a couple kissing on the beach

Why I write romance

A Man of Substance book coverRomance novels have a central theme: a happily ever after. The book is about how they get there, overcoming obstacles and resolving conflict. A romance novel delves into the emotional state of the hero and heroine’s mind. A good romance has a solid foundation of all three pillars: character, conflict and resolution.

I write romance because I can play with all three elements beginning with giving my protagonists interesting jobs, gorgeous physical appearances and setting them in visually pleasing surroundings. Even names are quite crucial, as I will begin to think of them as such. When I become them, dialogues flow more easily from my fingers to the screen. They become alive and dynamic instead of inert and stiff. I can be an engineer on an oil rig or a chef on a cruise ship. I can be a pastry chef with my own shop or a rancher. The possibilities are endless. But I am always gorgeous.

It always begins with the characters for me.

Conflict can be very simple or complex and I determine what happens. I try to keep it linear so as not to lose my reader’s attention. There’s always a fine balance between the appearance of conflict and its resolution. In romance, conflict is primarily emotional mainly due to miscommunication between the two lead characters. Sometimes the conflict has layers. What keeps them apart? What did he say to drive her away? How do they get back together? Who makes the first move?

Resolution can happen all at once. The hero or heroine realizes they cannot live without the other and decides to make a final play, which is the HEA! The rest of it is just fillers oozing out bit by bit like the layer of creamy goodness in an éclair filling my mouth with decadent sweetness.

I keep my romances in the 55-80k range which keeps printing costs reasonable. Of course, this is not a concern for digital-only works. I keep a notebook where I jot down interesting jobs and then I pick one outside my area of expertise. Then I research the job. For example, if it’s a pilot, I begin to think of my character in that position with dialogues erupting in my head pushing the story forward. Time frames are extremely short unlike literary fiction where decades or longer are quite a common feature.

If you’re just beginning to write romance, a good rule of thumb is to take away everything but dialogue and action. I spend just as much time writing a romance as literary fiction. Both give me great pleasure but romance is so much more fun. Happy romance writing!

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