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Writing Short – How to Create an Entire Romance Story in Five Thousand Words

by on January 27, 2013

A visit from Laura Breck-

Thank you to the Luscious Literaries for hosting me today! As I work through the final galleys of an amazing seventeen-author anthology, I am amazed to reread the amazing short stories created by my chapter sisters and brother at Midwest Fiction Writers.

So many authors say, “I can’t write short.” It’s a challenge for most writers, but a great learning experience as well. I typically take about one hundred and twenty thousand words to tell a story. In this anthology, I was limited to five thousand. (I did go a bit over the maximum, but so did many of the authors.)

To write an entire romance in such a tight space, I needed to pinpoint a short moment in time and pack it full of action, emotion, sensual tension, and flash characterization. No time for my heroine, Liz Darlington, to stare off across the lake in contemplation of her competition, the gorgeous bait shop owner JT Renton.

There was no room, word-wise, for a subplot describing how Liz’s business model for her new store, Bobbers ‘N Bait, attracted negative attention. And no detailed backstory on the characters to slow the pace of the book.

Surprisingly, I found that I like writing short. A few of the other authors expressed similar sentiments as they submitted their work. It’s incredible to imagine what else in our lives we say we can’t do and never try. For me, it was a life lesson, compacted in a fun little romance story.

What’s one thing in your life that you tell yourself you can’t do, but desperately want to? Leave a comment for a chance to win an e-copy of my long, long, long contemporary romance, Dancing in a Hurricane.

MFW Anthology Cover 200x300

Excerpt from Bobbers ‘N Bait: Liz dropped her head for a second. This must be the guy who owned Renton Outfitters, their only competition on this side of the lake. Darn. She thought he was some conservative fanatic upon which she could unleash her mightiest verbal barbs and then never have to see again.

But, no. He was a neighbor. A business owner. Her direct competition.

“Can we start over?” She held out her hand. “I’m Liz Darlington.”

He eyed her hand as if it might easily turn into a snake. After a second he took it in his.

In his big, strong, hot hand. The tingle of awareness rippled up her arm and into her chest. A little shiver of delight brought goosebumps to her skin.

“JT Renton.” His voice rolled low and sexy.

She’d noticed the tenting in the front of his shorts earlier, but nearly three-fourths of the men who came in today had the same reaction. As Nikki said, The less blood in the brain, the better our sales are going to be. A marketing genius.

“JT.” She took back her hand. “I apologize for going all God Bless America on you. I didn’t realize why you were here.”

He nodded. “I wanted to check out the competition. I had no idea your open house would create such a stir.”

She smiled. “We’re all about stirring.”

A corner of his mouth quirked up. “You are that.”


Learn more about the anthology, and sign up for the newsletter to receive the notice of the books release at Midwest Fiction Writers.

Don’t forget to leave a comment for a chance to win an e-copy of Dancing in a Hurricane.


All my best,


~Smart Women ~Sexy Men ~Seductive Romance

Dancing in a Hurricane is available in digital and paperback formats at Amazon and in paperback at Createspace


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  1. Love the excerpt, Laura! I can’t wait to read your story along with all the others. It was a fun challenge to write a short story. As far as what I can’t do but want to, the only thing that comes to mind is running a 5K. Seems silly but I’m out of shape. I’m hoping to change that and make it happen.

    • Laura Breck permalink

      A 5K is a great challenge, Jody. I’ll be cheering for you!

  2. Thanks for sharing Laura. I’m a big fan of short stories.

    • Laura Breck permalink

      Thanks for coming by the blog! I hope you enjoy the anthology.

  3. Hey, great excerpt, Laura! Looking forward to reading the whole thing! As for something I say I can’t do…well, write. Because every time I write a book and make it the best I can, I’m inevitably disappointed. It falls short of the vision, you know? But one thing I can do, & do well? Persist. 🙂 I just keep trying….

    • Laura Breck permalink

      You’re a great writer, Susan, and persistence is a fabulous quality.

  4. I am just starting a short fiction story. I am known for always writing but will try writing short stories now. I can’t fly planes but I desperately one to fly a plane some day

    • Laura Breck permalink

      Good luck with your new story, and I hope you’ll be flying planes soon!

  5. Mary Roya permalink

    It seems that I start a story and then can’t finish it. And I desperately want to finish a story. I have written two stories and have another rattling around in my head. So I decided to take some time off work (just a week) and see if I can finish one. Fingers crossed. Dancing in a Hurricane really caught my eye. Putting it on my list to be read. Keep writing so I can keep reading. Thanks

    • Laura Breck permalink

      Hi Mary, when I have trouble writing the next scene, I read the story just before I go to bed, and focus on it as I fall asleep. Let the subconscious take over. Sometimes a scene comes to me before I fall asleep, or I’ll dream about it, or wake with an idea. Wishing you much writing success!

  6. Awesome excerpt, Laura! I’m honored to have taken part in this anthology and can’t wait to read all the wonderful stories. I’m always looking for a way to be more productive in a day. I am such a sufferer of shiny object syndrome. I get tons done on a deadline, but I would love to be a little tiny bit less of a procrastina–Squirrel!!!

    • Laura Breck permalink

      Glad you liked the Excerpt, Lizbeth. I’ve read all the stories as the editor, but I’m excited to sit down with the paperback version and read them just for pleasure. Hmmm, shiny object syndrome – if we could just make the days longer!

  7. Fantastic excerpt! I loved hearing your takes on short stories as well.

    • Laura Breck permalink

      Thank you, it was a lot of fun to write.

  8. Laura Breck permalink

    Congratulations, valloryv! Using, you comment was chosen as the winner of an e-copy of Dancing in a Hurricane! Please contact me at on facebook to claim your prize, and let me know which format you’d like.

    Thank you all for stopping by and for commenting. Huge thanks to Luscious Literaries for letting me take over their blog.

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