Jun 4, 2018

Plotting a Romance Series

Hi Everyone!

I'm currently at a writer's retreat in the Southern Highlands. This is me trying to blend in with the artwork. There are five of us here, and we're all working on our stories, with lots of tapping on keyboards, brainstorming, chocolate and ... wine.

The story I'm studiously working on is the last of the Harlequin Nocturne Shadow Breeds series. This story features a series favourite, Dave Carter, the tattoo artist witch, and a new character, Sully Timmerman. Dave the tattoo artist has made an appearance in every single Shadow Breeds novel, and readers have been asking for more of him, so I thought it was fitting to give him his own story as this last installment - and let me give you a hint: there are lots of fireworks.

While this is the last book of the current series, I won't be completely shutting the door on the Shadow Breeds. I've loved these characters, the settings, and the whole Shadow Breeds universe--and from the lovely emails I've received from readers, you have too, and so there may be an option to visit some of the characters, especially those whom readers have enquired about, and want to see in their own novel. Keep those emails coming - I LOVE getting them (contact me @ shannoncurtis.com  - no spaces).

But this brings up a wonderful new challenge - what to write next??! Readers at an Australian Romance Readers Association event have put in a request for a romantic suspense, and - well, I can't just write one, I love me a series...

So, I'm asking you all - what do YOU want to read in this new series? Leave a comment below, and if it's at ALL possible, I will work it into the novels. If I use your suggestion, I will contact you to let you know, list you in the acknowledgments of that book, and send you a copy of the book upon publication. This is YOUR chance to let me know what you want to read in a book.

Some questions to get the plotstorming going:

  • What are some physical descriptions/characteristics/traits you like to see in a character (hero/heroine/villain)?
  • What kind of settings would you like to see in a book/series?
  • What kind of jobs would you like hero/heroine to hold?
  • What kind of flaws would you like to see your main characters struggle with/overcome?
  • What kind of tropes would you like to read? E.g.; death/inheritance, natural disaster, kidnapping, stalking, spy/secret agent, cyber, small town, corporate espionage, amnesia, forced proximity, marriage of convenience, bodyguards, etc.

Nothing is too far out there, nothing is boring/mundane. Let me know: What do YOU want to read in a romantic suspense series? I really, REALLY want to know!

Over the next few months, I'll take the suggestions and share some of the plotting adventures/misadventures as we develop this series. Bring it on, readers!


  1. Forget the physical descriptions. They can (and should be) seeded in. I want rom. sus. that MAKES SENSE. Don't insult the reader.

  2. Thanks for sharing, Vonnie! Much appreciated.

  3. Ooh, I can't wait to see what your readers choose, Shannon --what fun! :-) (As for me, I'm always partial to a 'fish out of water' story in romantic suspense).

    I hope you're having a ball on your writer's retreat!

    1. A fish out of water, huh? I love those, with the surprises and the comedy that can come out of it. Right, that's on the list!

  4. This is going to be lots of fun :)

    I like a strong good looking hero who has a sense of humour a little arrogant until the heroine knocks it out of him

    Settings big city or small country town I like either

    Hero Cop/ Detective Heroine nurse/ Journalist ??

    A fear of falling in love getting too close to anyone because of a past hurt or family life

    Kidnapping maybe mistaken identity uncovering a new medical break through if nurse/ or uncovering major terrorist plot if journalists are involved.

    You have some great ideas up already :)

    Enjoy your retreat

    Have Fun


    1. These are awesome, Helen! I'm adding them to the list. Thanks so much for the suggestions!

  5. I love a strong, silent, nerdy beta hero who saves the day. Maybe with some comedy, and geek stuff. Rampaging alphas aren’t my thing.

    1. I've always wanted to write a beta hero! They're tricky, but I'll give it a go!
      Thanks, Malvina!

  6. I like a couple who is not too good looking but the hero could have big blue twinkling eyes --set in a small country town --he could be a small farm owner she could be a returning old flame---happy writing---Lynw

    1. Thanks, Lyn, these are great! I'll add these to the list!

  7. Great blog, Shannon, and I'm liking the answers coming in. it will be interesting to see where you go with these.

  8. Sounds like lots of great ideas will be coming out of your writer's retreat, Shannon! Add ideas from readers (aren't Helen's good!) and I reckon you'll have your series stitched up!