12 Point Guide - Fourth Edition
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12-Point Guide to Writing Romance


I’ve revised and republished my award-winning how to write guide – Kate Walker’s 12 Point Guide To Writing Romance.

Of course this has been on sale for some years now and I’ve lost count of the number of people who have written to me to say how much it has helped them on the road towards publication as a romance novelist. But the previous editions had really unsatisfactory distribution and the paperback edition was way too expensive for many people. So I’ve revised and updated the book – and relaunched a new ebook edition on Kindle. This is now available on Amazon – for only $3.99 (£s;2.45 ) on Amazon. It also has a fabulous new cover design.

If you prefer a print edition, there is a print version of this edition available — and at a lower cost than the original paperback edition. The new paperback edition costs £9.99 or $13.55.

I’m really hoping that a lot more people will be helped by this book as they set out on their road towards publication.

In the past, the 12 Point Guide has had some fantastic reviews – take a look at these:

This book is a must-have for any aspiring romantic fiction writer. Everything you want to know/understand about romantic fiction is covered right here. Brilliant. You can tell that Kate Walker knows her romantic fiction inside out. A page turner all on its own.

Michelle Reid (Mills & Boon Modern/Harlequin Presents)

Kate Walker has come up with another keeper. Her 12-Point Guide to Writing Romance is clear, comprehensive and practical and jam-packed full of the kind of inside information it would take a stack of rejection/revision letters to learn the hard way. The checklists are wonderful for any writer published or yet to be.

A fabulous resource, almost like having the multi published Kate sitting alongside sharing her experience and wisdom with you as you write.

If you write romance, do yourself a favour and get this book. You won't be disappointed.

Trish Morey (Mills & Boon Modern Romance/Harlequin Presents)

Kate is a wonderful and inspirational teacher and her wisdom shines through in this incredibly useful book.

Julie Cohen (Author of Dear Thing etc for Random House and Creative Writing tutor)

What a wonderful resource for not only novice writers, but for those of us who have a few books under our belts. Reading about the craft, about why we do what we do, about what makes a story work...it helped invigorate my current book. Kate has such an easy way, a gift of explaining what's what. From finding your voice, to plot, to characters...it's all there!

Holly Jacobs (Harlequin Superromance)

I regularly recommend the Twelve Point Guide to Writing Romance to my Creative Writing Students. I'm glad to say, they all agree it is one of the most helpful books they've read on writing and works for all types of fiction. I think writers from beginners to experienced writers get solid practical advice from this book which is both clear, logical and jargon-free and as one of my more down-to-earth male students said, 'makes you actually get on and write.’

Dr Karen Maitland (Creative Writing Tutor, Adult Education and author of Company of Liars, The Gallows Curse etc)

Review for the 12-Point Guide to Writing Romance Second Edition

Vince Mooney, Posted on the eHarlequin.com Community Boards

“Kate Walker’s 12 Point Guide to Writing Romance”

Is Probably:

  • The Best Single Book on Writing Romance
  • The Best Single Textbook For Teaching Romance Writing
  • The Most Useful Book for Published Romance Writers

I must say to start that I’ve taken a very long time to read “Kate Walker’s 12 Point Guide to Writing Romance”. That’s because I can only read large type. I’ve had to read this book very slowly using a magnifying glass. If the book wasn’t so consistently excellent, there is no way I would have finished it. Incidentally, I found it very educational to read a book so closely. It’s like inspecting a house brick by brick.

This is not a typical fan review. It is a professional review. I have been writing nonfiction for thirty years. I’ve written and edited manuals, created correspondence courses, and taught advertising copywriting in college. I run a real estate school so I know the crucial importance of having a good manual for each course you teach. I am also working on a book about the romance genre and have read at least 40 romance writing books during my research. (Some of the best are listed below.)

I found “Kate Walker’s 12 Point Guide to Writing Romance to be unique among the many romance writing books that I’ve read. It is exceptionally well suited for three different purposes.

First, if you were only going to read one romance writing book—to teach yourself how to write at home—this book offers the best coverage. It features many examples, checklists, questions, and, where appropriate, it offers other romance novels that provide additional examples on the romance writing concepts being discussed.

Even more important Kate Walker, like all good teachers, is always pointing out what something being taught does not mean. Knowing what something does not mean is very important to a successful learning experience.

