(yang membangun cinta adalah akad religi jelita, bukan tatapan manis yang renta ::refdak::)
How to Write a Romance Novel
“Know the romance market,” says Sheri McGregor, author of “Under One Roof.” Romance novels made up more than 50 percent of mass market fiction sold in 1997. “Read in the genre and find where you think your story ideas fit. Get the guidelines. Then write your story with the market in mind, without letting go of your story’s heart,” McGregor says.
Step 1 – Know the story you want to tell, and know your characters.
Step 2 – Join a writer’s critique group, either online or face-to-face.
Step 3 – Write, write and write more. Nothing helps more than practicing your craft.
Step 4 – Develop a thick skin. No one writes a masterpiece the first time.
Step 5 – Learn from criticism, but don’t lose the voice that makes your writing unique.
Step 6 – Read books about writing, such as Anne Lamott’s “Bird by Bird,” Natalie Goldberg’s “Writing Down the Bones,” or Evan Marshall’s “The Marshall Plan for Writing a Novel.”
Step 7 – Study your market, and be prepared to write for a specific genre.
Step 8 – Become familiar with the publishers in your genre and subgenre.
Step 9 – Join a romance writers’ club and attend writers’ conferences. Make sure to schmooze with agents at these conferences.
Step 10 – Submit your book to an agent to make the rounds of publishers.
Tips & Warnings
• “Emotion,” stresses McGregor. “Don’t back away from it, because these stories need it. To me, romances are character stories. They may have a complex plot, but it’s the characters the readers want to love and get involved with.”
• Subgenres can range from historical to contemporary to fantasy. Inspirational and multicultural or ethnic romances are also popular.
• “It’s not as simple as it looks,” McGregor says. “I have heard a lot of people say that they thought they’d write romance because it looks like it would be easy. They often find it much more difficult than they thought. Keeping focused on a romance within the context of a larger plot can be difficult.”
• Remember the audience is largely feminine. More than 90 percent of regular readers of romance novels are women.
• No legitimate agent or publisher expects payment from an author to read a submission.
How to Write a Romance Novel – http://www.mahalo.com/how-to-write-a-romance-novel
If you’re a romantic at heart and have a story to tell, why not consider writing a romance novel? With the romance market expanding to accommodate on-the-go readers with eBooks and a wider array of stories than ever, now is the perfect time to write one.
• Romance Writing Tips
1. Read a lot of romance novels.
2. Study the market.
3. Learn publisher guidelines before starting.
4. Craft a realistic hero and heroine.
5. Research your plot and setting.
6. Make sure your intimate scenes are believable.
7. Begin writing.
8. Avoid distractions.
9. Workshop your finished manuscript.
10. Make revisions.
11. Put together a submissions packet.
o Romance novels are a treasured pastime for millions of readers. According to a 2005 survey, 64.6 million Americans admitted to having read a romance novel. Romance Writers of America: Romance Literature Statistics From paranormal encounters with hot vampires to historical journeys with armor-clad knights, romance offers an escape for the romantic in everyone.
o The romance market is more competitive than ever, and many publishers have tried to take risk out of the equation by devising specific plot formulas for their writers to follow. If you’re ready to try your hand at romance novel writing, read on for some tips that will both familiarize you with the market and ensure that your writing adheres to romance publishers’ (and readers’) expectations.
• Step 1: The Romantic Reader
1. If you are considering writing a romance novel, chances are you’ve read a few. Reading is important for writers no matter what genre you write in. Here are a few reasons why it is especially important for romance writers to stay on top of their market:
2. Reading current romance will give you an idea of what editors are looking for right now. Romance Factor: Romance Writing 101
3. You can get an idea of how the plots are structured. How To Do Things.com: How to Write a Romance Novel
4. You’ll be able to understand the emotional execution involved in seeing a hero and heroine through to the end. Write Place, Write Time: Writing the Romance Novel (May 21, 2008)
5. Exposure to believable love scenes will make writing your own that much easier. Romance Factor: Writing the Love Scene
6. Inspiration may lie in the pages of a well-loved story.
7. You can get a basic idea of what has been overdone. How To Do Things.com: How to Write a Romance Novel
Step 2: Basic Elements of Storytelling
1. Think back on the romance novels you’ve read in the past. The similarities between them all are the elements the storyteller used to orchestrate the plot. Before you can begin writing, you’ll need to know what comprises a successful story.
2. Theme: The central, driving force of the story. It is often a reflection on life or human nature. ThinkQuest: Parts of a Story In romance novels, the reflection will likely fall back on the development of a romantic relationship between two people. Wikipedia: Romance Novel
3. Plot: Consists of the setting and conflict and drives the story from one point to the next. ThinkQuest: Parts of a Story
4. Characters/Protagonist: The person or persons affected by the central action of the story. Arcanum-Butler Local School: Creative Writing
In a romance, the protagonist is usually the heroine or hero, sometimes both, working against forces keeping them apart.
5. Setting: The place and time during which the plot of the story is set. Wikipedia: Setting
6. Conflict/Antagonist: The conflict is the force that works against the characters.
1. Conflict is usually established in the beginning. ThinkQuest: Parts of a Story
2. The action in the plot rises naturally as the conflict builds up.
3. The antagonist is often another character working against the protagonist. Arcanum-Butler Local School: Creative Writing
Sometimes this will be the hero or heroine working against each other despite their mutual attraction.
7. Climax: Turning point in the plot. The action and conflict reach a boiling point, and there is no turning back. ThinkQuest: Parts of a Story
8. Falling Action: Begins to wrap up the loose ends through the story. ThinkQuest: Parts of a Story
9. Resolution: All major points of conflict are concluded. ThinkQuest: Parts of a Story
o Both the conflict and the climax of the story should heavily revolve around two people going through the stages of developing a relationship. Wikipedia: Romance Novel
Step 3: Researching the Market
1. In most other genres this is something you are more likely to do after you have your manuscript finished. In romance, it is imperative that you take a look at the market before you even begin so you are aware of any set guidelines that the publishers have in place.
2. Each publisher will have a different formula and set of guidelines. How To Do Things.com: How to Write a Romance Novel
Some will have several sub-genres of romance that they publish. Each of those sub-genres will have a set of guidelines.
3. The sensuality requirements will be different for each publisher. Romance Factor: Romance Writing 101
4. Many will have happily ever after standards. The Boston Phoenix: How to Become a Romance Novelist
5. Most will have a list of taboo subjects that they will never publish. How To Do Things.com: How to Write a Romance Novel
6. Hot topics like STDs and un-planned pregnancies have pushed many editors to include safe-sex practices in their formulas. WikiHow: How to Write a Romance Novel
o Even if you go into your romance novel with a basic idea of what you’d like to write, take some time to look at publishers’ formulas and guidelines before you start writing. When you’ve finished your novel and are ready to submit, you are already one step ahead of the writer who didn’t bother to look at the market.
