writing romance novels tips

Early summer and touching the reader

I can’t even begin to describe the beautiful past few days we’ve had in Sweden! All I can say is we skipped spring and jumped straight into summer. I don’t mind. I’ve moved my work station to the balcony and there I sit, editing with soft reggae in the background, the warm sunrays caressing my skin.

This week I’ve been working on apostrophes, quotation marks and switching out frequently recurring words. Today I’ll standardize the e-mails, time and dates, and tomorrow I’ll begin rephrasing sentences containing filter words. It’s no walk in the park to write a book! But how lovely it is to see it grow and evolve.

One thing I’m anxious and concerned about, writing my debut novel and all, is my ability to make the reader connect with the characters. They live in my heart, therefore I know them, but how do I know if you as a reader will too? I suppose this is a question all writers struggle with at one point or another.

This week I thought I’d share five tips on how to make the reader identify with your characters. It’s taken from a Swedish handbook in writing released last year, called “Fängsla dina läsare – väck spänning och berör på djupet” (Captivate your readers – evoke suspense and touch in-depth), written by Catrine Tollström.

Here it goes:

  1. Everyone can relate to existential problems. Sooner or later, we’re faced with issues of freedom vs. dependency, life’s perishability and the existential loneliness of the human.
  2. Who doesn’t want to dream away and be the hero or heroine once in a while? Most people enjoy looking up to main characters. However, don’t forget that even your super cool role model needs to be vulnerable. A person who’s only rich and good-looking can easily appear rather empty and become difficult to relate to. Which demons, fears and sorrows does the person carry inside? Do you want to depict the unhappiness masked behind the upper-class family’s shiny facade? Then you might have to work harder to gain sympathy.
  3. Move your readers through evoking vicarious feelings. Maybe the heroine in your humor manuscript is making such a fool of herself that the reader will want to hold a pillow in front of the book. The heroine herself won’t notice. In this case, it’s the character’s way of acting that moves the reader.
  4. It’s easy to keep your fingers crossed for the underdog. Of course we want the car enthusiast who’s fought the hardest to win the desert rally in the novel we’re reading. Especially since she doesn’t have the financial assets needed to get herself the equipment her competitors have. When they laugh at her, we find ourselves even more on her side.
  5. Touch through characteristics easy to relate to. Your super hero might be good at most things, but terrible at saying no. Of course, this results in a series of fun or serious consequences in the plot.

(Tollström 2017, p. 39-40)

Hope this gave you a new idea or two!

That’s all for now,
hej så länge!

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Astrology and first loves

So, today is #tiptaptuesday and I’m giving you guys one of my favorite writing tips, a tip that can completely revolutionize your writing: astrology. Astrology is something I’ve carried close to my heart for many years. It all started with a Christmas gift from my mother back in 2002; a book about what would lie ahead for all the zodiac signs the coming year.


The book entertained the 14-year-old me for a short while. However, being consumed by all the chaos of being a teenager, I put it aside and let it rest for some time. My first love came along and swept me off my feet when I was 15. Being dumped a year later broke both my heart and my spirit. Desperate to understand why it hurt so much, I turned back to astrology in search for answers. Hardly surprising, the reason for my suffering proved to be a vibrant and energetic Sagittarius, a close to perfect match to myself being an Aries. The two of us sharing the element of fire had doubled the heat in my life, and the sudden absence of my perceived second half was overwhelming. But the insights I got during my investigation were startling, and this was where I began to find astrology really interesting.


Over the years, I´ve turned to astrology in most my attempts of understanding and bettering any relationship
I´ve had; let it be with partners, friends, family or the relationship with myself. I´ve found it to be the most effective tool to understand underlying motivations, actions and ways to communicate with different types of people. Of course, we´re also shaped by our childhoods, traumas, environments etc., but understanding and applying the knowledge of astrology comes a long way to better our understanding of ourselves and others.


Therefore, when I got the idea to write Kilonova Blues, I pulled out my best astrology collection from the bookshelves. I began searching for the personalities of my main characters, Alexandra Johnson and Marcus Meyers. It didn´t take long before I knew I had a Virgo and a Scorpio at my hands. From there, it was only to start carving out their personalities. I use astrology frequently in my writing, as an encyclopedia to know how my characters react to what life throws their way. It helps me hold the personality of a character together, making sure I´m writing in the voice of my character, not letting my own Aries traits shine through.


I have so much to say when it comes to astrology, and I´ve still got so much left to learn. But my first and most important tip for you is to USE astrology as a tool in your writing! If you don’t already. It´s like opening the door to a new world, and I promise you´ll learn as much about yourself as you will about others. Plus – it will set fire to your character development. If you don´t feel like stacking up on some books, the resources online are endless. I´m sure I´ll return to this subject many times to come, but for today I´ll just say: GET STARTED!

That’s all for now,
hej så länge!

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