Guest post: Lucy Morris, A Nun For The Viking Warrior

A Nun For The Viking Warrior

Forced to wed the warrior

Falling for the man…

Noblewoman Amée Évreaux had pledged her life to God, until her father promised her in marriage to thundering Norseman, Jorund Jötunnson. After escaping her overbearing father, Amée vows never to fall under another man’s thumb, but her resistance to being Jorund’s wife turns to desire as she gets to know her intriguing new husband. For beneath his fierce exterior she’s glimpsed an unexpectedly pure heart. If only she can penetrate the fortress that surrounds it…

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Guest post: How to Edit your novel

Firstly, let me explain that there is no right way to edit. As there is no ‘right’ way to write a book. However, I’ve read countless online articles, books and tips on editing. So, I hope my advice can help you. I’ve written this with historical romance writers in mind, but I’m sure any author would find at least a couple of these tips helpful.

  1. The messy first draft needs a structural edit.

My first draft is always a hot mess. I write an outline to start with, but it’s usually very basic. For example, with ‘A Nun for the Viking Warrior’, I had the idea to write about a Viking beating down the doors of a nunnery to claim his woman. I knew from past research that ladies in Frankia were married to Norse men. This was done to cement the invaders new position as overlords of Northmannia (Modern day Normandy). I then wrote a brief description of my character and their backgrounds.
The key thing to remember when writing any romance is CONFLICT. Both the external (plot) and internal (personal problems) that are keeping our characters apart. My first structural edit is when I look through my hot mess and try to pull it into a cohesive order that reflects my characters journey both internally and externally to reach their ‘Happily Ever After’. The internal struggle is usually the area that needs the most work. Characters are on a personal journey, and this journey needs to reflect the plot, personal growth and a romantic arc.

  • Chapter by Chapter, pace yourself.

If you haven’t already done this, your book needs to be broken down into chapters. I try to do this as I write. But even so, I’m usually left with some huge chapters and others with barely anything in. I also write dual point of view. So, I make sure this is reasonably balanced, with no one character hogging all of the limelight. To do this I check the word count and POV of each character within each chapter. Then I redress the balance while also keeping in mind the story and character arcs to ensure these flow better from chapter to chapter.

  • Line by Line.

By now I have a reasonably looking book! But I go through chapter by chapter to check it reads well and there’s a good balance of action, dialogue and internal thought. This is also where I smooth out my prose. So, it reads clearly but is also full of atmosphere and setting. Bonus tip! If you feel like your getting bogged down by the story and rewriting the same early chapters, try ‘reading’ the book from the last chapter to the first. This is great during a line edit as you get to see if your earlier structural edit has worked or if it needs further tweaking.

  • Facts and Timelines.

If there’s any bits I’ve highlighted for historical research while writing my draft I take the time now to check them e.g. ‘he takes his boots off’ (do they have buttons or ties?). This is where I go into detail to check my facts, settings and the order of events. It’s helpful to research the area and timeline before you write the book. As you may find you have the wrong King or characters in a town that doesn’t exist for another two years…or one hundred years. I also write a timeline of the action, and check it e.g. ‘How long does it take to sail to the UK from Francia…how long did it take my characters?’. I sometimes do this on a sheet of A4 with a horizontal line marking all key points in the story and any mentions of time passing while I write the first draft but it’s not always necessary.

  • Word searches and deja vu!

My final check is to search for crutch words, these are words that are added in by writers but may not be necessary and can actually distract the reader. You may even spot my overuse of crutch words in this article. Try removing your crutch words from your prose and you’ll see you don’t lose impact or meaning. Here’s a few of my crutch words: Actually, that, just, sometimes, fairly.  Over time you might even start to automatically edit them from your writing.

Repetition is also a problem you need to fix. While editing I reduce the amount of repeated words and phrases — especially when they’re on the same page! Hopefully make my writing more concise and interesting.

All done! I then send it to my editor, and depending on how well I’ve followed this process I get either one or seven pages of notes from my editor to improve the manuscript further, before it goes on to the copy editor and final line edit.

I hope this helps, and happy writing!

About Lucy

As a little girl, Lucy Morris was obsessed with myths and legends. She regularly escaped into the adventures of her imagination, with characters who were strong and fierce. Now fully grown she finds she can’t forget the stories plaguing her mind and has to write them down. A book by Lucy Morris will sweep you away on a historical adventure filled with vivid characters haunted by their pasts. Her books will have you flying through her pages, desperate to reach her characters passionately romantic happily ever after.

She lives in Essex, UK, with her husband, two young children, and two cats. She has a massively sweet tooth and loves gin, bubbly and Irn-Bru. A member of the UK Romantic Novelists’ Association, she was delighted in 2020 to accept a two-book deal with Harlequin after submitting her story to the Warriors Wanted submission blitz for Viking, Medieval, and Highlander romances.

Writing for Harlequin Historical is a dream come true for her and she hopes you enjoy her books!

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