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My Top Five Favorite K-Dramas

Lola's Favorite K-drama

This is probably the most important post I’ll ever write and it’s VITAL that you follow my recommendations.

K-drama means Korean drama. They’re serialized TV shows that South Korea cranks out like hotcakes, and they are pure magic. Dramas come in a huge variety from historical to paranormal, but they share a few common features–the most important one being romance. Whatever else is going on, there’s always a cute, sweet love story. If you like reading romance, then you’re going to love watching K-dramas.

To enrich the lives of my readers, I’ve decided to share this list of (a few of) my favorite dramas. Enjoy, and I apologize in advance for all the hours of your life you’re about to spend binge-watching.

1. EXO Next Door

Top 5 K-Drama | EXO Next Door
The real estate is valuable on my favorites list, but I’m recommending EXO Next Door first so you can dip your toes into K-drama. The episodes are a manageable fifteen minutes each and the series hits all the right comedy and romance notes as a famous boy band drops into the heroine’s life.

Also, EXO. If I were currently 13, my bedroom would be plastered with EXO posters.

(just in case you’re curious…)

2. The Heirs

Top 5 K-Drama | The Heirs
The Heirs was a huge recent blockbusters with a cast of mega-stars. It’s basically Cinderella set in contemporary Seoul. You’re going to know exactly what ‘second male lead syndrome’ means after this. Just embrace the inevitability that you will fall in love with Kim Woo-Bin. (If you like it, try Boys Over Flowers)

Top 5 K-Drama | Kim Woo-Bin

I love you, Woo-Bin <3

3. Oh My Venus

Top 5 K-Drama | Oh My Venus
Another contemporary. Oh My Venus is a weight loss story, but the issue is treated in a way that doesn’t make me want to chuck my laptop–focusing on the heroine’s health instead of her exterior. I adore every person in this cast and the romance is totally adorable. Must. Watch.

4. Sungkyunkwan Scandal

Top 5 K-Drama | Sungkyunkwan Scandal
This one is a full-on historical w/ a gender-bender twist. The heroine disguises herself as a guy to survive, and ends up attending an all-male university. She’ll get executed if she’s caught, but her super-cute roommates/love interests aren’t going to let that happen. The male leads are so on point it’s ridiculous. (If you like it, try Rooftop Prince and Dae Jang Geum/Jewel in the Palace)

5. You’re Beautiful (on Netflix!)

Top 5 K-Drama | You're Beautiful
Contemporary gender-bender. This is one of the most popular K-drams of all time–so much so that it has Japanese and Taiwanese versions. The heroine is a nun in training who ends up joining a boy band posing as her twin brother, and if you can think of a better premise than that, I hope you’re writing screenplays in your spare time. (If you need more gender-benders, try Coffee Prince and To the Beautiful You)

That’s all (for now…) but I hope you try watching a few of these. OR if you’re already a K-drama pro, share your favs with me! Cheese in the Trap and Descendants of the Sun are next on my to-watch list, which I will get to the next time I’m not in write mode… So maybe ten years from now ; __ ;

Writing a Romance Novella

Writing the Romance Novella

A long, long time ago (I can still remember) I wrote about the joy of writing novellas. I’ve done a lot more novella writing since then, and now seems like a good time to share a few tips specific to the romance novella (it’s a tricksy beast!).

First, ask yourself why you’re writing a novella. I like them because they’re short and relatively easy to plot (although they’re incredibly challenging in their own compact way), but they’re not for everyone to read or write. They can easily become episodic or unsatisfying. Romance creates specific concerns and you might need more than 30,000 words to spin out a fulfilling relationship. If you’re up to the challenge, know that not all bloggers review novellas, and the short format knocks you out of some types of promo, particularly assuming you’re doing an e-novella. No Goodreads giveaways for you!

Stand-alone novellas are a bit different from the kind of novellas you publish between long works, or use to tell a different POV in an old story. Your characters and settings need to be just as deep as they’d be in a category length work, but you have a fraction of the page space to get the details out. When your novella is part of a pre-established world, you can save yourself some work, but when it’s stand alone, you have to jam everything into place and get your characters together.