My biggest problem teaching adults happens when the student thinks he or she already knows what you are trying to teach. These students close their minds and fail to learn. For example, almost every student “knows” that the mortgagor is the lender and they are wrong. The lender is the mortgagee. Almost every student “knows” that the broker representing the seller is the selling broker. But they are wrong, he’s the listing broker. The “selling broker” represents the buyer. As Will Rogers once said, "It's what we know that ain’t so that gets us in trouble.”) It is very hard to undue what people “know that isn’t so”.

Kate Walker not only states what a romance term or concept means, she also points out what it does not mean. This is invaluable if you are learning at home without a teacher. It is also invaluable for an inexperienced teacher as it provides excellent talking points to go over in class.

Let me give you an example from the book found in chapter 2 on “Emotion”. After stating what “emotional punch” is, the author goes on to demonstrate what the term does not mean.It does not mean, “just arguing or shouting,” “endless crying,” “wallowing in self-pity,” “it is not manipulative,” “it is not just sentiment” or “cliché”, and so on. This “house cleaning”, as I call it, goes on for pages. Teachers should love this book.

Chapters include: Emotion, Conflict, Dialogue, Focus, Sensuality, Passion, Heroes, Heroines, Characterization and Heroines, Plotting, The Question “Why”?, The Intense Black Moment, The Believable Happy Ending, Practicalities, and From the Author’s Desks (advice from other romance authors). In other words, you are getting the full package here. The book is 265 pages long.

Second: as good as “Kate Walker’s 12 Point Guide to Writing Romance”, is for self-teaching the material, I found it excels as a textbook. I know how important a good manual is to making a teacher’s job easier. An exceptional manual allows the teacher to teach “from the overflow” which greatly enriches the material and makes for a more enjoyable student experience. With a weak manual this valuable time has to be spent doing the job the manual should have done.

I would love to teach from “Kate Walker’s 12 Point Guide to Writing Romance”. The text is very reader friendly. Kate Walker knows how to communicate. The way she wrote this book is going to change the way I write my manuals and courses.

The chapters fully cover the writing concept being taught. Then there is a 12 point checklist covering how you should implement the concepts in your actual writing. Then there are suggested writing exercises and assignments.

Third: experienced writers will find the writing checklists on various topics very useful. There is a saying in advertising copywriting that “professionals do not have to be taught but they do have to be reminded”. I was a very experienced copywriter and taught copywriting in college but I still always used a 500+ item checklist for improving a direct marketing promotional package. Everything we learned from testing direct mail pieces was incorporated in that list. Even the people with the vast experience needed to create the list, used the list.

Kate Walker has many of these checklists. If I were writing a romance novel, I would type all these checklists into a Word document. When I finished writing a chapter (and it was still fresh in my mind), I would run through the applicable checklists as a critique of my work. If I was lacking in an area I could immediately act to improve it. This would be a little like having an experienced editor always available to provide assistance.

Here is a sample of the checklists. Each features 12 questions:

  • Emotional punch
    1. Have I allowed time for my characters to explore their feelings? (11 more follow.)
  • Conflict
    1. Have I a conflict over which is truly worth being at odds? Is it one that really matters? (11 more follow).
  • Dialogue – all the below topics also have 12 item checklists for good writing.
  • Focus
  • Sensuality
  • Passion
  • Heroes
  • Heroines
  • Plotting
  • The Question “Why”
  • The Intense “Black Moment"
  • The Happy Ending

I haven’t read any other romance writing book that I thought would be so useful to a professional writer on an ongoing daily basis.

Unlike some textbooks, “Kate Walker’s 12 Point Guide to Writing Romance”, is written by someone who actually knows how to write. I’ve been reading Kate Walker romances while I’ve been reading this book. This allowed me to observe how well she practices what she teaches. Her own books are the best testimony to her teaching methods and knowledge of the romance novel.


If you are going to teach a class on romance writing, you should get a copy of this book before you select a textbook. I have not read another text that does a better job from both the teacher’s POV and the student’s POV.

If you are a home study student who is learning to write romances on your own, this is the key book to read. However, if you are teaching yourself, you really should read many romance writing books. I also strongly recommend that you read "Dangerous Men & Adventurous Women: Romance Writers on the Appeal of the Romance", Krentz and "Writing Romances: A Handbook by the Romance Writers of America" by Romance Writers of America (Organization), Rita Gallagher, and Rita Clay Estrada. Plus as many more as you have time to read. It won’t hurt to read them all.

If you already are a romance author or a mainstream author thinking of writing a category romance, this book is worth the price just to get the writing checklists.

Vince Mooney runs his own real estate school in Oklahoma, he also teaches and writes training manuals.


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