Romance fiction is fiction’s most popular genre (category), and has been for decades. So let’s look at three essential writing tips for this genre.
I don’t say “essential” lightly. Authors want to write romance because it’s so popular… but, they want to be improve things. Nasty “formulas” are not for them. They want to rescue romance readers from their own folly.
Listen up, please… I’m begging here. If you want your books to sell, write what readers want to read, not what you want to write.
Essential writing tips for writing romance
The argument starts something like this…
“My romance doesn’t have a happy ending,” an author tells me.
“A happy ending — Happy Ever After (HEA) or at least Happy For Now (HFN) is essential for the romance genres,” I respond.
“Sorry… but if you don’t have a happy ending, you’re writing women’s fiction, not romance.”
Unfortunately, the arguments never end when it comes to commercial romance fiction. Let’s look at our tips.
1. Read romance fiction — VITAL
Many years ago, way back when I was a happy little author-to-be, I read lots of Mills & Boon, and said to myself, “anyone can write this junk, even I.”
Well, I was wrong, and right.
What I did right was read. But I was WAY wrong about the “anyone.”
Here’s the thing. Even though I thought the little romance books were junk, I got a kick out of reading them. They were entertaining — fun to read, and I raced through them.
Moreover, I knew that I could write them. It took me just three months to get a contract for a romance novel series from a major British publisher at that time.
Please understand this important truth: I knew what I was reading, BUT I wasn’t contemptuous of the books.
That’s the tip: READ. If you try to write what you don’t or can’t read and enjoy, your romance fiction will fail.
Yes, you may hit the jackpot like the Jane Austen and zombies book managed to do, but that’s not a romance. The zombies are the entertainment in that book.
2. Write what readers want to read: a happy ending is essential
See above. Everything in romance fiction leads to a happy ending. You’re writing entertainments, as we’ve said. Your books are read by smart people (mainly women, yes) who want to escape their lives for a few hours.
Don’t want a happy ending? Fine. Write whatever you like. But don’t try to palm your words off as “romance”, when you’re not writing romance.
For success… write what readers want to read. (And as we’ve said, and I’ll repeat — read so you know what readers want.)
3. Romance fiction is ALL about the emotion
You’ll take a huge step forward in your fiction writing career when you realize that readers read for the experiences. For the feelings. Readers of horror novels want to be scared witless, mystery readers want clues so that they can find out whodunit — none of this is news.
Romance readers want… Yep. Romance.
Funnily enough, I’m writing this on Valentine’s Day. 😉
Please follow these essential writing tips
You can write whatever you want to write today.
The gatekeepers have gone. However, do remember that you’re writing for readers, who want a specific experience when they read fiction. Please give them those experiences — you’ll sell more. And do remember to write a happy ending for your romances. 🙂
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