Step 4: The Hero and Heroine
1. Nowhere is the character-driven plot more essential than in romance novels. As the romance genre has evolved, the character roles have as well. Heroines were once portrayed as vulnerable, lonely women in desperate need of a man to complete them, and the heroes tended to be dominant, social climbers intrigued by the conquest of a woman beneath them. The Boston Phoenix: How to Become a Romance Novelist
2. Today the characters are more in tune with current societal roles. Whether you are writing about a futuristic vampire or one of Queen Guinevere’s handmaidens, the people in your story need to be real enough for your readers to identify with them.
3. When creating your hero make sure he is:
4. Strong, exciting and bold. Romance Factor: Romance Writing 101
5. Sensitive. How To Do Things.com: How To Write a Romance Novel
6. Attractive. WikiHow: How to Write a Romance Novel
7. Sensual and sexy. Eclectics.com: Six Ingredients of a Sensual Romance Novel
8. Realistically flawed. WikiHow: How to Write a Romance Novel If he is 100% perfect, there is no way he’ll be believable.
9. Everything your heroine fantasizes about in a man. Eclectics.com: Six Ingredients of a Sensual Romance Novel
o You’ll want heroines who are:
11. Attractive, even if she doesn’t know or believe she is attractive. Romance Factor: Romance Writing 101
12. Independent and self-reliant. Eclectics.com: Six Ingredients of a Sensual Romance Novel
13. Smart and spunky. How To Do Things.com: How To Write a Romance Novel
14. Sensitive, but not vulnerable. How To Do Things.com: How To Write a Romance Novel
15. Not too desperate to have a man in her life. How To Do Things.com: How To Write a Romance Novel
16. Unafraid to speak her mind when needed. Eclectics.com: Six Ingredients of a Sensual Romance Novel
17. Motivated by an inner-drive. Romance Factor: Romance Writing 101
18. Imperfect, as long as it doesn’t detract from her character.
19. Someone the hero is willing to do anything to get. Romance Factor: Romance Writing 101
o On top of your main characters, you’ll want to add in a few secondary characters like friends and family members. Always remember that your secondary characters should never outshine your main characters. Romance Factor: Romance Writing 101
Step 5: The Intimate Parts
1. Romance doesn’t start off slow. The sparks between your hero and heroine need to fly from the very first moment they come in contact, whether they are attracted to each other or they hate each other’s guts. Eclectics.com: Six Ingredients of a Sensual Romance Novel These scenes will increase the romantic tension until it explodes, and the intimacy follows. Here are some tips to keep in mind while crafting the intimate moments between your characters:
2. If you are writing for a specific publisher, make sure you know their sensuality limits. All About Romance: Sensuality ratings
3. Exaggerate the awareness of the sexual tension between your characters from the start. Romance Factor: 20 Steps to Writing Great Love Scenes Part 1
4. Explore the connection between your characters; the more emotionally-charged the better. Eclectics.com: Six Ingredients of a Sensual Romance Novel
5. Passion doesn’t have to be all about sexual attraction. Write Place, Write Time: Writing the Romance Novel (May 21, 2008)
6. Let your characters determine the level of intimacy they achieve, and how quickly they achieve it. Romance Factor: 20 Steps to Writing Great Love Scenes Part 1
7. Don’t just dive into an intimate scene, draw it out slowly so the reader can savor it. Romance Factor: Writing the Love Scene
8. Avoid well-known taboos, like rape, incest, terrorism, terminal illness and anything else that draws away from the romance factor. Romance Factor: Romance Writing 101
9. Draw from your characters’ experiences and background during intimate scenes. Romance Factor: 20 Steps to Writing Great Love Scenes Part 1
If your character is a virgin, she’s not going to dive right into the moment uninhibited.
If your character has never connected emotionally before during intimacy, draw on that.
If you’re writing about a man who is good with his hands, use that to his advantage.
10. Hardcore erotic romance editors do require that you use natural terms for parts of the body. This could make some writers uncomfortable. In time, it will feel natural to you and your characters. Romance Factor: 20 Steps to Writing Great Love Scenes Part 1
o The possibilities are unlimited. After all romantic scenes are reality-based moments of fantasy, but keep reality in the back of your mind at all times. If it’s physically impossible, don’t try to pull it off just because it’s fiction.
Step 6: Research and Outlining
1. There are a lot of reasons you might need to do research for your romance novel. If you are planning a period romance, something with a hint of suspense or a paranormal twist, you will want to make sure your setting and plot are credible.
2. Take advantage of your local library.
3. Use the Internet, but don’t rely on just any old page.
Make sure the information comes from a reliable source.
You can also cross-reference information with several different sites to see if it matches up.
4. Take care not to jumble the creative process as you research. Remember, writing is a creative endeavor, and you should be making up the most interesting parts on your own. Pohangina Pete: How Thoroughly Should You Research Your Novel? (May 9, 2004)
o A basic outline is a great way to keep track of where you want the story to go, while still allowing you the flexibility to be spontaneous and creative.
1. Having a basic idea of the plot structure will help you finish your novel. Deep Genre: How to write a Novel (Part 1) (January 15, 2008)
2. Think of an outline like a map of your story. It will allow you to check all alternative routes to make sure they still wind up at the end you planned. HollyLisle.com: How to Finish a Novel
3. Try storyboarding (writing things down scene by scene) on note cards that you can flip through whenever you need a refresher. Steampunk: Advice on Novel Writing by Crawford Kilian
Step 7: The Writing Process
1. If this is your first novel, you may want to take some time to familiarize yourself with some of the tools of writing, such as point-of-view, dialogue, grammar and showing versus telling.
2. Visit Mahalo’s page on How to Write a Novel for a detailed look at each of these important tools.
3. Here are some tips that will help you see your romance novel through to the final page:
4. Once you decide on a basic plot build on it by asking yourself Who? What? Why? When? Where? How?. Romance Factor: Develop a Kick-Ass Plot
5. Make a commitment to writing so you see your novel through until the end.
6. Avoid as many distractions as you can while writing.
7. Set aside time to write every day. WikiHow: How to Write Romance Novels
8. Find a place to write where you won’t be disturbed.
9. Know your characters and plot well. eHow: How to Write a Romance Novel
10. Keep your research handy at all times in case you need to reference something.
11. Beware of simple plot solutions like:
Waking from a dream to find none of it was real.
