Editing Romantic Suspense

Editing Romantic Suspense
March 27, 2017 No Comments » Editing, For Authors, Writing Advice Nancy E Miller

The general editing rules apply for all fiction genres, but they all have certain expectations specific to them.  Romantic Suspense is no different.

If you write Romantic Suspense, make sure you find an editor who is familiar with the genre.  I did not check that on my first venture and was horribly disappointed and duped. 

Do your own research so that you are aware of what a good editor will look for and then check your manuscript to see if you have addressed the issues.  If you haven’t, then you will have a good head’s up on where you need to self-edit before submitting.

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It’s all about research and putting what you learn into action. A good writer will put as much enthusiasm into researching general writing and genre as they do the particular aspects of their locale or character.

So what are the peculiarities in this genre? First, there are two distinct and different plot lines which must work together.  Romance and Suspense.  To that end, tone and tension must be established early and, in both cases, escalate without causing sensory overload for the reader.  You want them to keep turning pages, not close the book.

Don’t try to explain everything at once. Let the plot evolve slowly but with the ever-present danger driving it on. The stakes must remain high and the protagonist threatened. 

Give the reader a Protagonist they can respect and care about.  The Antagonist must be a worthy opponent, even if the reader doesn’t know who it is yet. Characters must have their own moral code. The Antagonist may be a serial murderer but be an avid animal rights advocate.

Psychology plays a major role in the genre. While realism should be respected, most of the story exists in the mind. Conflict is a must on both fronts. While Romantic Suspense must end in Happily Ever After, it is never a clear and even path. Worry and angst must exist, especially in the suspense, yet there is a glimmer of hope.

The writer plucks at the heartstrings while the gut churns with anxiety and the mind tries to determine the best course of action.  Kind of sounds like what we go through writing it.  And it should. If the writer doesn’t feel a visceral response to the work then the reader won’t.  If the love scenes don’t get you hot and bothered, if the threat of impending doom doesn’t give your goosebumps, you might want to rethink the scenes.

Provide your reader with a solid ending and a sense of closure.  I’m currently thinking of a three book story based on a new character.  Can I give each book a sense of closure and still have a continuation in the next book? Not sure. But I’m working on it.

There are many internet sources which deal with the specifics of each genre. I highly recommend researching self-editing (OurWriteSide.com has the whole month of March dedicated to it),



Nancy E Miller Nancy E. Miller, romantic suspense author of Shark Bait and Crystal Unicorns, lives near St. Louis with her husband and three dogs, pygmy goats, chickens and a cranky rooster named Ketchup. Her degree is in Psychology and Sociology. She has worked in education and mental health as a case manager and crisis counselor.

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