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How to Write Romance During Chronic Illness Flares

Do you live with a chronic illness that flares just when you're finally hitting your romance writing stride?

Never fear. These tips will help you get words on the page and keep working toward your happily ever after no matter how you feel.

1. Use flare days for character development.

When symptoms flare, turn to easier tasks like character development, which focuses mostly on imagination, rather than the more demanding, organizational task of plotting. One way of developing your characters is to write down everything you know about them, from their ages to their emotional wounds and hair color. Another is to brainstorm how your characters would react to everyday situations.

For example, how would your hero react to finding out that the coffee he so depends on to start his morning is out of stock at his local grocery store? What would your heroine say to a catcaller? These situations might sound random, but imagining your characters in everyday situations can help you develop their voices, which makes writing dialogue much easier.

2. Scroll your way through romance novel world-building.

If you're a visual world-builder, browsing Pinterest or Google Images for pictures of scene and book settings related to your book can further develop your story, allowing you to more fully inhabit each scene that you write in your romance novel.

3. Make a character development playlist.

Using music as a vehicle for character development is an unorthodox but fun way to learn about the journey your characters will take throughout your story. For each beat related to their character development, you could choose a song that communicates their reaction to that beat. Or you could go more abstract and instead create a playlist that slowly evolves from one genre to a related one, representing the way your character grows into a better version of themself by the book's end.

I hope these tips make it easier for romance writers living with disabilities to get their inclusive romance novels out into the world, because we need and deserve them.


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