I have a sadistic streak, so clearly I write the stand-alone kind of novellas—the good news is that it gets easier as the series goes along. Mind you, I’m not the paragon of perfection here. I wrote the Manhattan Ten Out of Order because I had a vague idea of my series instead of a concrete plan. Learn from my mistake: if your novella is going to turn into a series, KNOW THAT AHEAD OF TIME. Even if you drop the story after one volume, you’ll know you started at the right place, and if it takes off, you’ll save yourself so much backtracking.

When you’re ready to hit the keyboard, keep the following in mind:

1. Get your hero and heroine together as soon as possible. A standard novella should range about 25,000-35,000 words, and if you want to avoid getting panned for instalove, you need to get the romance simmering.

2. Trim the minor characters. These guys and gals are necessary for extending your romance series, but you can’t let them clog up the real business. Find the balance between making them realistic and losing your mind juggling subplots that won’t fit.

3. The main conflict MUST be manageable. At this length, the romance is a big part of the story conflict, but it shouldn’t be the only thing going on. Whatever else is happening, make sure it’s fully resolved without going all deus ex machina at the end.

4. Pick your POV carefully. I like reading (and writing) the perspectives of both parties in a relationship, but doing this halves your pages per person. It gets the reader into both characters’ heads, but you need to plan the plot that much more carefully to to avoid head-swappy headaches. Writing only one POV eliminates the problem, but doesn’t take you as deep into the relationship.

5. Have fun! This shouldn’t be a multi-year slog that makes you feel like writing an epic fantasy. If you can write 1k per day, you can be done in a month. Try something new and enjoy the process. If you struggle with 1-5 (I still do), at least you’re only revising 30k!

Five Signs He’s Not the Super Hero for You

When dating a super hero at what point do you have to cut him loose? He’s a hero, right? Why would you leave him? Turns out, even heroes can be villains (or at least jerks), and whatever powers he has, they aren’t worth making yourself miserable over. Here’s what you need to watch out for:

If he's not worth it, forget it.

If he’s not worth it, forget it.

5. Tabloid reports

These are a sign, but nothing close to gospel. The first story that says he’s been seen canoodling is almost definitely a lie, but more than one a week (and non-photoshopped pictures to prove it) is cause for alarm. Do confirm before kicking him to the curb.

4. No time

Fighting villains is time-consuming, but when he’s so involved you can’t coordinate more than texts, it’s not shaping up to be a healthy relationship. He may be a fantastic guy, but you’re better of letting him go until he figures out that whole life/hero balance thing.

3. Groupies

The fans will always be after him, but when he starts hanging with barely-eighteens in belly shirts, be prepared to move on. If he just wants to mess around, let him go. Unless you just want to mess around—in which case, have fun, but don’t get too attached!

2. Questionable Motives

This is of particular concern for you heroines out there. If he’s poking around your lair and asking for classified info, he may be a villain in disguise. In this case, don’t be shy about getting a background check. It’s better to be a little paranoid than to get played.

Keep it together, Marge.

Keep it together, Marge.

1. Super Violence

If he can’t separate his job and his home life, he’s gone. Period. Super strength is no excuse to be a super asshole. If he’s always getting into fights and can’t control his temper, he isn’t a guy you need to be around unless he’s actively working on his problems.

Out of Order

I did a bad thing.

I wrote the Manhattan Ten series out of order.

1v44tfZ

Retrospectively, this was stupid, and I would probably be irritated if an author I liked pulled the same thing. The problem is when I wrote Temptress, I had no idea this wacky experiment was going to turn into a series. At that point, I wrote exclusively YA, and I though a romance superhero project sounded like fun. Jenny was my first heroine, and the world evolved around her.

As I was writing, I started thinking more and more about the crew. Everything began at a bachelor party, so who was Panther’s lady? And why are all these hot superheroes still single? It spiraled out of control.

Mind you, there were no sex scenes, and there were never going to be any, because I am a prim creature at heart. Then my editor reminded me that it was romance, and suddenly I became a romance writer.

How did that happen?

The more I thought about how the series, the more I thought I needed to tell Ivory’s story NOW. I had to write the past before we continued into the future and I didn’t want wait until five books in to hop back in time.

My bad.

If you like to read chronologically, start with Ivory. If you want to read in the release order, start with Temptress.

And I PROMISE I will never write out of order again!