Killing off a frustrating character suddenly instead of confronting them.
Relying on coincidence instead of establishing an actual cause for events. Romance Factor: Techniques to Make Your Romance Zing
12. Don’t try to get everything right the first time through.
Remind yourself that this is just the first draft, and your main goal now is to get the basics of the story out on paper. Victory Page for Writers: Writing Your First Novel (2003)
o If you find yourself getting stuck while writing, check out Mahalo’s page on How to Beat Writer’s Block.
Step 8: The Revision Process
1. Congratulations! You’ve finished the first draft of your romance novel. Pat yourself on the back and take a break while you get it printed out. Once you’re ready to start the revision process, here are a few things to keep in mind:
2. Read over the first draft and take notes you can refer to later when revising.
Does it adhere to editorial guidelines?
Are your plot and characters consistent?
3. If you haven’t already, join a writers group that can give you feedback on your novel. eHow: How to Write a Romance Novel
4. Print out copies and ask your writers group for some feedback. Deep Genre: How to Write a Novel (Part 2) (January 21, 2008)
5. Listen with an open mind to all criticism. Deep Genre: How to Write a Novel (Part 2) (January 21, 2008)
6. Compare their notes with yours and begin making revisions.
7. Once you have a second draft, start the process over again, this time also allowing yourself to note any spelling and grammar mistakes.
8. Don’t be afraid to make changes or even cut out entire sections if they don’t fit into your vision. Deep Genre: How to Write a Novel (Part 2) (January 21, 2008)
o It could take three or more draft revisions before you feel confident enough with the end-result to send it on to an editor.
o Once you’re sure that you’ve met all of the editorial requirements, it’s time for you to dive into the market and try to get published. Don’t be afraid. If you’ve done your homework well and paid special attention to all of the publisher’s detailed instructions, you may stand out above the rest and find yourself moving on to the next round. Good luck, and happy writing!
Subgenres In Romance Novels – http://www.suite101.com/article.cfm/how_to_write_a_romance_novel/114083
Florence U. Cardinal
The different types of romance (subgenera) are as varied as the people who read romances. Even young adult romance has its place. These stories are light on intimacy, usually nothing heavier than a few kisses and holding hands. They deal with topics like problems with teachers, sports, bullying and shyness but sometimes move into more serious areas – bullying, parental divorce or even abuse.
A short step above the young adult romance is the sweet romance – books like Harlequin or Silhouette Romance. Graphic sex is a no-no here. Story lines are simple and usually revolve around issues of courtship.
From there, books gradually become larger and more complex and, yes, contain larger and steamier love scenes. But, beyond these confines, romance has branched out to encompass other genres.
Contemporary indicates stories set in the here and now, books about the sort of people we see every day. They can range from the sweet, discussed above, to varying degrees of sensuality.
Inspirational romances, again light on the love scenes, are books aimed at the Christian market, stories of faith and how it helps couples through difficult periods in their lives.
The fantasy subgenre has become popular over the past few years. These are stories of dragons and wizards, castles and magic kingdoms. They often require the creation of an entire fantasy world. think Harry Potter all grown up.
Futuristic romances are much like the fantasies, only they’re set in this world, hundreds or thousands of years in the future. These books need a writer who can take things in this world – travel, weapons, government, etc., and imagine what they will be like in this future world.
Multicultural romances are another new subgenre. These are “romances of color” and have heroes and heroines of Latino, African American or Asian culture. Most have their own trade name, like Kensington’s Arabesque and Genesis.
Time travel has several variations. Sometimes a character from the past ends up in the present, or a character from the present goes back to the past. Or, they can travel the other way, with someone from the present journeying into the future or vice versa. To take this to the extreme, how about someone from the future travelling into the past. I believe Star Trek did a segment on this, when Captain Kirk and members of the Enterprise crew traveled back to the old west.
The Foundation of a Great Romance Novel – http://www.suite101.com/article.cfm/how_to_write_a_romance_novel/99944/1
The world romance writing has changed drastically in the last few years. This genre consistently claims more than 55% of the market, steadily gaining more respect, and earning a more savvy reader. The old ideas of formula writing are giving way to new, dynamic sub-genres, and bold new publishing companies, who are willing to gamble on new authors. As an editor for one of those companies, I’m constantly asked the one question which is on every writer’s mind, ‘How do I get published.’
The new markets make it hard to find an answer to that question. One which enables a single manuscript to shine above the rest. However, weave character and conflict together, and a good writer can write a story which does just that. While I never advocate writing without preplanning, I will admit that plotting is not important, when these two elements are the story’s foundation.
When an editor picks up a submission, they are only concerned with how it makes them feel as they read. The story, characters, and plot are second to the emotions they incite in the reader. Characters are pawns; A writer uses them to arouse feelings in the reader. They are not the object of the romance story.
First, single out the emotions you want the reader to experience. Then use these to create a heroine everyone can cheer for. The hero shouldn’t be a ‘to die for hunk,’ but a soul mate who forces the heroine out of her comfort zone. Each create tension, which fuels their passion and love. This creates emotions so strong the reader can feel them on every page. But, this is not enough if you want to write a great romance story. You need to have things get in the way of their perfect courtship.
Conflict is not ‘bad things happening to good people.’ Putting opposites together is amateurish in the romance genre. Today’s character’s actions create situations which force them to face things they would normally avoid. This is a powerful writing tool, especially if your heroine and hero’s desires or needs create the conflicts. Beware of the temptation to add a situation which a character did not cause. We call this an author accident, and it flaws many romance stories. Instead of playing god, let the characters choose their own destiny. If you want the heroine to move, then she must do something which causes a series of events that force her to relocate. Don’t have her boss walk in one day and fire her.
You can create dynamic hooks, and introduce intimate scenes, with this technique. A good romance writer will create a series of events that leads the characters, and the reader, to the moment when the hero and heroine commit to each other. These events can be built on a character’s inability to control their lust, their desire for intimacy, a need for acceptance, or any other personal motive. This is called, cause and effect, or action and reaction. These create scenes which build toward the climax, and black moment, but not the resolution.
Before you sit at the computer to write the story, you must measure the character’s growth. It is this maturity which leads to a satisfying resolution. Most people hate reading a romance novel where two people, who don’t deserve it, win ‘the brass ring.’ The characters in a well-written novel will mature, heal, and grow. These changes will be strong, deep, and make them worthy of having all their dreams come true, and catching the perfect mate to boot.
The sole purpose of the romance story is to entertain. The avid romance reader wants an emotional escape, and a happy ending from all their books. There are many ways to meet the reader’s demands. The smart writer knows this, and uses it to become a published author.
