Valentine’s Day is almost upon us! So, it’s the perfect time to settle in with a good old fashioned romance. Whether it’s a movie, TV show, or book, we all have our preferences. Now, how many of you are penning your first romance novel?
There is a well-known romance formula to get your started:
Boy meets girl.
Boy loses girl.
Boy gets girl back.
Please keep in mind that this formula does not have to remain static. There are always girl/girl and boy/boy variations, among many others, that depend on your characters.
Seems easy, right?
But then you add in the elements that interfere with your characters actually getting together until the end for that satisfying happily ever after moment, and you realize there is a LOT to do. There are tons of plot devices that work in romance scenarios, so pick your poison and figure out what comes next.
Are your characters friends turned lovers? Soulmates? Maybe, enemies turned lovers?
Ultimately, what is their motivation for getting together?
It’s pretty easy for romance characters to fall flat unless the writer is careful with their portrayals. Develop intricate backstories for your characters that explain why they choose one action over another. What is guiding them through their journey? Are they on a mission to discover themselves? Are they career-focused? Have they experienced a death in the family? All of this ties together to make a character more real and relatable, especially as they find their fate intertwining with someone else’s.
Locations can impact the mood of the story. Is it raining? Too hot? Whatever your setting is—wherever your setting is—should offer tension. It should make things difficult for your characters… either by forcing them together or apart. It could be set in historical fiction or modern-day contemporary. Maybe steam punk! There really is no limit on where characters can find romance, so explore settings that haven’t been done before. It can make you to stand out!
Happily Ever After
Last, but certainly not least, romance should have a happily ever after ending. You know, that moment where your characters FINALLY find each other and win one another over. It could be that perfect kiss or running off together. It could be a number of things that work for your story.
However, if you opt out of the happily ever after ending in the romance genre, you can anger readers who are seeking that satisfaction and comfort. This has the potential of dissuading them from reading your future romance novels, or anything you write. So long as there is some semblance of hope that your characters will get together, readers will usually be satisfied.