Far from the stereotype of a trashy easy read on a sunbed, romance is a rich and diverse genre with a wide-ranging audience and an appeal that reaches many. If you’re looking to write romance fiction, then you’ll soon discover that this genre is often underestimated and not as easy to create as many writers think. It can be a difficult genre to break into as its readership are often extremely loyal and will quickly catch on to anyone trying to shift copies without the necessary effort. The following tips and tricks can help you write a captivating and emotive romance novel; guaranteed to make even the toughest of readers turn the pages in anticipation and excitement!
Balance conflict and romance to maintain interest
It’s easy to fill pages with fluffy romantic gestures and very little substance, but this won’t keep your readers engaged for long and will quickly be dismissed as poor quality. Romance stories often contain a HFN (Happy For Now) and a HEA (Happy Ever After), but to keep reader interest, you need your book to balance out the happiness with trepidation, if not full conflict. Keep ‘em guessing and end on a high note… even if it isn’t the high note the reader is expecting!
Every romance needs a respectable hero or heroine
Romance is one of few genres that needs likeable protagonists, but also for them to gain the reader’s respect: desperation is never a good look! Long gone are the days when a weak damsel in distress would fall over herself to gain the attention of a dashing prince. Instead, strong characters and head-or-heart dilemmas will be more relatable to the reader and make for a much more interesting read.
If you can find a niche, work it
If this is your first foray into romance writing, and you have background knowledge on another topic or area of interest, build this in to flesh out your story and ensure your book comes across as genuine. Carving out a niche market within the romance audience can be tricky (it’s a crowded genre, after all) but if you can find one, write it and use it. Giving readers variety within a genre is valued by all.
Respect the competition
Romance can be a crowded genre, and competition amongst authors is fierce. There are plenty of long-established writers in this field and whilst their style may now seem outdated or repetitive, they are still to be respected: most are extremely successfully in their own right. There’s a real willingness within the romance community to mentor and coach in a way you won’t find in other areas of fiction, so take advantage of this community-feel if you can; and give back where you can. Don’t compare your work to others but instead work with them to develop your own style and stories.