Female Archetypes – http://www.suite101.com/article.cfm/how_to_write_a_romance_novel/101775/1
This month I will spend more time studying characters. The heroine is the heartbeat of a romance novel. Her goals, desires, dreams, troubles, and strengths drive the story forward. Her motives give the story strength, and her weaknesses cause us to cheer for her. The author promises the reader they will read about two people who are made for each other. These people will fall in-love, but not all women have the temperament to love deeply, express themselves passionately. Not all women enjoy to lose themselves reading a romance novel. A good romance author knows what types of women fit into a romance novel, and what types don’t. You, the author, needs to understand the market, and why certain readers are drawn to a particular story before you can pick the perfect heroine. Let’s say you write about a woman whose nurturing side enables her to defeat a large corporation that wants to take over her hometown. At first glance the heroine should fit the Amazon archetype. However, the Amazon may be willing to die before she surrenders her independence, but will not risk everything to save others. You also need to ask yourself if the Amazon personality is the type of woman who reads stories like the one you are writing. Problems are created when the author puts her wants and desires before the reader’s. The romance reader wants a story that touches her heart. But, to do this she must bond, and relate to the heroine. When the reader, the main character, and the story are all focused on the same things, the author has written a balanced novel. When this doesn’t happen, the reader feels let down. The nurturing woman, who wants to read about a woman who takes care of the entire town, won’t understand the Amazon’s motives and goals. Readers want to read about someone like them. This doesn’t mean the Amazon character can’t fit into this story, with some small changes. If the company is a foreign one, that is exploiting our natural resources, and dumping toxic waste, and the heroine is a federal agent, you’ve created a balanced concept. This book won’t appeal to the first reader mentioned in this article, but words like federal agent, conglomerate, and exploiting will work like bait to attract a reader who understands and admires the Amazon personality. In the last article we mentioned making the character for the story, or plot. This article is going to take that one step further and suggest that you make both fit the reader’s desires. Every time you read a book you should ask yourself why you liked it, or don’t like it. Authors study character archetypes and human personalities soon find a link between the reader and the books they like best.
Knowing your own personality may explain why your books lack strength. If you are the Amazon type, but write about characters who are nurturing, you’ll only be able to write two dimensional characters. Especially if you haven’t studied human nature. This doesn’t mean you need to spend weeks reading psychology books. There are many good character books on the market. Some deal with archetypes and others deal with personality types. Each one breaks the characters down by their wants, desires, needs, fears, and typical goals. They explain how a character will react in certain situations, and some even suggest at the types of men this woman will be attracted to. Some of the female archetypes are listed here, and with a brief explanation of how they will move a romance forward. I’ve also given a brief explanation of the types of man that they will fall instantly in-love with. The Seducer is not an immoral woman, although conflict can arise when others see her this way. She is a strong woman who won’t let others tell her what she wants and needs. She enjoys life and makes the most out of everything. She is never the beauty who doesn’t know it in a novel. This woman would have experimented until she found her own beauty. She won’t be the little mouse who wastes years of her life in a corner either. She is the problem solver, who sees all of life’s problems as mere bumps in the road. She needs a man, a connection to fill her life, but is so afraid of ending up with the wrong one that she gets won’t make a commitment. She isn’t callous. She’s a healer. Society may now slander her, but her heart is true, and she will shine in the end. So, if you want your heroine to fall in love at first sight then don’t choose this heroine. When creating this character think of the girl who flirted with all the boys, was the president of all the ‘cool’ clubs, and ended up as the homecoming queen. At the school reunion she is still single, but lacks the trodden down look of defeat we think she should wear. To challenge this woman, and cause conflicts, you might want to pull the rug out from under her. She hasn’t planned for the future, so she will be unprepared. She works with others, so is a typical con artist’s victim. She often, impulsively, gets into situations she later regrets. When all is said and done, she needs to be loved, and she needs to stop using other people as a gauge to measure her own worth. If you are thinking of a Taming of the Shrew story, then pick a man who is today’s ideal of a loving nurturer, and you just might have a hit.
The Feminist, or Amazon, is the nurturer of the sisterhood. Surrounded by horses and dogs, she becomes one with nature. If anyone can hear the wind whisper it will be her. There is nothing to fear in her world. She will walk alone at night, and keep the doors unlocked. She is the last primal woman, so in-touch with her basic instincts that she remembers numbers and facts by making information fit a pattern. This woman does fit our example of the federal agent because she hates authority, and its lack of concern for the lives it destroys. This makes her seek out jobs that give her the chance to defend others. Don’t underestimate her, she will win at all costs. Her only fear is losing her freedom, or the ability to care for herself. You cannot make her the victim, because she will chose to die – or kill. She is strong, both physically and mentally, so she will escape in such a way that her attackers implode and destroy themselves. This irrational and stubborn woman seems to go out of her way to avoid convention at all cost. But, don’t ask her to champion the weak, or the vulnerable, they repel her, because she fears becoming one of them. Many readers dream of being this woman. We envy her freedom, and power but when all is said and done she a man will need to prove himself before she will consider loving him. Even if she does fall for a man, it will be a friendship, an alliance. Maybe, several years from now, she will love him passionately and with abandon, but not within the confines of your novel. Societies Favored causes the rest of us grief because she perfect. It doesn’t matter what role destiny gives her, she will strive to do it better than the rest of us. She will stand beside her man against the feminist, even wearing an apron and high heels to make her point. Her strength comes from the men she makes alliances with. She will not sleep with a man because of lust, and she will never fall in-love quickly. Her hero must become a trusted friend, and the relationship’s boundaries must be well marked. She will know what she must give, and what she will get, before she risks a relationship. This woman is smart. You will find her in the courtroom, and in the corporate office. She believes she belongs to the boys club, and is devastated when they backstab her. Give her a challenge that can be mastered, and she is happy. Don’t be surprised if she solves a problem no one else can. In return she wants to live the good life. Her goal is to enjoy the best of everything.
