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Romance is in the Air

April 1st, 2016

winter's-fairytale-blogI’ve just been reading about one of our students, Maxine Morrey, who has secured a two-book deal with Carina UK, the digital printing arm of publishing giant HarperCollins.

I must admit that I hadn’t come across them before, but do go and have a look at their site as they are open to new writers, and you don’t need an agent to approach them. Plus there’s a really clear Question and Answer section on anything you want to know about them.

Something else I learned while looking into this is that Harlequin Mills and Boon is now also part of HarperCollins, so they’re teamed up with Carina too. Each month, Mills & Boon publish 120 new titles, with manuscripts from 200 authors living in the UK and a further 1,300 worldwide. Every five seconds there’s a new Mills & Boon book sold in the UK! (Watch that exclamation mark – we’ll be coming back to it later.)

The history of the company is fascinating and you can read all about it on their website. Plus there are guidelines on how to write for them. They now have a huge range of different romance genres and seem very approachable. But don’t be fooled by that – the competition is keen so they can afford to be picky and only accept what they consider will most appeal to their readers.

OK, back to that exclamation mark in the previous paragraph. I’m assuming you picked up on the recent edict from the Department of Education, saying that children are using too many of these pesky little things in their writing. Seven year olds, it says, will only be allowed to use exclamation marks at the end of sentences that begin with “How” or “What” and use “the syntax of an exclamation”. I think it’s an over-simplistic way of trying to define when an exclamation mark can legitimately be used and good luck explaining what “the syntax of exclamation” is to your average child of that age.

But I do agree that most people, including writers, tend to over-use exclamation marks – I know I get carried away at times. But I’ve just read a great article on the subject: 10 simple rules to follow when using and not using exclamation marks. I hope it will amuse you, and keep me in check in future.

The one I particularly liked was Rule 9: Don’t be too nice. We human beings are a cynical bunch. We get suspicious of those who appear to be happy all the time, exclamation marking their way across Twitter.Tone it down. Everyone will like you way more if they know you are as miserable as they are.

But perhaps that just says more about me than it does about the use of the exclamation mark!

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About The Author: Diana Nadin

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