Your story must be set in contemporary times. This means the exact date is not important. It can be slightly in the past, or the present or the very near future.
Some think anything after the 1950s counts as contemporary. While that is true when one considers the whole gamut of human history, our target audience was probably born a bit later than that, so we are looking for more up-to-date settings.
If your novel talks about specific technology or events, then it might not be contemporary. Mentioning the very latest ‘Nokia 3345’ may seem modern in 1993, but if that phone went out of production 10 years ago, then that fact would date your novel.
Look around you – the world is full of technology. Your hero may have a phone. But avoid terms like ‘smartphone’ - just assume phones are smart enough for your novel. Only if the hero has a antique phone for a good reason would it be necessary to mention this. You can assume he has a tablet, but avoid saying ‘iPad 2’, unless the exact age is very important to the story.
The opposite problem is trying to go futuristic. “Mindy stood silently in her hover-boots” or “Simon adjusted his wrist-tablet” are phrases that move your novel from contemporary into science fiction.
The formula is: “Boy meets girl. They have struggles. They overcome them. Love wins. They live happily ever after.”
It’s all about the relationship between them. It has to be a relationship the reader would aspire to.
The variants are: Someone meets someone. The word ‘someone’ could mean more than one someone, but don’t confuse us.
Since this isn’t science fiction, none of the characters are aliens. The one in the mental asylum can think he’s an alien, but this is never (positively) proven.
No-one is a vampire – that’s Gothic Horror.
There may be sex, but if it goes on for pages and pages, then it might be better suited to the Erotica section.
Too much “sighing” and “staring dreamily into his eyes” might be better suited to Woman’s Fiction.
Romance always turns out well. The classic tragedies may leave one deeply moved, but we expect our protagonists to walk away together hand in hand - or at least with each other’s twitter handle, and the chance of a second date.Top
What separates Romance from Adventure Romance is, er, Adventure.
Adventure can entail struggle and perhaps danger from the environment, other people, wild animals etc. When combined with Romance, Adventure gives more scope for plot – pure Romance can be somewhat lacking in plot.Top
We're looking for original artwork or photography combined with short text in simple language.
Please don't send us your original artwork - we would hate for it to get lost in the post!
For your initial submission, a Word document with embedded low-res (75dpi) scans of your artwork will be fine, together with one high-res (300dpi) scan of a picture so we can see the quality of your art.
If your submission is over a few megabyte, it may not send correctly. Try and reduce the resolution of your images or contact us for help.Top
Good SF is original and imaginative. SF can include romance and adventure, but what separates it from these is the way in which the world either changes or has already changed.
So, in Greg Bear's Forge of God, the entire world is destroyed. SF helps us to encompass ideas that are otherwise too great for the human mind.
Some autists love writing fan-fic, and while one of these tried and tested formulas is tempting, in order to be published, you need to have moved beyond existing characters and developed your own universe.Top