Forcing this woman out of her comfort zone is easiest if you ruin her perfect, orderly home and life. Have the men in her life cross the boarder and demand a payment she didn’t expect, or have them leash her and treat her like those women she sees are below her. The man in her life will be self made, or a man of the earth. He will not change his mind, and doesn’t need a woman’s support to define his masculinity. The Mother type is motivated by a sense of duty. Unlike Societies Favored, she keeps her house and home a warm and nurturing place, because this is her goal. Having a family has been her goal since childhood. The mother can become a martyr if others are in danger. She will fall in love quickly if the man is strong and expresses his loves her. She wants someone to take care of her, and is happiest if her support makes him a success. If you match her with a man who can open her world, and show her how to be an equal with others, without making her feel like a doormat, she will fall hopelessly in love. The Queen is powerful because she is the twine that holds her world together. She is in control, but totally dependent on the other players in her world. This woman is loyal to a fault. She needs to be the focus of everyone’s attention, which is the source of most of her conflicts. She will fall in love with a man who needs a strong woman at his side to reach his full potential. The duties that fall on her will be done perfectly, no one can fault her. She will thrive on her roll in society, but her children may feel alienated unless her husband values children. Taking her husband, or children away is the same as killing her. She cannot cope alone, or out of control. Don’t put her with a king or dictator or he will steal her roll and she will leave him. If you introduce a hero who doesn’t need to marry, but feels pressured by society or business to marry, then you will have instant sparks. The Loner doesn’t need anyone, in fact, she is happy to be alone. She makes life look easy, and is scorned by both Societies Favored and the Feminist because she is seen as weak. Her response is to laugh. She doesn’t care what they say, and may even pity them.
Aroma therapy, herbal medicines, feeling in-touch with the paranormal, and ancient wisdom are the norm for her. She understands concepts of balance and harmony, although she can’t always make us understand And, if we feel a sense of fear because she appears to read our mind, or can offer a prophecy, it is only because she is so sensitive to her surroundings. You won’t find her in crowds, but not because her expressive gestures and manners are inappropriate. She is safe in her own environment, where nothing can intrude and there is nothing to fear. A strong man who doesn’t demand her attention, and is a bulwark between her and society, will steal this woman’s heart. You can match her with a similar man and they will become soul mates. Or, you can match her with the male equivalent of the seducer. She will fall in-love with both quickly because they won’t force her into places she doesn’t want to go. The Teacher is the thermostat of society. She strives to enlighten us all and bring us into our own places of peace and happiness. She is the mediator. She has a link with the spiritual world that far outshines the theories of any religion that society tries to create. You won’t sway her judgement. She won’t make a move, or decision until she hears the whole story. People feel upset because she always wins fights, or is always right. This happens because she doesn’t make a move until all the facts are on the table, and every side of the story has been told. Don’t be surprised if the educated, and religious resent her. They can see her unexplainable knowledge and peace and will see it as a threat. Put the Teacher with a man who wants to love her, but doesn’t need to love her, and she will give freely of herself. Put her with a man that ties to ‘take’ from her, whether it is love, sex, or power, and she will destroy him. She cares about the same things the feminist does, but sees the weak and hurt as humanities problem, not a woman’s problem. She will pick any quest, or destiny and carry the torch until the end. Her heart yearns to connect to something greater. Her choice of a hero would be a human activist, or someone who fought for the helpless. The Innocent will remain a child forever. She will stay close to her parents, and when they are absent will seek a parent figure to take their place. But, don’t expect passive submission, a teenagers rebellious streak lurks beneath the surface. The search for security, and freedom from societies demands will motivate all her decisions. A strong man, similar to the Amazon woman, can release her to become more like the Teacher. She will follow him because he is capable of making decisions, but releases her to be free, and at the same time he is strong enough to fix things when she makes mistakes.
These are the basic female archetypes. Use them to create growth, and to pick the right man for your heroine. Put the right woman with the right male, and no critique partner will claim your character’s motives are weak. Give her the right cause to fight for, and create conflict using her fears and you will touch a deep cord in the readers. If you write the type of romance that requires a woman to go to bed with a man after a couple of meetings, then don’t pick the Feminist or Amazon. The Seducer or Innocent would be your best bet. They have clearly defined needs, but also, the right man can help them grow into a stronger woman. Take a look at your story, and pick a heroine. If they fit together smoothly, like they were made for each other, then you have balance. This is not wasted time, you will be rewarded by the number of readers who love your book and praise your skills.
Character Motivations – http://www.suite101.com/article.cfm/how_to_write_a_romance_novel/102604
In the last article I wrote about Heroines. It seemed natural that the next article would be about heros. I asked the students in my courses at universalclass what character traits made a hero. The answers were amazing. Most people still think a hero is kind, responsible, and brave. Why? This limits the types men who can fill the role, because not every male archetype can make the perfect hero. Actually, only three archetypes meet the demands of the current romance market.
If the romance genre focusses on just three male character types, or personalities, then readers would lose interest quickly.
It did not take me long to realize that a hero’s motivations are more important than their personality type. This is why I decided to rewrite this article on character motivation.
Why do people fall in love? Why would a paraplegic climb a mountain? Why would a man run into a burning building for a child? Why would a woman risk prison to expose a government conspiracy? Why would a woman fall in love quickly when she has not healed from the pain of a betrayal? Why would a hero fight the odds, and risk everything for a woman’s love? The answers are found in a basic understanding of our human motivations.
Many writers do not understand what true motivation is. It has little to do with a character’s history. Simply put, motivation is the urge to act in a specific way, at a particular time, to fulfill a basic need.
When a person is well motivated they show three characteristics:
1. They are energized. These characters do not think about doing something, or plan, they do. They move, act, react, and work hard to reach their goal.
2. They direct their energies toward reaching their goal.
3. They have differing intensities of feelings. The stronger a person’s desire to be loved grows, the more they are willing to sacrifice to reach that goal. There comes a time when their passion climaxes because they finally have what they needed.
When the hero and heroine decide to take their relationship to the next level, they should express these three characteristics.
However, creating strongly motivated characters requires more than just making the characters act well motivated. A writer can build strongly motivated characters by including the four basic motivations: instinct, drive-need, incentive, cognitive. When all four motives are woven together, the character will be well motivated, no matter how the odds are stacked against them.
A writer only needs to look at the world around them to learn some of the Basic Human Instincts. We have all seen the following examples. Woman over eat and withdrawal when rejected. This same woman might take extra care of her body, become animated, and social when in a relationship. Men will be protective in a relationship, but if their girlfriend does not meet their needs they become suspicious. Couples cling to each other, but if one person in the relationship takes the love and affection without giving back the couple drawes apart. These instincts are not things we consciously think about, they just happen.
The next motivation is based on the Human Drives and Needs. Everyone can list the needs: food, water, safety, oxygen. There are other needs the characters must have. Every romance author weaves their story around a character’s need to be loved. The need the belong to a social group, a family, is a strong one. Characters will also have the need to be safe, comfortable, happy, and contented.
