Monday, August 29, 2016

Harlequin Online Reads

A couple weeks ago my agent contacted me with a question.  Would I be interested in writing a Harlequin Online Read?

Well, being the sure -why not? type, I said, "Yes, of course.  I'd love to write an online read!"

So we chatted for a bit and she hustled off to deliver my yes to the Harlequin editors, and I got off the phone and called my husband to tell him the good news.  And being the practical type, he asked what, exactly, was an online read?

That was the moment when it occurred to me that I really had no idea what I'd agreed to.  I'd never read one of the online reads!  My agent had mentioned that the story could only be ten thousand words.  The only stories I've ever written have had to be pared down to fit the eighty thousand word limit.  Unease quickly replaced my original enthusiasm.   How in the world was wordy-me going to write such a short story?

So I went onto the Harlequin website and clicked the menu bar for Online Reads.  And after skimming a few pages of the first story, I wondered why I'd never given the online reads a try before.  They are fun!  Most have twenty tiny chapters, which remind me a bit of scenes from a play.  We might be in the heroine's point of view for the first scene, and then the hero's in the next.  The plot zooms along quickly, but because my fellow Harlequin authors are so talented, the writing still evokes a lot of emotion and ambiance.

I skipped to the stories I could find by my fellow Superromance authors.  I found stories by Jeannie Watt,  Nicole Helm, and Geri Krotow.  And I was impressed with how, even writing in such a short format, they still sounded like themselves.  In each story, the 'author voice' is still there.  And even using so few words, they still quickly gave me a sense of their characters and made me care about them.

After reading their online reads, my concerns have evolved from how to write such a short story? to how to write such a short story as well as the authors who've already done it?  As always, my fellow Harlequin writers inspire me to write the best story I possibly can.

I know that, with my amazing editor's help, I'll figure out how to write my online read.  And hopefully the story will come out as well as Nicole's and Jeannie's and Geri's and all of the other wonderful stories already available.  My story will be published at the end of December or the beginning of January.  I'll let you know when it goes up on the website, so you can see how it turned out.

And meanwhile, if you haven't already, take a look at the Harlequin Online Reads.  They really are lovely short stories.

Have you read any of the online reads?  Could you recommend one you particularly enjoyed?

And thanks for joining me on the blog today!


Unknown said...

Wow - I didn't even know those existed! I know what you mean about word counts. It's torture for me to write a book with "only" 80,000 words. But these look like a lot of fun, and I now have a new "miniature" TBR list!

dstoutholcomb said...

I've read a few over the years.

Claire McEwen said...

Thanks for your comments! Jo, aren't they sweet? I'm having fun going through them, though now I need to get serious and actually write one of my own! ;-)

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