Friday, July 25, 2014

The How-To's of Writing a Strong Romance

Photo Credit
What does every romance need? A guy and a girl of course! The hope for a silver band by the end of the book and a hunky hero never hurts…no, I would say instead it helps a great deal. ;-)

But what are some great qualities of a good romance?

Sass and spark: let’s just admit that the demure and naïve heroine has gone out with the historical romance novels of yesteryear. Even your typical household, HR books today have a go-getter heroine. Someone who knows what she wants and is going after it. How you go about her “going after it” depends greatly on her circumstances and the era she is living in.

Sass adds for great spice in dialogue. And every character needs that spark on the page. The spark that makes them attractive to not only the hero, but also to the reader so they want to keep reading, because the last thing we want to do is have the reader put the book down.  

Protective and daring: Beth Vogt’s hero Stephen in Somebody Like You plays this part superbly. A 
strong, commanding hero, he is also incredibly gentle and knows how to step into the Haley’s life without making her feel as though he is taking over. Think about yourself as a woman: you want to feel protected and provided for by your man right? How would you want your man to go about doing that for you? Think about those things for your heroine as you are writing the scenes and creating the characters.

Assertive: Your heroine needs to fulfill a need in your hero and your hero needs to fulfill a need in your heroine, otherwise, why should they get together? It needs to be both a physical need—her house needs repairs before it falls around her ears—and a spiritual need—he has never felt truly valued by those he has loved before.

Communication, or lack thereof, does not make for conflict! If the conflict between your hero and heroine can be resolved by them simply talking to each other, you are in need for a few rewrites. The tension has to be stronger than what can be solved by them sitting down in a coffee shop and chatting.
Photo Credit

Put your hero and heroine in compromising situations. Drag your mind out of the gutter, I’m not talking about those kind of compromises. Back your characters into a corner. Send them out hiking and a thunderstorm rolls in: what is their first reaction? Either to the situation or each other? Don’t think along the lines of the perfect response they would make to impress the other, but the gut level I-am-not-thinking-about-what-I’m-saying-or-doing kind of response.

Explore these kind of situations and you’ll learn more about your characters. Are they right for each other? because maybe you’ve created two characters that should never be together.

Have fun with the dialogue—fill it with quips and jabs, fun and humor—it makes the characters come ALIVE on the page and the romance all the more saucy and quick paced.

Indulge in the tender moments and don’t forget to give your hopeless romantic readers a kiss or two to sigh over. ;-)

What is the latest and greatest romance you just finished? We learn from the best!

Casey Herringshaw is a homeschool graduate and has been writing since high school. She is a country girl now living in a metropolis of Denver, Colorado.


Glynis said...

Thanks for a great list, Casey. I'm working on my first romance--my first novel of any kind!--and these were great reminders of why we love to read a good romance. Which I haven't done in awhile, so I can't answer your question!

Sherrinda Ketchersid said...

Great list, Casey!! Now don't forget the "almost kiss"!!! I love those!!!!

Casey said...

Glynis, way to go on starting a novel! It's an amazing journey that only continues to get better--though also harder--with time. I'm glad the list was able to be helpful. Just remember: don't make it harder than it needs to be. :)

Casey said...

Sherrinda, did I forget the almost kiss?! I love them too, but man they can so FRY me sometimes when I just want them to kiss, gosh dang it! ;)

Susan Anne Mason said...

LOL! Gosh-dang it! Great post, Casey! You know your stuff!

So great to remember WHY the hero and heroine are made for each other!


Casey said...

LOL, Sue, I'm learning from the very best--some of my favorite authors and everything they do to make the story so good. I love me some sass and snark. ;)