This book did not come recommended to me, but it showed up in the Amazon algorithm and the price for a hardcopy version was more than reasonable. After reading it, I’m glad that I did not spend more than I did. Overall, the text could have benefited from an editorial review by someone experienced in nonfiction/technical editing for structure and organization. The tone of the text also varied from helpfully instructional to awkwardly cheerleading.

One thing this book did well was presenting the Four Act/Eight Sequence story structure, with inciting incident and turning points, specifically in the context of a romance arc. Harrington also deconstructs one of her books to show the beats of each sequence in a “live” example. I also appreciated the guidance on specific questions to consider when developing characters, since romance plots are specifically character-driven.

Be warned that this craft book is NOT gender-neutral when it comes to the two main romance protagonists. Harrington encourages writers to specifically start with the heroine and then craft the hero as an intentional foil. This shows the author’s bias in her experience with specific romance markets, and the information could easily have been converted to crafting two protagonists of any gender.

Some good information can be found here, especially in the context of intentional plotting for writers who are generally allergic to the concept, but I’m not sure how helpful it would have been if I didn’t already have a solid grasp on story structure. Take advantage of the “Look Inside” feature before deciding whether this craft book will be helpful to you.

Rating: 3.5 (out of 5) stars
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