editors at Sold! love a bad boy, but what about you? Do you have a #SecretCrush on a bad boy? Tell us below in comments!

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Weekend Writing Tip: Laura McCallen

This weekend, Assistant Editor @LauraMcCallen is on SOLD to give you her top writing tip about maintaining that all-important emotional tension in your romance!

Watch, learn & enjoy!

Happy Writing!
The SOLD Editors x

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Time for another #WritingChallenge!

Writing Challenge BubbleDo you love enemies-to-lovers romances? (And let’s be honest here, how can you not?!) Then this weekend’s #WritingChallenge is going to be right up your street…

We want to see that amazing moment when your character realizes they don’t hate the person who’s been getting under their skin…they’re falling for them instead!

We can’t WAIT to see what you come up with :-)

Happy writing!

The SOLD Editors x

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