Romance and Garbage Cans

Writing a romance novel may sound easy, but there is a lot to figure out before sending your book to a publisher. Writers need to consider setting, characters, how to approach plot outlines – even which parts of their stories to trash.

In her book Writing Romance, Vanessa Grant, author of more than 30 romance novels, discusses a technique she uses to get herself away from a floundering storyline – it’s called the Garbage Can Test.

Test Can Help You Find the True Basis of Your Story, Says Author

Invented on the spot by Grant at a writer’s conference, the Garbage Can Test can be performed by pretending to throw your manuscript into the garbage, never to salvage it again. However, you are then able to pull one element of your story out of the garbage can: a character, a setting, whatever means the most to you.

Whatever element you pick out of the trash is the real basis of your story, says Grant; using that element, you can start your story over entirely and just let it write itself.

Grant reports that she used it on most of her novels, and that it has rarely failed to help her streamline ideas when creating her books.

From character development and plot flow, to romance subgenres and Garbage Can Tests — Writing Romance by Vanessa Grant covers all the basics for burgeoning romance novelists.

Vanessa Grant writing romance book cover Writing Romance is available from our Web store where you can preview chapters of the book and see the full table of contents.

Vanessa’s romance novels have sold over 30-million copies! Visit Vanessa’s website and learn more about her writing, the software she produces for writers, and her audio and live seminars and classes.

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