Romancing Your Novel With A Big-Picture Edit

In honor of the Get Social Blog Hop, I’d like to cover editing a romance novel. You can find other blogs on the hop are here.


Some of you may know, my upcoming book is a mystery, but it’s different from the Stone Mountain Series in that it has more romance in it.

There are many areas to cover when you’re editing your first draft, and today I’ll cover four Key Elements of Fiction important to romance novels.

Screen Shot 2017-06-03 at 9.33.09 AM Point of View

Screen Shot 2017-06-03 at 9.33.09 AM Characters on Stage

Screen Shot 2017-06-03 at 9.33.09 AM Spice (Conflict and Tension)

Screen Shot 2017-06-03 at 9.33.09 AM Purpose of each Scene

Even in real life, romance takes effort. The same is true for creating a romance novel that sizzles.

Screen Shot 2017-06-03 at 9.33.09 AMPoint of View


Point of View (POV) is the perspective the story is told from. It is generally accepted that each scene is written from the point of view of one character.

In a romance novel, you have to make choices on who the POV character will be. It can be mostly the hero, mostly the heroine, or an equal balance between the two. By using both points of view, you’ll be showing the feelings and thoughts from both characters.

The Feedback tool for writers illustrates how many scenes each POV character has and what order they appear in. In Look The Other Way, Shannon (heroine) has the POV for 47 scenes, and Jake (hero) has the POV for 37 scenes. The graph along the bottom shows the order of the point of view, allowing me to make sure I’m switching between the hero and heroine regularly.

POV Characters

Screen Shot 2017-06-03 at 9.33.09 AMCharacters on Stage


There can only be romance if both the hero and heroine are in a scene together. Keep track of how many scenes you have where only one is in the scene versus scenes where both characters are onstage. The Feedback app does this for you.

Below, Jake and Shannon are both in the scene along with another character Debi Hall. Kendra is Jake’s cousin and is only mentioned in the scene. The scene is from Jake’s point of view, so the reader will see and hear things from his view point only. The reader won’t know what Shannon thinks or feels unless Jake comments on it or thinks about it or Shannon says something.

Character in Scene LTOW

Screen Shot 2017-06-03 at 9.33.09 AMSpice


To keep the story exciting there must be conflict and tension between the hero and heroine. If you’re writing a happy-ending romance, the hero and heroine will resolve the conflict and tension by the end of the story and live happily ever after.

The two can be working toward the same goal, but maybe they go about it differently and that causes the tension.  This resolution must not happen until the end. Each scene until the end must have conflict or tension or both.

Feedback enables you to see what conflict and tension are in each scene. You can see if the tension and conflict are in line with the purpose of scene. Just make sure you have either conflict or tension in every scene. You don’t have to have both.

Here you’re getting a sneak peek at my work in progress, Evolution.

Conflict Tension

Screen Shot 2017-06-03 at 9.33.09 AMPurpose of Each Scene


The romance genre requires a special look at the purpose of each scene. In a mystery, the sole purpose of a scene may be to drop a clue or a red herring into a scene. But in a romance novel, the purpose of a scene may revolve around character development, driving the romance forward, or driving the romance backward.

Here are some of the key scenes you’ll need.

  • Introduce heroine and set up her world
  • Introduce hero and set up his world
  • Inciting incident – something happens in their world that will cause them to meet.
  • First kiss
  • Plot point one – the hero and heroine face something difficult
  • Middle – the characters can’t turn back to the story. They may also decide they are not right for each other.
  • First quarrel
  • Plot point two – their relationship is at its worst
  • Finally get together
  • Resolution

In the following, which is the Feedback insight into Purpose of Scene for my work in progress Evolution, you can see in the first 9 scenes, the hero and heroine meet, there is tension between them and they have their “first kiss.” You can also see 44% of the scenes in this novel are moving the story forward.  This means there is more than romance in the story and the hero and heroine have a goal they are desperate to achieve.

Feedback will help you keep track of the romance and its progression as you self-edit your novel.

Purpose of Scene Romance

More Self-Editing Advice

BIG-PICTURE EditingIf you’re looking for more help on self-editing download the free eBook, BIG-PICTURE Editing And The Key Elements Of Fiction and learn how big-picture editing is all about evaluating the major components of your story. We call these components the Key Elements Of Fiction.  Our eBook shows you how to use the key elements of fiction to evaluate your story and become your own big-picture editor.

Interested In An Automated Approach To Big-Picture Self-Editing?

Feedback Innovations (which I happen to be the CEO of) is building the Feedback app.

Feedback is the first web app to help fiction writers evaluate their own work with a focus on story, not words.

With Feedback, you can focus on plot, character, and setting. You can evaluate on a scene-by-scene basis or on overall novel structure. Feedback will show you the most important structural elements to work on first.

Feedback will guide you through the rewriting process by asking you questions specific to your manuscript, enabling you to evaluate your own story.

Feedback helps you visualize your manuscript. Forget about yellow stickies or white boards. Feedback will draw character arcs, provide reports on scene evaluation, and show your rewriting progress.

Happy editing and thanks for reading…


31 thoughts on “Romancing Your Novel With A Big-Picture Edit

  1. That’s really interesting. It’s great to see what all goes into writing a book and how you have to have all of those elements in a romance to make it work.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve always found it interesting to see what kind of formula an author has for writing. The Feedback App definitely sounds like a great tool to have on hand when writing.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. New to your blog, stopping by as part of #getsocial17 event.

    Very interesting post. I don’t think much about editing when I read, unless it was poorly edited! Having a book edited (a number of times) is so crucial to a solid book! Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

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