I’m tackling this because this is my new direction. I couldn’t think of 10.
1. Pick an era and learn all you can. Do your research. I read one modern word in a novel set in the 12th century and I’m out of the story. That’s laziness. I’m proficient in 3 eras. 12th century, 1753-1783 West Indies pirates/Spice trade, and post Civil War America. You must to know the politics, clothing and manners to start.
2. Have a strong conflict. You do not want your reader disappointed when your hero and heroine could have one conversation and end the story. Keep making that conflict worse.
3. Watch your tone. The narrative must sound as if that 12th century character is thinking and saying it. Modern women want to write a more modern historical heroine. Can’t do it. It’s got to be in the mode of the times. Reality is the key to keeping the reader engrossed in the era.
4. Do your research. This is a bone with me. Romance readers are die-hard fans, especially historical readers. They will know when you screw up. I read an older book by a NYT author set in 1099 and when I read the word SUGAR, I knew the author assumed and didn’t research that small detail. Refined sugar wasn’t in England until after the 13th century.
5. Make certain your Villain is worthy of your gallant hero. The villain must be as powerful and his conflict strong. As I learned in writing Dragon One, his goal must be as strong as the heroes. Readers need to see the villain’s motivation and understand it.
That's it for me today.