Romance. It's one of the best selling genres out there. *Almost* all of the editors have the word "romance" somewhere in their quips about what they are looking for.
I specialize in the Inspirational Romance versus main stream. The basic difference between the two is the amount of sexual details. To put it bluntly, there are no burning loins, dangling bodices, and detailed bedroom scenes with strange names used for body parts. Oh, don't get me wrong. Those things do take place for our married characters. Christians aren't prudes after all. God made sex! We just believe the actual sexual act is a private, intimate act between a married man and woman, and we don't need to detail it to capture the romance.
We DO however have some toe-tingling kisses! They are, in my honest opinion, important for any romance!
The other difference is that for most Inspirational Romances, there is a spiritual thread weaved into the book as well. For some, it is subtle and metaphoric, and for others, it is more prevalent in the plot. These romances are also free of offensive language (although this is subjective due to different views on the matter, but at the least there are no "cuss" words present.)
Every romance has a few basic must-haves:
- A Hunky, slightly flawed Hero
- A dynamic, slightly flawed Heroine
- Sexual tension
- Conflict that goes beyond sexual tension
- Goals for hero/heroine that conflict with each other
- A moment where it seems the hero/heroine have zero chance of getting together
- At least one tilt-the-world, heart-stopping kiss
- A happily-ever-after ending
Resources for the Christian Romance Writer
Gail Gaymer Martin wrote a terrific book called "Writing the Christian Romance."
Author Kaye Dacus wrote/hosted a series of blog posts on Romance Novels:
- Writing the Romance Novel:History of the Inspirational Romance
- Writing the Romance Novel: Divisions and Subgenres
- Writing the Multi-Ethnic Romance: African American by Patricia Woodside
- Writing the Multi-Ethnic Romance: Asian American by Camy Tang
- Writing the Romance Novel: Purple is (not) my favorite color
- Writing the Romance Novel: Point of View
- Writing the Romance Novel: The Warrior and the Damsel in Distress
- Writing the Romance Novel: Why Romance?
Author Julie Lessman wrote a great article on Seekerville about writing edgy Christian Romance called Life on the Edge. If you feel your writing is on the edge of CBA, this is a great article for you!
Even though I focus on Christian Romance, a great resource for romance writing is the Romance Writer's of America. There are local groups, contests for newbie writers with Inspirational categories, and just a wealth of information on how to write good romances.
There are a ton of other links I could give you, and will add on to these in the future. I'll also be doing several blog posts on The Writer's Alley regarding how to write/sell/market the Christian romance, and will link to those here in the future as well!