by Evan Yeong
All entertainment provides some form of escapism, but fans of romance know this far better than most. There’s nothing quite like curling up with a Harlequin paperback and forgetting the world, if only for a few moments. In times like these, that feels more necessary than it’s ever been.
I read through every one of your wonderful Writing Challenge suggestions, and a good number of them will likely make an appearance in the near future, but what I wanted to focus on for this upcoming weekend is that concept of getting away from it all.
In a romantic scene of 400 words or less I want you to take me (and my fellow editors) somewhere else! Unlike many of my past prompts, this is more about establishing a mood or a feeling. It doesn’t matter what era your submission takes place in, or who your leads are, or the circumstances of the scene, but the purpose of this Challenge is for you to transport your reader to a different time and place. You have a lot of freedom to work with here, which is only appropriate.
Just as a heads-up, try to steer clear of references to our reality! It doesn’t matter if your submission focuses on a tropical island getaway or a lovely picnic in the park, but reminders of the present situation probably won’t be winning, which leads me to my exciting announcement…
The Editors’ Choice Top 3 are back! That’s right, of the however many submissions we receive, a chosen three will once again be selected and given the honour of being our winners! Just be sure to have yours in by this upcoming Sunday evening at 11:59 PM EST at the latest. Then tune back in sometime the following afternoon to see if you won!
To wrap things up, I just wanted to let everyone know that we will be scaling back just a bit on updates here. I’m not going anywhere, and these Writing Challenges will continue, but other posts will be a little less frequent. That being said, I’m really grateful that I’ve been able to become a part of this community over the past several months.
In spite of the fact that I’ve been sequestered in my apartment for x number of days now, it really does help knowing that you’re all out there and (hopefully) doing the same. Stay healthy and stay safe, and see you all back here Monday!
UPDATE: This week we received a grand total of 31 eligible submissions, and it was a tall order trying to determine which of them grabbed us most and made us forget about the world, if only for a little while.
After some deliberation, we finally decided on our Editors’ Choice Top 3, and I’ve provided a bit more editorial feedback for each as a bonus!
In First Place is Nikki Hunter, whose scene not only included an outlandish scenario, but framed it in the funniest way possible. A solid joke is an easy way to grab readers’ attention. Peppering humour throughout your work is a difficult, but ultimately worthwhile endeavour, provided that you don’t forget to maintain that undercurrent of attraction between your two leads. This entry does both effortlessly.
Eilidh Lawrence took Second Place, and the editors on a journey to far-off Scotland. Setting your story somewhere new and unfamiliar is a fantastic way to play up the escapism of your romance, and having the hero and heroine be from abroad and right there, respectively, is an immediately engrossing dynamic. The banter here between the two leads is also masterfully done.
And finally, in Third Place is Kaelin. There’s a similar tactic here with the submission’s gorgeous seaside setting, and I want to focus on the conflict presented in addition to the excellent imagery. We’re instantly drawn into the heroine’s’s issues, which can help us forget our own, and are allowed a reprieve when the hero suddenly shows his face. I wanted to know more!
Thank you so much for participating, and we hope you’ll be back for our next Writing Challenge! Until then, turn back in again on Wednesday for a Call Story that I’m particularly excited about!