The following “tip sheet” is meant to provide the author with a general sense of what BSB is looking for in Matinee manuscripts. These criteria are not meant to be absolutes – guidelines are just that – a jumping off place for an approach to a work. Word count is the only hard and fast item in this category.
45,000 – 55,000 words
Matinee lesbian romances are sharp, satisfying, quality reads focusing on passion, exciting relationships, and compelling attractions in a tightly written, engaging package.
Characters should be vividly drawn, believable, and appealing. Plots don’t have to be complicated, sex should be hot and real, and by the end of the story an emotional connection should be present. These are light, engaging, sexy stories featuring two hot women who fall into bed, and in love as well.
STYLE – Polished, readable and uncomplicated
TONE – Upbeat
PACE – Fast moving
PLOT – Simple structure - open with a hook, close with a resolution
MAIN CHARACTERS – engaging, believable, may be “types” if compelling
SECONDARY CHARACTERS – Play a low key supporting role. They enliven a scene, but never steal it
CONTENT– Generally dealing in the currency of high drama – anger, lust, passion, jealousy, guilt
Primary Focus: sexual gratification
Overall sensibility: arousing and entertaining
Opening Hook: a sex scene.
The players could be anyone. The primary requirement is that the opening scene is hot. Could be the two main characters, who have just met and are having sex. Or one of the main characters having sex with a partner or partners who will not feature in the work beyond the opening pages, except as a peripheral figure, if at all. Could be one of the main characters in a voyeuristic scene, watching two women have sex. Could be a play party… anything.
Couple: hot, and at least one of them is sexually adventurous
Content : strong on the erotic, with high drama and fast movement through character arcs – not dwelling too much on emotional angst
Sex: hot, edgy, explicit, frequent, anything goes (usual exceptions)
Obstacles: Unexpected emotions and unpleasant surprises. Possibly a third party causing a problem. Or just when everything seems to be going quite well someone does something stupid and there is some angst, punctuated with more sex.
Theme: sometimes life can suck, but sex is good
Climax: the obstacle gets resolved and a really big sex scene happens, and this time there is a clear emotional layer
Resolution: hey, if everything else is as good as the sex, maybe we’ll have a great relationship
Ending: happy and sexual – they’re together as a couple and think they are falling in love, at least. A “permanent commitment” is not essential, but it’s fine to have one if that’s character-consistent.
Primary Focus: desire
Overall sensibility: heart-warming and sensual
Opening Hook: a character scene
The two main characters must cross paths, or be about to, in a scene that engages the reader quickly . Reader investment in the characters and their romantic journey must be rapid and sustained. Humor might play a role.
Couple: girl meets girl, with some room for the interesting
Content : strong on emotion, with heart to heart discussions, introspection, angst, confusion, drama, highs and lows
Sex: sensual, erotic, emotionally meaningful from the start, lots of sexual tension.
Obstacles: Psychological and personal. One or both characters must overcome an internal conflict or personal issue in order to find true love. External obstacles may also stand in their path.
Theme: love creates new possibilities
Climax: Something (probably external ) almost destroys the emerging relationship, but change and growth carries the couple through adversity
Resolution: we belong together and will never again let anything come between us
Ending: happy and contented– they’ve found true love. They make a declaration of love and commitment
Primary Focus: risk
Overall sensibility: compelling and erotic
Opening Hook: an action scene
Features a hot, compelling main character in some high-drama situation. By the end of the drama, she must meet the woman she will fall for. One (or both) of the two women is likely to be in jeopardy.
Couple: polarized eg. good girl / bad girl, butch / femme, white collar / blue collar, mixed race, etc.
Content : strong on action, with mini-climaxes, drama, highs and lows.
Sex: Hot, hard, lots of physical chemistry
Obstacles: An external threat, character differences, the wrong time to get involved in a relationship.
Theme: danger and risk / together we can triumph over anything
Climax: Big Climax: threat reaches its peak, the couple overcome the odds and win
Resolution: let’s celebrate our triumph by making love
Ending: happy and dramatic – they’ve found each other and can’t live without each other. They make a declaration of love and commitment.