Romancing the Beat Review
Romancing the Beat came at the perfect time in my life. See, I am a moron to love. I’ll be the first to admit it. I’ve never been in love, never looked at someone with those soulful eyes and that warm glow in my heart that they’re the person I want to be with for the rest of my life. Nah.
It hasn’t happened for me.
However, I do find that I’m still a hopeless romantic at heart. I will never give up on the idea of love no matter how many frogs I’ve been out with . . . and there’s been a quite a few.
All this to say— Romance. I crave it. I love it. And I have no idea how to write it.
My last book turned out to be a romance. I did not intend this and, boy— it sucked.
So much so, we might as well call it an anti-romance.
There was no character development. No tension. No singular moment where you fought for the characters to be together. Nothing.
Sullen and defeated, I resolved to never write a romance ever again, as long as I lived.
And I didn’t.
For about ten minutes.
Still lost and now frenzied on the idea of a new novel, it became apparent that I needed help. Well, a few clicks later to my writing group and I discovered this little beauty.
Romancing the Beat by Gwen Hayes:
How to Write Kissing Novels.
I’ll tell you, the title sold me. I want to write kissing novels. I want to write novels with so much sexual tension that when my Hero and Heroine accidentally touch pinkies, my readers get that little knot in their stomach. You know what I’m talking about. That little rush in your chest. Your breath hitches. A flush rises to your cheeks. I’m talking full blush baby. Over PINKIES.
I want the scene in Leah Bardugo’s Six of Crows where two characters barely look in each others eyes and you have to close the book to compose yourself because it’s just. So. Good.
And I’m not talking sex here. I’m talking intimacy. Raw. Unadulterated. Soul baring. Intimacy.
Well, that’s a the goal anyways. I’m probably a few years off from that, but a girl can dream, right?
Now let’s get to the review.
The Art of Romancing the Beat.
Gwen Hayes really made this book useable for anyone.
Even if romance isn't the main plot of your book, and it just kind of sprinkles into your story, I’d still give it a read.
She makes a point that this book should be used for short stories, but with some finagling you can braid the beats into a longer more complicated story. Whew. That was good news for me.
So really this is for everyone. Short story writers, novels, novels, epic novels . . . I’d even argue scripts could get a lot out of this. How much different can writing a script be than writing a novel? Go ahead. LAUGH at my ignorance.
The only thing I would be interested to see is how these beats would play out in a sequel. I think it could work though. Hang on let me wrap my brain around that one a little longer.
Annnnd . . . okay. Got it. Yeah, I think it could work.
How Fun was this read?
If you’re like me, reading is inherently stressful. I know, I know. “Kate you’re a writer, you should love reading.”
Well, fool me into thinking I’m not reading and I would, but how many novels actually do that now a days? Huh? HUH? I’ll wait.
Anyways . . .
1. Gwen, if i can call her that, has a particular style to get used to. It’s fun, don’t get me wrong, but there’s a learning curve that comes with reading it. Probably like with this blog . . . *pauses for self reflection*
2. She makes a point that this book is just a guide and not the end all be all to kissing book writing . . . and I wish it were the end all be all. See, I’m not looking for a two hundred page novel, but there could have been more detail for the beats. Something that could help you understand everything just a little bit more.
Plus, some of the language was confusing, vague, and seemingly not put together as well as other parts of the book.
But it was 81 pages and I’ll do anything to not read a 300 page book on writing. This alone gets it an extra star.
Now, was the vague-ness apart of the draw? Maybe. I don’t think this book is intended to be a strict guide on writing a romance novel. I think it’s really a romance novel outline template which is just that. A template. She even mentions during the book that there’s room for mixing the beats up in different orders, putting more emphasis where you need to and so on. So . . . Maybe the vague-ness was apart of it? Maybe? Eh. I’ll go with it.
Either way, I’m giving it 4/5 stars for being a fun read.
Was it Helpful?
I was lost before this book. Alone, downtrodden, broken by the realization that I spent six month writing a bad book. And then this baby came along and showed me the formula.
Gwen told me the secret to romance novels.
Are you read to hear it?
Two steps forward and one step back.
You’d think I would have known this, but in my last novel my character was already in love with him by the Fun and Games portion with nothing holding her back. Tension, honey. That’s the goal.
Below is a Beat Sheet PDF if you want to see everything I learned, but I won’t put it outright in the blog. We aren’t here to violate copy rights . . . well, most of the time anyways.
All in all, I genuinely think that outlining my book to these beats helped a ton. I won’t know until my beta readers give me a clue, but I think I’ve got a compelling story on my hands. Uh— maybe.
The only reason I’m not giving it a 5/5 stars is because it was vague in some parts and I really had to stretch this petite goldfish brain to figure it all out. Other people who are more inclined to reading writing-how-to books might take to it like a fish, but I am not one of these people.
I like my books simple and short. And cheap, but we’ll get to that in the next section.
4/5 stars for helpfulness. Good job Gwen!
Was it Worth the Price?
It was $10 for an 81 page book plus the appendix . . . but yeah. If you can get your hands on this one, please do. If you’re falling short, it’ll help, and if you’re already doing it right, you’ll get a little pep in your step. $10 well spent in my opinion.
Romancing the Beat Summary
Rad book. Rad lady. Personal rating? 5/5
Ready to hear a review over something I hated with such a fervent passion that my mother banned me from ever reading this book again in her presence? Stay tuned for more reviews!
And if you want a quick outline of the book, here it is!
Aight, Stay sauce my weird, little, alien humanoids.
XOXO - Kate