At first glance, many think that writing romance is easier than most other things. Any writer of true romance will tell you that this is far from the truth. It’s true that they may not have to come up with a brand new complex, magical world like those who are writing fantasy.
However, creating an effective and interesting romance is difficult for its own reasons. These tips will help you write a strong, engaging, and effective romance:
Follow the Structure
While fiction is a huge exercise in creativity, romance offers you slightly less freedom than other genres. There is a general structure that is proven to work for romance, and you’re smart to stick to it. Within this formula, you are free to do whatever you please and make the story unique. But, try not to deviate from the romance recipe:
- Boy meets girl.
- Boy loses girl.
- Boy gets girl.
Some have tried to do a romance differently, and it’s mostly been a failure. Romance readers want this formula. Thankfully, it’s broad and there are literally millions of things you can do within this structure.
Choose a Plot Device
Your plot device is important as it’s what will drive things forward and create the framework for your story. There are some popular, proven plot devices for a romance:
- Friends turn into lovers
- A second chance at love
- Fate decides your soulmate
These aren’t your only options, but they are popular and well-received among romance readers. Ultimately, the story just needs to be relatable. Readers need to believe in the pairing and they want to see a little of themselves in the heroine.
Know Your Audience
Knowing your audience is important with any writing endeavor. The good news for romance writers is that it doesn’t take much to determine your audience. It’s about 80 percent women. Many of these women are avid romance readers and will read multiple books every month.
In addition, many of these women are veterans of the genre. They are dedicated, passionate lovers of romance who have been reading it for decades. This means that you’re unlikely to surprise them with your plot. Instead, aim to create a fresh and interesting story with strong, relatable characters.
Love Triangles Sell
Just like there is a tried and true formula and popular plot devices, it’s no secret that everyone loves a good love triangle. The battle between Team Edward and Team Jacob took the world by storm. The end result infuriated some and wholly appeased others. Both are good results for an author. At the end of the day, you want to evoke strong emotions.
Don’t be afraid of the love triangle because it’s “typical” or “overdone.” It’s common because it works. Use other elements and devices along with unique characters to make your love triangle stand out.
Make the love triangle intense and engaging by raising the stakes as high as they can go. What does each character stand to lose if they fail to get the one they desire most?
Write a Happy Ending
If you want to learn how to write a romance novel, you must become familiar with the happy ending. Romance readers absolutely demand it. The ending needs to justify and satisfy the struggle you put your lovers through.
You can do literally anything to them and their relationship throughout the story. But, they must end up together in the end. Not only should they be together, but their needs to be a solid implication of lasting love and prosperity.
The happy ending is an essential conclusion to the twists and conflicts. If the two end up apart, readers will question what the point of the whole story even was. They will be upset, unsatisfied, and likely unwilling to read any of your other romance novels.
If you want to write a story where your lovers end up apart, or worse – dead, consider writing in another genre altogether. You could try creating a dark drama, a tragedy, or even a thriller if your events are exciting and intense. Don’t label your story a romance only to disappoint your readers with a tragic ending for the couple.
Create Dynamic Individuals
Sometimes, romance authors can get caught up in the romance itself and make the story about that. It’s important to remember that the characters must be unique, strong, and highly fleshed out.
Not only do they need to resemble a real person, and they need to be strong in themselves. Before crafting their magical journey towards each other, consider who they are as people. What makes them unique? Allow them to stand on their own two feet. Two characters who are simply nothing without each other will not engage your readers as this is not real.
Don’t Shy Away From Romance
It’s true that romance is a highly saturated genre. However, it’s also a beautiful place to write because a strong, original, and engaging romance will still thrive among the competition. The formula may remain the same throughout any romance, but the possibilities within this are truly endless.
Make your characters unforgettable. Put a unique twist on an old device. Create more thrilling twists and obstacles than anyone else – this only makes the ultimate victory that much sweeter.
Do it right, and romance could be your most lucrative endeavor yet.