“There is going to be a happy ending,” says romance editor, Jessica Swift. Learn more about working in this genre as I revisit the topic of editing romance novels, in my post today at Copyediting. Lucky for you, dear reader, I saved the juiciest bits to post here.
You should think of working in this genre “if you’re an editor who doesn’t embarrass easily,” says Swift. And if you’re “comfortable querying something like, ‘Consider slowing down the anal sex scene to allow for a more organic experience. As it is now, the scene reads too quickly and feels rushed and unlikely.’ Or, ‘It doesn’t seem feasible that (heroine) could comfortably give oral sex on her knees while she and (hero) are overlooking a vista from a rocky mountaintop. Consider a different position or perhaps someone brings a blanket.’ Then,” she says, “by all means, go for it!”
Realism is a concern in any genre, but Paximadis says “you can allow a bit of leeway with physics for dramatic/romantic effect — the hero probably couldn’t “really” reach over and pull the heroine over on top of him the driver’s seat of his Volkswagen and have room for clothes to be effortlessly discarded and [allow] things to get physical in that space in real life. But you do have to have a bit of a . . . vivid imagination to make sure that as the action progresses, what’s being described is in the realm of possibility, given the characters’ relative positions. And you always have to keep an eye out for what my fellow editor Amy Schneider calls “the third breast”—keep track of all the body parts and what is where at any given time, and make sure there aren’t any extra bits.
Thanks to these veteran editors for providing their insights:
- Jacquie Doucette, a fiction editor operating as Expert Proofing
- Lori Paximadis, an editor and production specialist operating Pax Studio
- Jessica Swift of Swift Ink Editorial Services, who provides editorial services to writers of all genres