Writing Romance 101––Part I

So, you think you want to write a romance? It’s a great genre. We all love fairy tales where the prince and the princess live happily ever after, right? That’s probably where romance got its start. A story with a happy ending, where guy meets girl. They get together. Live happy. Click to Tweet #amwriting #romancewriting101

Think of some of the greatest romances you’ve ever read or seen in the movies or on television. I’m not talking about love stories, although those are pretty neat, too. But a romance is a happy ending, where a love story is not.

Sales of romance novels tops one billion, yes billion, dollars, most every year. That’s a lot of sales. Romance accounted for one-third of the overall fiction market in 2015, the last year stats were available for.

Why? I think most of us are romantics at heart. Especially women, which account for most of the sales of romance stories, no matter what sub-genre––such as historical, suspense, or contemporary. I write historical romance. Westerns are my favorite time period, because I grew up watching many westerns on television. I’ve read many good westerns in the past few years.

My first tip about writing romance, is to read a lot of romance. Over the past several years, since writing became my passion again, I’ve probably read at least 300, yes––three hundred stories where romance was a major element. I’ve read so much, I know what I like, and what I don’t.

This is important when deciding to write romance. First, know what you like. What time period, what kind of characters you want your two main protagonists to be, and where will your story be set?

But first, read. Read. Read. One of my pet peeves for writing historical romance is the question of: how to get rid of dear-old Dad or the father figure in authority over the heroine? With all I’ve read, I’ve seen two plot devices: 1) Father dies 2) Father doesn’t have daughter’s best interest at heart. Within the second one, the father, or father figure, will “sell” their daughter, niece, or ward, into marriage with a jerk, generally speaking, for money. Honestly, can’t you do better than that?

I decided I would. It’s a tired plot device to make the father figure a jerk. I don’t like those stories as well. But maybe it’s just me. In my book, Meghan’s Choice, which will be released later this year, Meghan’s father is a good man, but he makes a hard choice. He tells his daughter she needs to grow up and learn to manage money before she marries. A very unique concept for 1871. But he’s a forward thinking, progressive man, and he wants the best for his daughter. We’ll see what readers think.

In order to write romance, you should read a lot of romance in your favorite sub-genre before writing your own story. Although, let your ideas percolate in your mind as you read. Click to Tweet #amwriting #romancewriting101

What do you like about romance? Leave a comment and let me know.

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