The second part of the third motivation is the character’s drives. The ‘need’ produces a ‘drive.’ This is a tension the character must act upon to reduce or relieve. All romance writers are tempted to eliminate tension by allowing the couple to engage in different levels of sexual activity. But, there are more motives that can be used to create twists and climaxes. ‘Fear’ and ‘excitement’ are powerful. They will force a character to take chances. ‘Power’ and ‘wealth’ keep young lawyers in the office for eighty hours a week, even at the cost of their relationships. A writer should use more than sexual gratification and desire drive the hero into a relationship. Despite what our father’s told us, men want more than one thing. The Incentive Motivation is easy to explain, and incorporate into a romance novel. The character will receive external stimuli, rewards, and other perks that motivate their behavior. This one causes several problems. These incentives must match a character’s archetype, if not, the character is poorly motivated. An Amazon archetype character will not be motivated to work harder for a raise, but she will work harder for a corner office. This same character will not fall for the boss’s son. What does he have to offer her? However, a rancher may offer her all the freedom she can manage.
At the same time, a writer who is motivated by the need to be nurtured will write about this without realizing that not all women want that from a man. Another woman might might want safety or prestige. A writer must carefully mould the character’s motivations to fit the character’s archetype.
The fourth motivation explains why people enjoy being in relationships. The Cognitive Motivation makes the characters engage in an activity because it is fun. A character might work dawn to dusk on a ranch because they love working outdoors. Another character may love mountain climbing, or sky diving. These do not fulfill a basic need, but characters are driven to do them because they find enjoyment in the act. This is a good one to include. It will show characters who are emotionally healthy enough to enter into a relationship.
Marriage, or belonging in a solid relationship satisfies several of our needs: to excel, social bonds, to nourish and protect others, independence, to influence others, orderliness, and for fun. These are all satisfied by belonging in a strong relationship, but only as long as the hero is a true hero. When writing romance, make sure the couple satisfies these needs in each other. In Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, the need to be loved is number three out of five. But, the top two are met by people in love. The fourth level is the need for achievements, gaining approval, and recognition. A good relationship comes with its own cheering section. Both people work together to meet this need in the other person. The fifth level is the need to fulfill one’s unique potential. When writing romance a these needs can be met by ensuring that each character’s success is dependent on the other one. The readers do not need to have this information spoonfeed to them. As the heroine’s needs are met, the reader will feel a sense of satisfaction. So, don’t waste time trying to narrate this into the story, just let it happen.
Writing a character outline is only useful if it includes the character’s needs, and how these will be met in the story. Check the character’s motivation. Keep them strong and consistent throughout the entire novel.
Why is all this technical jargon important to romance writers? Simple. A man who does not meet the heroine’s needs is not her hero.
Flirting: Part 1- http://www.suite101.com/article.cfm/how_to_write_a_romance_novel/103742
Flirting is an art, a primal instinct. People express their willingness to accept another’s advances with their body language. Understanding this will improve a writer’s ability to touch the reader’s emotions. Not understanding what are normal, instinctive responses to attraction, can put a writer in a difficult place. All writers complain about ambiguous critiques that claim a character’s actions are unmotivated. This happens in the romance novel when the writer doesn’t take the character’s body movements into consideration. Looking at flirting can have a double benefit for romance writers. It can be used to improve the character’s motivations, and it can be used as an editing tool to correct relationship problems in the story.
Lets use the example of two characters who meet at a restaurant, both are high powered executives. It is natural, and flirtatious, for them to appear confident and self-assured. But, if they start to argue, the heat is turned off. If the writer has this couple arguing and then has the heroine thinking about how handsome this man is a critique partner may consider her poorly motivated because she sent him a clear ‘back off’ signal. Her determination to make her point was a clear, she is not interested.
So, what is flirting, and how can a writer use it to subtly ‘push the reader’s buttons?’ To start we need to break the act of flirting into categories.
The first meeting between two people is usually awkward. A woman’s signals are subtle. A man’s ego is fragile. He would rather she made the first move, but women are turned off by men who stand back and wait. Rightly so, because a man who doesn’t have the courage to make the first move is probably not a good provider and nurturer. This man is definitely not hero material. This is what the flirting game is all about, finding a good, responsible mate.
The first indication that a person wants another’s attention is their eye contact. Eye contact and a smile will reassure the other person that it is indeed their attention, and not someone else’s, that is being sought. Often a woman can set a man at ease by shaking his hand. To men, this is intimate and friendly. If a woman wants to attract a man, but he isn’t catching her signals, she can separate herself from her group of friends. This leaves her in a more vulnerable position, which does two things to put a man at ease. The danger of being humiliated in front of her friends is eliminated, and the illusion of separation suggests an element of trust. A writer can do this in the office by having the woman leave a board meeting to retrieve some files and running into the hero. Many writers make the mistake of putting everything in an intimate setting, which is clumsy, and totally not necessary.
If they are interested in becoming intimate they will also whisper to the other person. This can also be done at a board meeting. Our couple may not like each other yet, but if she has to whisper into his ear, explaining some point of the company’s presentation, the reader will pick up on the hints.
There are several things a woman may do unconsciously that will attract a man. She might cross her legs, or wear interesting jewelry, especially earing, which draw attention to the jaw line and the neck. These are erogenous zones. The writer may only suggest that the female character removed her earing to answer the phone, but this is enough to stir something deep in the reader, especially if told from the man’s point of view.
A woman looking over her shoulder and smiling is making a movement that is considered flirtatious. A writer can utilize this by having the woman in a restaurant, waiting for a business meeting. She hears the head waiter welcome the man by name, so she turns her head, and smiles hoping to make a good first impression. A writer who includes enough detail to fully exploit the flirt will ‘trigger’ the appropriate emotional response in the reader.
Keeping with the restaurant theme, a good attraction for any man is to watch a woman politely, but firmly, reject the advances from a male. Especially if the hero feels that other man is inferior. A woman with enough confidence, and poise, to reject a man without hurting his feelings is very attractive to a man. The fact that she has just proven to be very selective is extremely desirable to men.
Flattery is a definite no-no. While many people suggest making coy remarks and suggestive comments, it is considered immature. Remember, the heroine must always remain above reproach. She must have grace, and with that comes good manners and good posture. Both attract men of the hero variety. She will be honest and sincere, politely holding her own and setting her own boundaries. This will let the hero know she can be trusted.
A couple who are interested in each other, even if they do not know it, will move toward the next step. They will ask questions that require answers, and that express an interest in the other person. They will also focus their attention on the other person. Our couple in the restaurant will stop looking at their surroundings, paying attention to the waiter, or listening to the music as they become more focused on the other person.
A good writer will not have them noticing the other character’s beauty at this point, but they will become deeply involved in the conversation. A romance writer must remember not to blatantly spell everything out for the reader. Subtle clues, like having the heroine borrow the hero’s pen, or having him offer her his last donut, are enough to trigger an emotional response in the reader.
