Over the next few weeks, I will be outlining some great romance writing tips and exercises from All About Writing’s online romance writing course, “The Guide To Writing Romance”, written by Richard Benyon and Jo-Anne Richards.
The following extract from the Introduction gives you a glimpse into the course material and the interesting romance writing nuggets that will be revealed:
Are you a natural romance writer?
Answer these questions to get a sense of whether you have a career as a successful romance writer waiting for you.
1. Do you really and truly believe in love?
2. Are you interested in why people fall in love?
3. Do you love reading about people and their lives – in books, magazines or newspapers?
4. Do you notice the way people look, how they speak and the way they behave, in public and when they think no-one is watching them?
5. Do you take a guilty pleasure in eavesdropping on other people’s conversations?
6. Do you invent life histories for strangers you see in bus queues, restaurants or parks?
7. Do you secretly feel cheated by stories that don’t end happily?
8. Do you spend time thinking about the reasons people respond to each other in the way they do?
9. Do you enjoy talking about relationships with your friends?
10. Do you read romance novels, chick-lit or great love stories?
Yes, yes and again, yes
If you answered yes to all or most of these questions, you could be a born romance writer. You have the most important attributes. You’re interested in people and you know that great love is possible.
For this introductory module, we’ve chosen a handful of our favourite secrets that will whet your appetite and prepare you for a little romantic action. Each comes with a five-finger exercise that should get you in the mood. Each of the exercises will call on writing skills that we’ll deal with in much more detail over the weeks ahead.
If you’re anything like us, they’ll excite you – and demonstrate that you do have it in you to be a writer of romance.
First Secret: Believe in love
If you write romance, you need to believe in your story – and that true love is possible.
You can’t write romance with your tongue in your cheek. It’s too obvious that you don’t mean it.
Lovers of romance read with their hearts. They become emotionally involved, immersed in the story you’re telling them. If you don’t believe it yourself, neither will they.
Countless aspirant writers of romantic fiction, have been attracted by the stories they’ve heard of the fortunes to be made in this popular genre.
With the glitter of greed in their eyes, they have set out to write a commercially successful novel – and it should come as no surprise that they inevitably fail. This sort of cynicism does not belong in the world of love and romance.
More than believing in love, you must also take delight in telling stories of love – and thinking and dreaming them. You must develop the capacity to live the story along with your characters and know, in your heart, that The One does exist.
Take half an hour to daydream yourself a dream lover. Imagine what he looks like. What does he do, and what are his interests? What does he say when you first meet and where does this meeting occur? Is it love at first sight, or do sparks fly?
If you are a man – and two out of ten readers of romantic fiction are – then of course, you know what to do!
The character that you bring to life here might not be new. This may be someone you have daydreamed and thought about for some time, and that’s fine. Jot these thoughts down and keep them. They may form the basis for a hero or heroine of your first romance.
If this extract has piqued your interest, be sure to check back over the following weeks or subscribe to this blog in order to receive some excellent advice on how to set about writing that romance novel you’ve been dreaming about.