There’s no formula for writing a successful romance or any other type of fiction, but there are things you can do that will make readers want to snap up your novel and read more. Here are five tips for writing romance novels that are page-turning, unforgettable love stories:
- Borrow from the best. Think about some of the great fictional lovers. These should be a mix of classics like Catherine and Heathcliff from Wuthering Heights as well as contemporary such as your favourite Jennifer Crusie or Nora Roberts characters. Consider what makes them and their situations so compelling and how you can model your own characters and situation after them.
- Make it your own. Once you’ve thought about the fictional works you can use as models, think about how to tell the story that only you can tell. Draw on your own background and interests for the situation; perhaps you love a particular historical period or horseback riding or a certain vacation spot. As you create a compelling setting and situation, do the same for your characters. Be sure that they are not unbelievably perfect but flawed in realistic ways.
- Be consistent. What kind of a romance are you trying to write? Is it a fat historical novel filled with intrigue and sex, a slim ironic chicklit book set in a large city or a sweet and not at all explicit book about two people falling in love? Keep your tone, your characters’ reactions and the degree of explictness appropriate to the novel throughout.
- Build suspense. Your readers will keep turning pages if you make the outcome for your characters truly difficult for them to surmount and leave your readers in suspense as to whether the lovers will end up together or not. Set up a series of believable obstacles but not so many that it is unrealistic or that your readers become fed up and disengage. The so-called rule of threes can be a helpful formula here; characters should try to solve their conflicts three times and only succeed on the third try.
- Reward your readers. Most of us read romances for the wish fulfillment. That doesn’t mean a romance can never be sad or nothing bad must happen in your book, but your reader expects and deserves a big emotional payoff, and you must deliver it.
What are your tips for writing romance novels that please readers?
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