Sunday, August 05, 2007

Ingredients of a successful Romance

I picked up and dusted off a how to write book off my book shelf yesterday and came across a list of eleven 'ingredients' of a successful romance. The book is called: Writing Romance by Vanessa Grant. Click on the title of this blog post to go to her website.

1. A Story Question: A good novel begins by stirring a question in the readers mind. The nature of your story question is determined by the type of novel you're writing. The story question must remain the focus throughout the story and should never be comletely answered until the end of the story.

2. An Empowering Story: The best love stories are fantasies in which the deep emotional values of love, family, and partnership in marriage emerge victorious over lesser values.

3. Sympathetic Heroine: The reader wants to identify with the heroine, care about her, and believe in her. She needs fears, dreams, hopes, a personal history, and hang-ups. She should begin the story at a change or crisis point in her life.

4. A Hero She Can Love: Your hero must be a man your heroine can love. He should also have strengths, weaknesses, goals and dreams and he should also begin the story at a change or crisis point in his life.

5. An Interesting Initial Conflict Or Problem: Most good books begin with an immediate initial problem or conflict which keeps the reader turning pages until the core conflict develops.

6. An Emotionally Intense Core Conflict: As your hero and heroine come to know eachother, new obstacles to their happy ending must appear, or the original conflict must grow and change.

7. A Plot: To be interesting, the events in your romance novel must be important to your characters. In a successful romance novel, the story or plot develops logically and naturally from character and conflict.

8. Appropriate Sensuality: In a successful romance novel, the degree of sexual intimacy must be appropirate to the characters and the story. A love scene should reveal hero and heroine's feelings and excitement of their growing intimacy.

9. Archetypes: Throughout time, certain character types appear again and again in our myths and stories, based on pattern or archetypes.

10. Black Moment And Satisfying Resolution: As you read a good novel, the obstacles to happiness and fulfillment intensify as the story progresses. As you near the end of the book, you read a point where it seems impossible for hero and heroine to resolve their differences. This is the black moment.
The more emotionally intense a black moment is, the more satisfying the reader will find the resolution and victory that follows.

11. An Emotionally Satisfying Ending: When readers pick up a catagory romance they expect a happy ending. The ending must be emotionally satisfying, affirming the values of love and positive relationships.

So, as I read through this list of must haves, I started thinking about my current WIP and trying to figure out if I had all of these things. I have some of them but I don't think I have them all. I started asking myself questions about my hero & heroine's conflicts, trying to decide if they were strong enough to carry the story and if they will weave together seamlessly to form a solid storyline. I think it certainly needs work but in thinking these things through, more ideas have come to me, ideas that will make the story stronger and won't be all that difficult to add in.

It's amazing the things one can learn when you fall back on an old reliable source of information...How To Books!