The next step would be the validation of the other person. Whether this couple rejected each other years ago, and are in competing businesses, here is the place where they admit the other is good at their work, competent, and well suited for their lifestyle. This is done even if it is done reluctantly. This affirmation may be offered in a brief comment, but it will foreshadow the coming relationship, and prepare the reader emotionally.
This is only part of what is involved in the flirting process. We have not touched on the first touch, or the acknowledgment. I’ll finish this article in next month’s instalment to Suite 101, which will come out in a couple of weeks. I would appreciate any questions that might help guide the next article. Now, here comes the fun part, go try these tips on your spouse and let me know how well they work.
The Art of Flirting: Part 2 – http://www.suite101.com/article.cfm/how_to_write_a_romance_novel/103825
There is a pattern followed in the way people flirt. First, there is eye contact. This is followed by an indication that the attention is wanted. Third is a conversation that may lead the couple toward close physical contact. The two people will then start to lean into each other’s space. They may lean forward when talking, and let their personal ‘space’ overlap with the other person’s. The woman may take a more relaxed position, while the man will sit up, move closer, and become more attentive and animated. As they become comfortable physcially they will ask personal questions. These open ended questions will encourage the other person to respond by giving intimate details about themselves. However, if either is nervous they may ask questions that challenge the other person. They are testing for a defensive, aggressive, or hostile reaction.
Next is the accidental touch. Both parties know this will happen, because they are moving closer, but when it does they often step back and assess the other’s reaction. This is the stage when humour will enter the conversation. It is at this stage that a person will make the first mistake. They will start to follow the other person around, acting needy, or demanding, or they will say/do something that is insincere.
Flattery may be the norm among the rich, or those looking for a fun night out, but it is frowned on by the down to earth man. He will not flatter the heroine, nor will he want to here empty praise offered him, or anyone else. The problem at this point is not that one of the people are being rejected. It is that they are starting to act rejected when they didn’t have anything solid to be rejected from. In simpler words, you can’t be rejected from a non-existent relationship. If the couple make it past this stage than mirroring occurs. This is easy to do in the romance story. Both the hero and heroine may signal the waiter at the same time. They may both rise when another person approaches. It may be even something awkward. They both reach for a file spilling the contents on the floor.
This is where they discover what the other person really wants. A truly romantic encounter is growing and maturing slowly. The couple will be in no hurry to delve into a more vulnerable area. This is not the time to let the characters kiss. Do not make the mistake man writers do and write the obvious. This is the time to have the hero return the heroin’s portfolio, only to find that she lives in a small apartment by the park. Now he must decide whether to let her know that he has seen the poor woman behind the corporate mask. Maybe, the heroine returns the hero’s portfolio and learns that he isn’t a cowboy, but a wealthy rancher.
The next step moves the couple toward a serious relationship. Their social network expands as they meet people from the other’s life. That is if everything is going smoothly.
There are many subtle things that can stop a relationship before it starts. Today, many writers use a wounded or tormented heroine in their stories. However, the vibes a woman like this puts off will warn away most heros, because they are gentlemen, or have a sense of honor. So, how should the heroine and hero act so they do not give off the wrong ‘vibes?’ They should greet each other strongly, with a positive attitude, and a handshake. They should make eye contact and repeat the other person’s name. If they are meeting at for a business meeting, they will mention something about the other’s business. This is called validation. If the couple meet accidentally, they may ask questions, or chat about the circumstances that brought them together. The woman may distract herself by playing with a piece of her clothing, or another prop. This indicates that she is not willing to become personal yet. Although, the male may find it intriguing.
As the relationship progresses the couple will whisper. All couples have secrets that they share. This is often overlooked in the romance novel. Another thing that romance writers overlook is nicknames. The hero may not create a nickname for the heroine, but he will call her by one that she is familiar with.
There are some ‘Don’ts’ of flirting etiquette. When one character decides they like the other, or are infatuated, don’t have them sit around and wait for the next chance meeting, nor should they sit back and make the other person approach them. Never let the heroine cling to the hero. Many times in a romance the heroine has no life away from the hero. This is almost as bad as having her flirt or tease him. If she is thinking lustfully, and ogling him, she accept any intimate advances he may offer. Make sure that your character outlines indicate that the characters are physically and emotionally ready for this relationship.
Don’t forget to use the sense of touch touch. Psychology studies have shown that a casual touch will impact the moment in the couples memory, and the reader’s. There are also visual things that are attractive. A man who can sit still without drinking or smoking is attractive to a woman. A woman who plays with her hair is attractive. A relaxed man is attractive, while a woman who is dressed nicely catches a man’s attention. A man who gives a woman a quick glance will attract her. This can be done while the man is reading. He glances up and catches her attention, then returns to his reading. This is usually done in a succession of three glances, the third bolder, and diverts his attention from his reading to his companion.
When writing, keep erogenous zones in mind. The instep of the foot is more alluring than the heal. The wrist is more attractive than the palm or fingers. The nape more stimulating than the neck. The eyes are always a safe bet, especially if the hero is taller than the heroine.
The position a character takes in a room can say a lot about their personality, and their willingness to engage in a relationship. A man who picks a corner booth in a restaurant, and than takes the seat by the wall is making a very dominant, confident statement. A woman who takes the same seat may be seen as timid, insecure. Also, when men walk they move in a straight line. When women walk they zig-zag, moving around things. This is done instinctively, without thinking. A heroine who marches into an office, makes a straight line to the hero’s desk and sits without making eye contact or smiling is making a very aggressive statement. This woman is not going to think, about how handsome the hero is, at least not at this encounter.
The writer should keep in mind that flirting is a natural instinctive part of our human nature. We all do it, or chose not to do it, for our own reasons. Just make sure the character stays in character when flirting. The woman who appears to be a ‘loner’ will not flirt. Give her a male neighbour with whom she is friends and the reader will believe that she can flirt. The heroine can also do things that indicate an unwillingness to engage in a relationship. In my novel, The Pledge, my heroine rubbed her palm when she was nervous. She rubbed her palm, and spoke in short sentences. This was all the reader needed to understand the message.
Whether the heroine does, or doesn’t want a relationship at the beginning of the story, keep her behaviour and attitudes consistent. Make sure, if she needs to learn to trust, that flirting comes after the trust.
Make sure that both characters share a lot of things in common. The truth is, we flirt with people who look like we do, and who share our interests. Both characters must be impressed with the other person. A hero may be enamoured by the heroine’s innocence and beauty, but unless she has other qualities that he finds impressive, the relationship will not continue. To do so would create a set of ‘negative critiques’ that will be hard to correct.
