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Do you have a romantic novel in you?

Is it based around an original first encounter?

LAFWlogo1From Romeo and Juliet’s fateful kiss to Elizabeth’s clash with the proud, rude Mr Darcy at the Meryton ball, writers have proved that true love springs from the most unlikely of encounters.

LoveAtFirstWrite is looking for a romantic novel with an original set-up, written with flair and charm, so that its creator can find their happy-ever-after with their new publisher.

So if you are a debut novelist looking for your first publisher, it’s time to enter the LoveAtFirstWrite competition in partnership with Corvus and Lovereading. Simply tweet the idea for your novel @CorvusBooks #loveatfirstwrite and send us a book synopsis and first chapter to loveatfirstwrite@atlantic-books.co.uk between 12 September and 12 October 2014.

Entries will be read by the Corvus editorial team, then a shortlist judged by a dedicated panel of experts, including Maddie West, Corvus Editorial Director, Sarah Broadhurst, Lovereading Lead Reviewer, Elisabeth Gifford, author of The Secrets of the Sea House and Lindsey Mooney, Kobo Vendor Manager, UK & Ireland.

Entrants will need to submit the following:

1) A book synopsis

2) The first chapter (no more than 5,000 words)

3) The story can come from any genre of romantic fiction but the entry must show the protagonists’ first meeting.

Entrants must not have been previously published and should be based in the UK or Ireland.

Entrants are also encouraged to tweet how their characters meet in less than 140 characters @CorvusBooks.

The winner will be announced in November 2014, and will have their novel published by Corvus as an eBook and paperback original in 2015.

Good luck & happy writing!

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Romance writing top tips from our very own Maddie West(Corvus Editorial Director and #Loveatfirstwrite judge!) – with the help of some of her favourite screen romances!

1.     CONFLICT:

If your hero and heroine are so perfect together, why aren’t they ripping their clothes off on page 2? We should know that they’re heading for a Happy Ever After, but that something major needs to change before that can happen.

Watch Fred Astaire burst into the ‘No Strings’ dance in the movie Top Hat.

2.     SHOW ME, DON’T TELL ME:

Please don’t explain the conflict to me. I should see it in dialogue, in body language, in what happens next. If you need to spell out that your hero can’t fall in love with the heroine because he is a vampire and she isn’t, then you’re not doing your job properly.

Watch Cordelia and Wes pretend to be Angel and Buffy

3.     CHARACTER:

If you don’t love your hero or heroine, who’s going to? You know them best, so make sure that, even at their worst, we like them! Even though Elizabeth doesn’t like Mr Darcy, we’re kind of intrigued and want to get to know him…

Watch Mr Darcy’s first appearance in Pride and Prejudice 

4.     SEXY TIMES:

Don’t have meaningless sex. As a general life rule, perhaps, but also in terms of conflict/character and plot. A kiss can sometimes tell the reader much more about your characters than dialogue – make sure that, if your characters are getting busy, your plot’s moving forward.

Watch THE kiss in Casablanca

5.     CLICHE:

Avoid them like the plague. You’ll need to go back to the drawing board if you want to bring home the bacon… Actually, clichés are often clichés for a good reason: it’s sometimes easier to relate if your hero and heroine do something natural, like meet in the office, even if things then take an unusual turn…

Watch the trailer for the hilarious film, The Proposal

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