The romance novel genre has a long history. It first became popular in the 18th century, when first published in England and France. From this point forward, the genre grew wildly and saw new developments with the passage of time – until it emerged as one of the most popular genres today!
Emotional content is the key to writing a romance novel. Romance novels are meant to be read with an emotional impact, and they do so by evoking feelings of love, jealousy, or other strong emotions.
If you portray these feelings properly in your book, it makes it more likely that the readers will be able to experience similar emotions and re-live the romance through their reading experience.
The genre introduces a new arc, the romance arc. This describes how the love relationship develops through multiple stages, from start to end. These stages are based on the relationships between the two characters and how they interact with one another.
Romance novels often feature sophisticated themes of family, love, and growth. These themes often appear in different ways throughout the story.
For example, a story may feature a character who has yet to reveal his or her true feelings for another character until he or she is faced with the opportunity to make a life-altering decision about that person.
The main characters often don’t like each other in the beginning, but grow to have feelings for one another as the story progresses.
When you write a romance novel, you’ll start out focusing on the main characters’ individual histories as they face the obstacles that life has thrown at them, developing the romance as the story evolves.
Romance is an evergreen subject. Everybody wants to be in a relationship, to find someone to share their life with. Love is something everyone wishes for. Romance novels may have a large or a small number of characters, but they all share affection.
One of the most popular romantic novel was written by Jane Austen in the early 19th century and is called Pride and Prejudice. The book was first published as a serial and then as a book in 1813.
Modern romance stories may have nothing in common with Austin’s work but the feeling of love has remained the same. The world of romance novels has changed in that it is now influenced by many different factors, such as technology and an ever-more complex society.
The development of the internet has caused the increase in popularity of online dating websites, and factors such as this have had a major impact on trends within the romance genre.
Romance stories show changes in a relationship over time by illustrating events such as growing up, finding one’s sexuality or confidence, and how these are dealt with within the plot.
Romance novels can be read in a number of different ways. They are often described as ‘a light read’ that can be picked up at any time to pass the time on a busy day – or even during the school holidays!
But romance novels also show us about our personal lives and our relationships with others. Each one tells its own story and can give readers some insight about how they can develop their own relationships.
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What is the romance arc?
The romance arc is the main driving force of a romance novel and shows how the couple develops their relationship from start to end. The story arc consists of the initial conflict, the turning point, and the climax and denouement.
The character arc shows how the main characters grow to overcome their differences, learn from the things they experience and develop as individuals.
The romance arc shows how a relationship develops through multiple stages, from start to end.
The process of writing a great romance novel requires that you first establish some kind of initial conflict between the main characters and then gradually develop their romance with each other, up until the end where they live happily ever after!
How to write a romance arc
A great start is to have two people with nothing in common thrown together. This will immediately create a sense of tension, as they’ll be forced to interact with one another and overcome their differences.
They may not even like it other but fate has brought them together, so they have no choice but to get to know each other better. As the story progresses, their feelings for one another may blossom and develop into love.
They both resist the feeling and deny it’s existence, even though they feel it more and more every day. However, they still maintain a healthy distance between them, and don’t reveal their true feelings to each other.
Inevitably, they will be forced to confront the things they really are feeling. Once this happens they will have no choice but to accept their feelings for one another
If you want your characters to become attracted to each other at some point in the story then it’s important that you develop their romance arc carefully and seamlessly.
Conflict and tension in romance novels
Key elements that make up a good story in Romance, such as conflicts, conflict resolution, and how the characters in the story change in some way, must be woven into the plot.
Conflict and tension are key to any story and are essential to a good romance novel. The more you make your characters suffer, the more action there will be in your story.
Whether it’s a love triangle, family issues or their own problems, there must be some kind of issue to overcome. If there isn’t an obstacle for the couple to deal with together then your story will lose its appeal.
It’s a great idea for the main plot to interfere with the love interest. What the hero and heroine want seem to be opposites, so they are both fighting against each other and don’t get on.
At some point, though, the hero and heroine will have to work together to overcome a problem that inevitably arises. It’s at this point that they realise that they can only achieve their shared goal when they work together rather than fighting one another.
Eventually the main characters have to team up to beat the big villain of the story and it’s around this time that they realise that they’ve been living a lie and are actually in love.
The characters will now have to decide whether to let the love of their life get away from them or if they should reveal their true feelings to one another. Once they finally reveal their emotions, their relationship will blossom and grow into something lasting and meaningful.
They find a synergy, a new strength by being together that enables them to combat whatever challenges may come their way. To keep them going and help them find a happy ending, you must make your characters overcome any problems they face together.
Heroes and heroines in romance books
The following scenarios are very attractive for readers of romance novels:
The hero doesn’t notice heroine
She has been hopelessly in love with him but he doesn’t seem to notice her. He probably thinks she’s insignificant or only thinks of her as a friend.
One is rich the other is poor
This is the basis of some great stories! Think Romeo and Juliet or Titanic and you’ll start to get the idea.
The secret is that money doesn’t matter at all to either of them, although it’s a great plot twist to make the reader feel that it really is going to be a problem. You can easily sustain the illusion that they would stay together anyway, even if they had no money and had to make puddings out of wallpaper paste.
Hero in love with heroine for a long time
She has never notices how the hero always seems to be there when she needs someone. She may even think he’s annoying. However, she still lets him help her out because she has no one else, and he is always there looking out for her.
However, over time and after several interactions with her, he finally works up the nerve to talk to her properly and confess his love for her.
Heroine oblivious to hero
In this scenario, not only does the hero not love the heroine he doesn’t even know that she exists. He might be indifferent to her or even hate her.
