Writers of romance novels often have to face criticism. It concerns not only the genre itself but also the plot and the way authors render it.
Some writers, including Paula Graves, think that the best way to render ideas is to follow the same patterns.
While others claim that using a certain formula will make novels similar and will add monotony to the story. But still, there are many writers, who apply the same formula in a variety of ways. Those, who support this approach, are sure that readers have clear expectations about a novel of the authors they like.
So using a different formula (or no formula at all) may greatly harm the novel. That is why it is quite obvious that using a certain formula or pattern is not a bad thing: you just need to apply it wisely.
That is why before giving you a detailed step-by-step guide on writing a romance novel let us discuss the elements a romance novel should include. With their help writers are able to meet the expectations of their readers.
Elements of the Genre
Below you will find core elements that any romance novel should include to make the story clear and engaging.
You may think that emotional connection is the basis of a love story, so there is no need to work on this element on purpose. However, you need to prove that your characters are willing to show that they love each other.
It may be rather difficult to demonstrate that love, especially through the text. So you can use not only dialogues but also monologues or other appropriate tools.
You will not deny that physical attraction is also an important part of any romance novel. Actually, it is as important as an emotional connection. That is why you need to show that attraction between your main characters.
This will make the plot full and rich with events. Such an attraction should be present in every conversation or interaction of protagonists.
It is a great way to enrich their relationships and to make the bond deeper and more realistic.
First meeting of main characters
As a writer, you may think that the first meeting of the main characters is not so important, because there are many crucial moments ahead.
However, the first meeting greatly influences your readers, so you should work on this element really attentively. Actually, it is the thing that all the readers are looking forward to the very first line.
That is why your main task is to make the first meeting unforgettable and to let it linger in readers’ minds for long.
Both characters must be really involved in the meeting: make the moment intense or even dramatic but still add some magic to let readers fantasize about the future of the couple.
Similarly to other genres, romance novel must have an interesting plot. You may have unique characters that have lots of distinguishing features but you won’t be able to introduce them without a series of events that are logically interconnected.
Make sure that your plot follows a certain order (for example, chronological or a reverse one) and is composed of accurate descriptions and events.
How to Write a Great Romance Novel: a Step-by-Step Guide
By now you already know what elements to include in your romance novel. Are you ready to find out how to write a novel step-by-step? Then make yourself comfortable and continue reading!
Writing always requires brainstorming, whether it is a school report or a romance novel. Actually, this stage may take most of the time, so you need to open your mind to new ideas no matter where you are.
The topic of such ideas fully depends on your audience type. That is why you need to understand what readers expect from your novel.
To boost your imagination you can use the following tricks:
Use a real example of a romantic story
It is not a secret that stories from real life are usually more original and interesting than those that were made up. This is probably one of the best ways to write an outstanding romantic novel, because readers are always excited to read real-life stories, especially about a romance.
You can base the novel on your past romantic experience but change names or settings. You can also ask your friends or family members whether they have a remarkable love story to share.
Get inspired by movies or books
You should be prepared to get ideas any time and anywhere you are: when watching a movie, listening to the news or accidentally overhearing a dialogue of two beloveds on a park bench. Just transform the story into your own and voila!
- Create characters and settings based on the story that inspired you;
- Listen to songs. They often have plenty of motivation to offer!
Don’t forget to create the main character. Usually, the romance novel’s main character is the narrator. It greatly simplifies the reading process and allows readers to become closer to the character. Don’t forget that the main character should be someone unique and interesting to the audience.
In addition, you need to decide what type of romance novel you are going to stick to. Here are the most popular types:
- Historical romance;
- Paranormal romance;
- Young adult romance.
Sticking to a particular format will allow you to meet the expectations of the audience and to follow a clear storyline.
Now, when you have an idea of what to write about, it is the right time to start writing! Don’t be afraid of writer’s block or making a few mistakes. Just put your thoughts on paper and go on writing no matter what.
Add freshness to the story
In the beginning, we have discussed how important it is to follow a particular formula when writing a romance novel. However, it is equally crucial to present the story in a new and fresh way.
Your approach should be unique to make the novel engaging and different from others. For example, your characters may meet on another planet or there may be caste or race differences between them.
Select a powerful setting
Any novel requires a strong setting. Without it, even the most brilliant characters will fade. That is why, when working on an outline of the novel, you need to write down where your characters met and fell in love, how they interact and how they perceive everything around them.
Indicate central conflict
To help the story evolve you need to come up with the main conflict. Don’t forget that it must be real and really strong in order to keep the main characters apart. At the same time, this conflict must be quite simple so that readers can follow the story without difficulties.
Include intimate scenes
Even though this element is not compulsory, most of the novel writers use it to boost the interest of the audience and to show the relationships of the main characters.
If you are not good at descriptions of how people usually make love, don’t worry! It is always better to stick to romantic and passionate descriptions in a vivid language than to tell about the physical aspects of intimacy.
Stay away from clichés
As you probably know, clichés are common phrases or descriptions that are widely used in other texts. Many of them are so common that they simply don’t have any influence on the readers.
That is why it is always better to work harder but to come up with unique and fresh descriptions that will greatly enrich your story!
Novel’s ending should be satisfying
A romance novel should have a great happy ending. Even if many experts criticize the simple ‘happy ever after’ ending, no doubts that readers want that! It is satisfying and motivational, and readers don’t feel disappointed after turning the last page.
Work on the draft
Once you have written the first draft, put it aside for some time and let your brain relax. Then return to it and reread several times, noting any imperfections in the sequence of the story, sentences, and words order.
You can also ask the people you trust (friends, relatives, colleagues) to read the novel and make comments.
Finally, you need to revise the novel based on those notes and feedbacks. If you are not sure whether you are doing everything correctly, you can always hire a professional editor.
Writing a romance novel is not as difficult as it may seem at first. The main secret is to know what the readers expect from you and to satisfy those expectations!
Follow our simple but effective tips and you will surely create an unforgettable romance novel.