Writing a Romance Novel

If you’ve always had a dreamy nature and a love of steamy coupledom, chances are you’ve considered putting a few of your favorite romantic fantasies down on paper.

The romance market, however, is just that – a market. There are certain structural elements that must be adhered to as you write, and there are quite a few things you can do to make your manuscript more attractive to publishers.

Therefore, there are some story guidelines you must learn before you begin your secret life as a romance novelist.

how to write a romance novel

Familiarize Yourself with the Romance Genre

Prior to sitting down to pen your first steamy story, get a grip on the marketplace.

Check out the names and novels romance readers love and familiarize yourself with recent industry trends. You want to pick up on things that work and avoid imitating those trends oversaturating the market.

Learn how to play with dialogue, build reader rapport and construct a tantalizing scene by reading other romances.

However, don’t write yet another YA romance involving vampires. As you delve into the genre, you may come across quite a few clichés. These, too, are things to avoid imitating.


Understand the Appeal

If you don’t know why anyone would read a romance novel, chances are you won’t be successful at writing one.

Creating a sympathetic heroine or hero is a central part of the process. Since you’re almost always asking the reader to step into the heroine’s shoes, you want her to be highly relatable. Her – or his – love interest should be considered appealing all the way across the board.

If you find you often date men who work as bartenders and live in basements, don’t tap into your own experience as an inspiration.

The love interest doesn’t have to walk on water or represent a clichéd ideal, but he – or she – should be highly desirable.

The reader has come to your novel for a slice of imaginary passion and wants to be tantalized with a desirable love interest!


Break Out Traditional Storytelling Elements

Without conflict, you have no story. Two people meeting, falling for one another, and doing it is not a story. When it comes to thickening a plot, there are two types of conflict – internal and external.

When it comes to the romance novel, internal conflict is your main construction tool in your book plot.

  • Internal conflict happens within the characters, and shows itself as two personalities conflict, desires and motives are at odds, or a difficult relationship issue – an arranged marriage, love triangle or unplanned pregnancy – arises.
  • External conflict should also be used as a sort of background element that adds additional structure to the internal conflict. This kind of conflict is brought about by misunderstandings, unfortunate circumstances or the meddling of a secondary character.

Whatever conflicts you create, ensure that they are believable. This doesn’t mean that you can’t write about a vampire and a werewolf falling for the same girl – only that their actions must adhere to the nature of known human behavior.These guys may be supernatural beings, but they must show their love, hurt, anger, passion, etc. in typical human fashion.

Without believability, you’ll lose the reader.

When you read romance novels, pay attention to the way conflict is used. You’ll notice that a romantic storyline isn’t all conflict all the time. Rather, the dark days are interspersed with sunny ones.


Don’t Forget Dialogue

Being able to wield dialogue like a pro is key to any kind of writing.

Creating dialogue for romance novels can be tricky as you want to capture the reader’s emotions without sounding cheesy or using stilted clichés.

Edit out any dialogue that isn’t central to your story, and don’t forget to create a few secondary characters to play off your romantic couple.

The hero and heroine aren’t the only people on Planet Romance, even if the focus should remain largely upon them.

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