All the Write Stuff: Romancing Your Story

It is a truth universally acknowledged that romance novels sell well.

Okay, well, maybe not universal, but the genre consistently tops the bestselling charts! And since we celebrated Valentine’s day this month, now seems like a fitting time to talk about writing romance. So, please enjoy some heartfelt romance-writing advice and resources this month.

Read Romance before Writing Romance

I’ve heard plenty of writers make cracks at romance-writing. Where others joke “may as well become an English Major,” our fellow writers joke “may as well become a romance writer.” (See point 2, Ignore the Haters.)

But if you’re genuine about writing romance, or integrating a strong romance plot in your book, you’d do well to read some model romance novels to inspire your work. A list of such books can be found at the end of this post.

Ignore the Haters

Though recent years have brought a shift in perception, there’s still a huge stigma around romance novels, readers, and novelists. That can be difficult to reckon with, but remember that you’re one of the warriors fighting the stigma!

In future years, we’ll likely continue to see a growth in LGBTQ romance books, POC romance books, feminist romance, and sex-positive literature, which take romance even further from the stigma that surrounds it.

When the haters start getting you down, try taking solace from an online romance writers group. There are numerous Facebook groups and social media pages for romance writers, as well as websites like those listed towards the end of this post.

Write Intimacy with a Purpose

Many romance readers aren’t looking for random intimate scenes; rather, they’re hoping to watch a relationship bud and grow. If you plan to write intimate scenes, remember that they should reflect the personalities characters involved. Also, these scenes should happen at natural moments, not whenever the writer wills it to be so.

Numerous romance writers also advise new writers in the genre not to shy away from naming body parts. Euphemisms, they say, can often sound out-of-place and throw off the tone of your writing.

This is not to say that romance writing must include sex scenes. Jane Austen, an early romance author, wrote little physical intimacy into her stories, yet she continues to be loved today for her carefully-crafted romance plots.

Connect with Other Resources

Whether you’re looking for popular romance reviews, more progressive romances, romance writing exercises, or articles by established writers, there’s a wealth of online resources that help you on your journey to write romance.

As usual, I’ve also highlighted a number of related craft books:

On Writing Romance by Leigh Michaels The Romance Writers Phrase Book The Emotional Craft of Fiction by Donald Maass
The Everything Guide to Writing a Romance Novel Dangerous Men and Adventurous Women Romance Writers on the Appeal of the Romance A Natural History of the Romance Novel by Pamela Regis

 

For fiction and nonfiction to inspire your romance writing, check out these books:

Indigo by Beverly Jenkins Whitney My Love by Judith McNaught Dark Lover by JR Ward
The Grand Sophy by Georgetter HEyer Outlander by Diana Albadon The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang
Call Me By Your Name by Andrew Aciman Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari Bachelor Nation by Amy Kaufman