This is the basics of flirting. There are more things we do to attract a mate, like verbal tones, and facial expressions that are harder to include in a romance story. It is easy to continue studying this topic. The time will not be wasted. It will create an emotional bond between the heroine and reader who will connect, because they understand each other. Then, when the hero puts his hands around the heroine’s waist and kisses her, the reader will sigh a breath of satisfaction, instead of asking ‘where’d that come from.’
Falling in love – http://www.suite101.com/article.cfm/how_to_write_a_romance_novel/101778
There is a pattern to the act of falling in love. Express this pattern by using the five expressions of love and you’ll write a dramatic romance that will sweep the reader away. Not all people feel love in the same way. One person in a relationship can feel unloved, even when the other person is trying hard to make things work. When writing a romance novel it is important to tap into the elements of love. In real life, a person has one type of expression for their love, but in a novel you need to include all five. If you eliminate one or two of these elements of love then some reader’s can’t feel the love come through, no matter how well written the story is. Have you ever heard someone complain because your characters jumped into bed too soon? All authors try hard to set this up well and make it realistic. So, what goes wrong? First, the reader needs to feel the emotions. You need to trigger their emotions. This is done by following the characters through the act of falling in love. The first step is the promise. The character has strong feelings, needs, that the other character seems capable of fulfilling. People falling in love start to set ourselves aside and make compromises for the other person. If we are too needy, and go too far, then we risk making a commitment to the wrong person. This is also true in a novel. Be careful if you are writing about a woman who jumps in bed with the man she’s just met. Yes, this happens every day, but you are not writing about real life, you are writing a romance. Authors accidentally trigger memories of all the reader’s failed relationships by concentrating on the acts and not the method of falling in love. The next steps enables the couple to start dreaming about being loved. This is where they touch for the first time. This leads to the first kiss. The characters may think about what they want, and are pleasantly surprised when the other person gives them what they need. In this step the other person promises, unconsciously, to make up for the pain the other one has endured. If the heroine has been betrayed, the hero must be loyal to a fault. If the heroine has been abused, this new man must live by a strict code of honor. In a good romance novel the dreams slowly become reality.
This leads to the next step where the characters bond. This is where one character’s strengths make up for the other’s weaknesses. There is no commitment yet, but they start to explore their ability to become one in spirit. As this strengthens they make a decision to commit but they haven’t acted on it yet. After this step the reader will believe the couple can have emotional, passionate sex without suffering any emotional scars. If the characters made love before this point, then their love making must change. The intimacy and trust will increase. Now the couple start to blind themselves to the other person’s faults. They want, and maybe need the other person in their life. The similar traits they share will be emphasised, and the negative ones are overlooked. An author who masters this can set the couple up for a blockbuster ‘black moment.’ Those overlooked negative personality traits explode and almost destroy both people. The last step is where the couple act on their decision. One person’s good traits and characteristics heal the other’s bad traits and pain. This is the commitment stage. Both start to work dependently. The person who is truly in love will see everything they consider a good person embodied in their partner. It doesn’t matter what the reader feels about the hero, as long as they understand why the heroine admires him, they will believe the story is true, and will be stirred emotionally. There are some quick and easy ways to do this. Having your characters feel compassion for their mate is an easy way to hook the reader. The trust and attachment must grow, and as it does, so will admiration. Your heroine must be impressed with the hero before the reader can be. Intimacy is expressed in more places than the bedroom. It is expressed in a shared secret, while anxiously waiting, allowing another person to invade our personal space, and tolerating another person’s physical closeness. Yes, there is an amazing amount of tolerance in every intimate act, so make sure your heroine allows an invasive touch. The reader will bond with the feelings your heroine feels. Making one character show concern for the other is another way to hook the reader. Sex on the other hand is not intimate. We build walls and only allow the other person so far. We are more concerned with pleasure than who the other person is. There is a feeling of possession, but at the same time we drive the other person away when they try to take too much. Often it is either sex, or love, but rarely both. This is why most romance writers fail. They try to make sex turn into love, and it can’t be done.
A person will look for a lover who shares character traits with them, and more importantly they must share ‘needs.’ Conflicts can arise if they don’t share similar ‘wants,’ but these will be overcome. Don’t ever make your heroine sacrifice a ‘need’ for a mate, this will make her appear like a doormat. When you create a couple, pay attention to their differences. Opposites attract, but only when one person admires the traits that make the other different. To make a believable romance story these traits must be linked to the character’s archetype and needs. The emotional bond between the characters and reader will break if the attraction is based on the character’s wants. The five ways to express heartfelt commitment are listed below. It is these that will trigger emotions in the reader. The first is words. This person needs constant, verbal affirmation. Yet, romance authors often stab this reader in the heart. The couple has sex, it’s awesome, then they separate to relive the experience alone. We don’t even see the couple say goodbye. This reader won’t believe the hero, and heroine love each other. But, if they share a simple compliment this reader’s attitude will change. Another way we cheat this reader is by never having one character appreciate what the other does for them. A simple ‘thank you’ would go a long way to touching the heart of this reader. The next method of showing love is through quality time. This is a hard one. A lot of romance novels put the couple together only long enough for them to have sex, or solve a problem. Some readers will see this couple as indifferent, and wonder why they keep seeing each other. When they decide to fall in love this reader will cry, ‘contrite, fabricated, and lame.’ For this reader, the characters should start the story by working together, then sharing their off time together, and finally spending time together that should be spent elsewhere. Receiving gifts has always been an expression of love but can be a two edged sword. Some readers will feel the hero is trying to buy the heroine when he gives her diamonds. Another reader will melt into tears at this genuine expression of love. Play it cool, set it up, and include other elements of love to strengthen the motives behind the gift. This would be a great way to foreshadow the lovemaking scene. Helping with the work is one expression that most women understand. Your heroine may have made the perfect supper, but did the hero help with the dishes? Authors who use dominant males should make sure they express love by taking out the trash. This will create balance, and show the hero as a strong man and not a user.
Physical touch is not the end-all expression of love that our society would have us believe it is. There are many excellent inspirational writers who never write a sex scene, but the sensuality is stronger than most books on the market. These writers know how to build intimacy from first glance, first accidental touch, first touch, through to where the couple are comfortable totally immersed in the other’s personal space. This will work for any author when each touch is explored thoroughly allowing the reader’s senses to be triggered so they feel it to. These five expressions of love should be the foundation of every romance novel. They will trigger emotions in all readers and touch our primal need to be loved. All great love stories weave these together to create a believable climax and satisfying resolution. Read a few of the classic love stories to see this method of writing romance in action.
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By eHow Contributing Writer