Hey, y'all! Welcome the one and only Kimberly Lang — Modern Heat author, lunch buddy, chapter mate, and friend. Kimberly has very kindly agreed to write a couple of posts about Modern Heat and how they differ from Modern.
So you want to write that *other * kind of Presents – a Modern Heat.
Part 1 – It’s all about the attitude.
It’s great that Lynn asked me to do a couple of posts on writing for Modern Heat – after all, Lynn and I spend a lot of time debating the difference between a Modern and a Modern Heat. (Yes, all are released in the US as Presents, but in order to avoid confusion here, we’ll call them Modern and Modern Heat.)
I’ll start by echoing Lynn’s earlier advice… read the books. Decide if you love them. Only if you love them will you be able to write them. If you read all the Presents released every month, you’ll probably see that two of them are not quite like the others… there’s something different.
That “something different” is what makes a Modern Heat a Modern Heat. If that “something different” sparks your Muse, then maybe Modern Heat is the right place for you.
Everyone asks about the Modern Heat hero – and I’ll go into him in more depth next time – but to me, the tone and the attitude are what set us apart from the Moderns. The editorial guidelines describe it as “a flirty young voice and a whole load of sass!”
Say you meet a set of twins – equally pretty, equally charming, equally intelligent. One is quieter, more intense, and sees the world in dramatic, black and white terms. The other is sunnier, a bit bouncier, and dramatic in the sense she’s the president of the drama club. If you present the same situation to each of the sisters, they will react differently – because their personalities are different.
That’s the key to writing Modern Heat as opposed to a Modern. It’s not a matter of making your hero Alpha-light or giving your heroine a better job. You, as the author, have to approach those same themes and hooks from a different angle – a flirty, sassy angle.
If “Pride and Prejudice” is a Modern, “Emma” is a Modern Heat. Same themes, same hooks, same setting, same author — totally different tone.
Mr. Darcy and Mr. Knightly are both Alpha heroes, but the tone of the book affects how we perceive them and sets the stage for how they will react (and how those actions will be received by the other characters) in a situation.
The tone of a Modern Heat also affects the pacing of the novel as a whole. Modern Heats move. You can’t have that spunky, sparkly tone in a book that doesn’t move along at a fast clip. To pick a whole new image of fireworks (hey, it’s late at night, I’m doing the best I can), Moderns are Roman Candles, shooting up a steady stream of colorful explosions. Modern Heats are sparklers – flashy and hot and fast burning.
I know that’s probably not 100% clear, so I’ll go back to the beginning: read. Pop over to the Mills and Boon website – because it’s easier to tell the Moderns from the Modern Heats – and do a quick read of the first chapters they have there. Alternate between a Modern and a Modern Heat and see if you can identify that change in tone, that different attitude. (Lynn’s book is there in the August offerings and my new one is in the September listings – just a suggestion. 🙂 )
Tone and attitude mark the biggest difference between a Modern and a Modern Heat — and your characters, as we’ll talk about next time, have to match that tone and that attitude.
Questions so far? Comments?
(For a list of the Modern Heat authors and releases, visit www.sensationalromance.blogspot.com. We’re all listed there.)