A good love story is more than just romantic love. Love is present in every corner of the lives of humans, whether romantic, familial, friendship, or the like. It can bring out strong emotions that represent the success and struggles of life.
From Jojo Moye’s The Last Letter from Your Lover” to Nicolas Sparks’ The Notebook, romance novels fill one’s heart, ignite one’s passions, and help one consider love’s nature in a new light. There is more than one ingredient to a great romance novel, and first-time romance writers will need all of them to tell a compelling story.
Coming Out As a Romance Geek
If you are one of those whose genre of preference for reading is a romance novel, consider yourself a Romance geek. Make no attempts to hide it.
People read romance because they love seeing different authors manipulate their plots within the genre’s conventions. The main plot needs to be a love story with a happy ending for a romance to be great. Think about the number of disparities a romance author has to come up with to reach the end goal. Think about the number of trials and sacrifices the author must create for the characters to overcome. How will the characters and the story progress?
People read romance because these journeys are entertaining and engaging. They are filled with banter or barely suppressed longing, heartbreak and humor, beautiful meet-cutes, and embarrassing misunderstandings.
People read romance because a romance novel comes in all forms and shades. Some leave it to the reader’s imagination, some end with a glorious kiss, some imply sex, some are fumbling and just plain fun, and some are explicit with their descriptions. This is primarily because the focus remains on the pleasure of the characters. After all, these are love stories.
The “How Tos” of a Good Romance Novel
1. Choose Your Subgenre. The romance genre accommodates numerous subgenres. Most successful romance writers write within a specific ground, which allows them to set their love story within a context they are passionate about. If you are interested in ghosts and otherworldly creatures, try writing a paranormal romance. If you are fascinated by a specific period, your novel writing might drift towards historical romance. Whether your niche is young adult, harlequin, or contemporary romance, you will want to read as many romance books in your subgenre as possible to get a sense of conventions and spark story ideas of your own. One good example of this is the book written by Brian Clement, entitled “Anthology of Short Stories and Poems II. In these literary pieces of poetry and love story in Brian’s book, you will be embracing lots of emotions aside from the fact that it will excite your imagination. This is a collection of short stories, love stories, mystery stories, and poems.
2. Set the Scene. The setting is critical in romance writing. Your setting will create the atmosphere for your romance, but it will also inform your characters’ backgrounds. Be as specific as possible as this goes not only for the time but the sensory experience of your location. A haunting setting will capture readers’ imaginations and create a realistic backdrop for your romance novel.
3. Make Your Main Characters Captivating. Romantic writing requires strong main characters. The chemistry of your protagonists will likely determine a reader’s engagement with the story. Make sure your characters have fascinating backstories that inform their points of view about romantic relationships. The storyline is imbued with more tension. Romance novelists should not skimp on POV and character development for the protagonist’s love interest either. Remember, a romance novel is only as alluring as the vitals between the lovers. Creating rich, complex characters that fuel the love story is what makes the best romance authors.
4. Do not be afraid of romance cliches. Romance cliches exist for a reason. All have read stories in which best friends become lovers or in which love is forbidden due to station, class, or family affiliation. These romance plots usually engage romance readers, and you should not be afraid to include them in your novel. However, please do not overdo it, as readers may become bored and disinterested.
5. Use love scenes to show character growth. If you are writing your first romance novel, you may find it hard to strike the right balance when writing your intimate scenes. If they are too overt, you may alienate readers, but they may leave disappointed if they are too tame. Writing your sex scenes should show character development in some way or advance the plot.
There are lessons to learn about the necessary ingredients for a good love story from even these reviews and condescensions that took them more seriously. And not just romantic love, but love’s very obvious: familial, platonic, universal, and so on. Perhaps, in a way, all stories are love stories, at least in part.