As you know, here at All Things Writing this month we are taking a look at the romance genre. Last week I did a review of Victoria Richard's book, The Banshee's Desire. This week we will be meeting a great guest blogger, Daisy Banks, who knows her way around the world of romance. Before her posts goes up tomorrow, I thought I'd take the opportunity to put out five rules that a romance novel generally follows.
Just because the couple in your story happens to fall in love doesn't necessarily mean you would find it in the romance section of the book store. In order for a reader to locate your book there, the romance has to be the driving force of the store! Everything that happens either furthers or hinders the romantic relationship.
Here's a few rules to follow if you are creating a romance or if you are trying to determine what your novel genre is.
1. If it is romance, then there must be a happy ending. No loose ends between the happy couple! Any doubts they had about their love are resolved by the time the author types The End.
2. It's acceptable for the man or the woman to act like an ass. They have to redeem themselves by the end though. We must like them enough to believe they'll have their happily ever after.
3. Nobody likes it in traditional romance if either hero or heroine is cheating on a spouse. A mistress--whatever. But spouses are right out. If they've been married before, then the spouse better be dead, drowned at sea, killed in a tragic carriage accident, or have some terrible character trait that makes us think our hero/heroine is better off without them.
4. There should be sex. What kind of sex depends on the romance genre. It could be as simple as the unbuttoning of a glove. Or it could be more explicit with the implied "fade to black." Some authors provide the down and dirty kind that is just two steps away from being labeled erotica. Regardless, readers like to live vicariously and the protagonist having sex is one way for them to do that.
5. Something must tear our lovers apart. At least temporarily. Some examples would be: the hero writes a letter that is misunderstood. An overheard conversation implies the wrong thing. The scent of the ex girlfriends perfume is on his collar. This by no means cancels out the happily ever after rule. The conflict must occur somewhere in the middle of the book. Make it look like they will get what they want and then take it away. Of course, all must be resolved in the end.
Are there more rules of romance? Absolutely! And don't forget the many subgenres in the romance section, too. They all use the above rules, but can manipulate them according to their needs in the genre.
I hope you enjoy the many guest bloggers we have coming up and learn a little something about romance writing!