If you’re trying your hand at writing a romance book, you’re smart. Obviously, in our post ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ era, we know romance sells. There always has been and always will be businesses in several industries benefiting from human desire and need for romance and love. A romance book that is well written will do better than one poorly written, but another good thing about romance books is that as long as certain requirements are being met in the storyline, the writing doesn’t have to be perfect; there are always editors to help with that too.
The main characters are the most important part of the romance book. Regardless of the sexual orientation of your main couple, the basic formula is the same. You need two believable, flawed, and relatable characters. Being relatable is important. The more a reader relates to one or more characters, the more they are going to engage with the book. Characters in a romance book have to have a unique blend of being believable and relatable, while still being just out of the reach of possibility to satisfy the fantasy part of the craving.
A great way to make characters feel more real and accessible is to give them very common and humorous flaws; people relate to these, and once they can start to see themselves, or parts of themselves, in the characters, they’re hooked and reading right through to the end, and hopefully recommend it to all their friends and family.
Many good romance movies and books have the couple face some sort of challenge. Either they are forbidden to marry due to cultural or socioeconomic differences, or they live far apart, or one gets sick, or some sort of challenge presents itself that the couple and their love must overcome.
Whatever challenge you choose to have your couple face, it will create the story around it as characters, plots, setting, everything will revolve around the couple facing their challenge. How will it play out? What will the couple do? Will things get much worse for the pair before things get better? Maybe things don’t get better for the couple – think Romeo and Juliet-style tragedy. These are all questions you will have to ask yourself if you are writing a romance novel.
When it comes to trying to write a romance book, there are some common traits that you work into your strategy. For starters, put a lot of time and thought into your character development. Create characters that readers will feel they will relate to. Consider who your target niche readers are and write for them. Give your characters some believable flaws and give them some humorous and vulnerable moments to build relatability with the readers.
When it comes to plot, think ‘challenge’. The biggest most epic romances all feature some huge challenge the couple had to overcome or succumbed to. Give your characters a situation that makes them fight for their love and show how much effort their love is worth to them.