Example: Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice (the main character Elizabeth is indifferent to Mr. Darcy at first, but finally comes to see his good qualities.)
Hero secretly loves heroine
The hero pretends he doesn’t love her but secretly keeps trying to win her over.
Example: C.S. Lewis’s The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe (the main character is initially afraid of Mr. Beaver because he is so “odd” but eventually comes to love him.)
Different Ways to End a Romance Novel
It isn’t always necessary to have a ‘happy ever after’ ending (or an HEA for short). Some stories aren’t able to wrap up neatly and some readers are more satisfied with a not-so-perfect ending. I think that this is a really lovely idea because it allows the reader to have the ending that they personally prefer.
3 Hottest Topics in the Modern Day Romance Genre
Romance with an AI or Robot
This topic has always had an appeal for readers as it asks the question: ‘can you fall in love with a machine?’
My own answer is ‘yes’. The heart wants what the heart wants and if we’re programmed to want companionship, warmth and love then who are we to turn down a relationship with a robot?
Love is love, whether it’s between a man and a woman, a machine or another species. And it’s wrong to assume that a robot would not be able to love as passionately as a human does.
Romance between a Man and Woman of Different Ethnicities
The topic of romance is more open to letting the characters show their true colours and emotions in their true surroundings, for example by having a Caucasian character fall in love with an African American man or Asian girl falling in love with someone from somewhere else.
Falling in love with a vampire is in itself an exciting idea but the reader can also enjoy the idea of falling in love with a werewolf, faerie or another creature that isn’t from this planet.
However, there are limitations and readers will probably not be happy to find themselves falling in love with a demon, demigod or any other being that might not share many of our same beliefs as ourselves.
This sub-genre began with Beauty and the Beast, the old fairy tale. A modern spin-off has a vampire falling in love with a lady that he turns into a vampire in order to save her life.
What is Erotica?
Erotica is a sub-genre of romance and usually features topics that will appeal to the more mature reader. It uses more “colourful” language but is still very much a romance novel.
It isn’t to be confused with pornographic literature, which has nothing to do with romance. Erotica is often used as an alternative to the more explicit, graphic or “adult” romance novels.
What would make my book stand out among other romance novels on the market?
Top 10 Tips for Writing a Romance Novel]
- Look for inspiration in your life.
- A romance novel without flaws has no meaning to its readers.
- Real-life events can be translated into the world of fiction.
- Combine opposites for a dynamic story, such as innocence and experience, youth and age, curiosity and naivety, domesticity and ambition, or goodness and wickedness.
- Write the subtext. A romance novel can have a hidden purpose within it. It may be a social commentary, or criticism of society at large, or a commentary on faith.
- Let your characters play with words. Spellings and word usages should be authentic to their time and place for maximum authenticity in the story.
- Avoid clichés and stereotypes in your work. A romance novel should not appear to be part of a genre because that could restrict readers who want to embrace subtlety or originality in their work.
- Show your reader a character’s development. Don’t make a character overly predictable at the start, but ensure that she has changed by the end of the story.
- Use dialogue to illuminate characters. Dialogue in romantic novels can be used to emphasize or underscore feelings in a scene, or to set up conflicts and tension between characters.
- Give your characters quirky names, or names that reflect a life they have yet to embrace.
- Keep the writing style simple. You don’t want to use a word the reader isn’t familiar with, or an overly complex sentence structure. Sentences should be short and easily understood. Edit them perfectly for maximum clarity.
The Simple Truth About Writing Romance Novels
Remember when you were in love? You ached with emotions you couldn’t hide, you were wrapped up in the feeling of it, and your words became like poetry.
You wanted the whole world to know, to have a relationship that meant something to you. You wanted to feel adored and special. Romance is that feeling we all want to capture in our lives.
If that is true for your characters, then you have a basis for a great story and well-developed romance novels
Remember that feeling, and if you can make your readers feel it then you can capture their hearts and you will have a successful romance novel on your hands.
Can you make a living writing romance novels?
You bet! However, don’t fly before you can crawl. Start small by writing short romance stories for your local online community, online competitions or national magazines accepting submissions from the genre.
Many authors make a full-time living writing romance stories for magazines, where there is an endless demand for ‘one-off’ short stories of varying lengths.
Successful romance novelists can earn tens of thousands of dollars per year and even more if they publish their work with a mainstream publisher who will market the book like a traditional novel.
Romance authors are no different from any other writer in that the more time you put in on your craft, the better your chances are for long-term success.
Authors who write romance novels
- Pride and Prejudice Jane Austen
- Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
- Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
- Whitney, My Love by Judith McNaught
- Lord of Scoundrels by Loretta Chase
- Flowers from the Storm by Laura Kinsale
- Lover Awakened by J.R. Ward
- Charlotte Brontë
- Nicholas Sparks
- Nora Roberts
- Jude Deveraux
- Julie Garwood
How to write a romance novel and get it published
Without a doubt, in the modern age self-publishing has become an efficient and inexpensive way for the author to get his or her work out into the world.
Packaging, formatting and submitting your manuscript is a simple process that will not take you more than a few hours. You can self-publish your romance novel with e-publishing company Amazon and get started immediately.
What you will need to write a romance novel
- A structured outline, so that you know what direction your story is going in and how it ends.
- The story idea, this will be the heart and soul of your book.
- Framing the scenes-this includes making sure that each scene has a beginning (introduction of characters in conflict), middle (resolution of conflict) and an end (exit).
- Writing style: this relies on personal preference but it should be simple enough for readers to understand.
- Your characters should be complex but not too unrealistic. Remember that they are “real-life” people who can make mistakes just like everyone else does. Keep the plot active, suspenseful and with twists every so often.