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Romance and Love

This is an interactive Story software example file that has been published on the web.

Writing Romance and Love Fiction

By Maria Z.

Thinking of writing a piece of romantic fiction but don’t know where to begin? A quick study of romance literature would help you envision the scope of work you will be undertaking. Did you know that romance fiction takes up the largest share of the consumers’ book market?

My guess is that since you’re interested in writing romance fiction, you must be some sort of an avid reader of the genre. Studying the works of popular writers like Janet Evanovich, Nora Roberts and Sandra Brown will help you figure out your own romantic niche.

Not a big fan of romance, but think it’s easy enough a genre to write about? Prepare to be proven wrong. Other than weaving the individual characters with each other and the plot, you will have to teeter along the balancing rope of emotion and tension; the latter two of which are keys to creating a truly enjoyable and impressionable fictional romance piece.

Sex

An element that adds some spice to romantic literature is sexual tension. It may not be entirely necessary to follow this up with descriptions of steamy scenes, but if you do choose to include one or one hundred scenes in your story, keep it short and sweet. Look at the way the popular writers do it and from there, create your own style of sensual writing.

Erotic stories

Sex and eroticism does sell, but four pages of ‘heaving twin orbs’ and ‘moans of pleasure’ would be a bit of an overkill. The whole point of steamy scenes in romantic literature is to keep the fantasy of the ideal couple alive throughout the story.

This sort of intimacy also keeps the secret voyeurs in most women satisfied and seeing as readers of romantic fiction are 90% female, adding this element to your story would be a clever thing to do.

Endings

As for the ending, you should consider the kind of reaction you want from your readers. If you choose to go down the unbeaten path (well, rarely beaten path, to be precise) and end on a bittersweet note (ie. the heroine and hero do not end up together), you could do so and be satisfied with you work.

However, don’t expect legions of fans after you’ve published that one story. Reading romantic literature is like a form of escapism and becomes a means to attain the unattainable in life. Remember that most, if not all, fictional romance readers are looking for that perfect ending to a story.

Settings

Place and time settings will determine the entire context of your story from the characters to the plot. Have a faint outline of a medieval peasant girl-prince romance? A futuristic, Jetsons-inspired happily-ever-after? Go for it. Just keep in mind that the characters should have relevant names, occupations and habits. For instance, a female character by the name of Laquisha with a flair for hair-styling and penchant for ebony men would (usually) appear out of place in a 16th century Welsh-countryside romance novel.

At this point you should also think up the possible subgenres of your story.

History, fantasy, suspense and horror are popular romance subgenres. Timeslip is a possibility if you must mix up your characters and times, and is now fashionable – think of ‘The Time Traveller’s Wife’.

Characters

Romance fiction is not romance fiction without a heroine and a hero. There are few gay love stories; only buddy crime stories. To be honest, there is little room to avoid clichés here.

Popular pairings include:

-damsel-in-distress and hero
-the rich-girl and pauper
-the fiery double-trouble couple

Throw in an antagonist or two (jealous ex or jilted admirer) and you will set up enough room to progress to the next stage of the plot – conflict.

Relief characters

Also known as side-kicks or foils, or even a Greek chorus, a character that is there to comment on the action or provide a reflection in a lower key (mixed metaphors! That is verbal, visual and musical). Also provide moments of humor and pathos.

Modern romantic comedies, especially onscreen, have gay comedy relief characters. They act as foils for the main straight action. Don’t ask me why. Actually it is marketing, a lot of gays and so-called ‘metrosexual’ males like to watch stories aimed at women. Is it just for the artistic pleasure, or picking up clues for clothes or pick-up lines, wanting to bond deeply with the female psyche… or all of the above.

Conflict

-An old flame of the hero’s shows up and shakes up his relationship with the heroine
-The presence of another intriguing male character gets the heroine thinking twice
-The heroine and hero come from rival parties (think Montague vs. Capulet);
these are a few examples of ways to create the kind of friction you can use at the climax of your plot.

Suspense

- Will he really end up proposing to her, or will he choose to elope with the other woman?

- Is the secret agent heroine really into the guy, or is she just seeing him as a way to gain information?

The thing about written romance is that there will almost always be a happy ending.

Utilize romantic suspense to provide the twists so you won’t have to sacrifice the joyful conclusion that your readers will be looking forward to.

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