While there is no straight cut formula for writing a great romance novel, there are some basic things you should do to ensure your readers are left wanting more. Whether you want to focus on sci-fi romance or other types of romance-based novels, there are three things that you shouldn’t trifle with if you want to have a great novel at the end of the day.
Romance is all about our hearts. It has to do with that little flutter we feel in the pit of our bellies and the dreamlike sighs that come at certain unexpected moments. A great romance novel should be able to evoke those feelings of butterflies fluttering in our stomachs. Of course, it isn’t a romance novel if it isn’t charged with events that will make the heart of your reader sway in dreamy states of excitement; e.g. some intimate moments here and there, the hero rushing to save the damsel in distress…even the way he caresses her face or holds her in his arms.
Here’s a tip for you: When writing your novel, develop your character around the hero you fantasize about sweeping you off your feet. The possibility is high that your readers have had a similar desire or fantasy at least once in their lifetime and will relate more easily to your character.
Remember how teary eyed you became when it seemed like the lovers in a novel were never going to get their desired happy ever after? Remember how you breathed a sigh of relief and smiled with satisfaction when they finally overcame all obstacles and ended up together? Now, imagine your readers passing through the emotions of sadness, excitement, tension, joy and finally relief, when they turn the final pages of your novel. If you want to build the suspense in your novel and keep your reader turning from page to page, then building conflict between characters is the way to go.
The use of conflict in a romance novel is very important. Without conflict, there will be no plot. Without a plot, how do you build the obstacles which your characters must overcome before they find their happy ending? Whatever kind of conflict you choose, be it external (from factors such as family, work, distance, illness, etc.) or internal (obstacles emerging from the hero and heroine’s own minds and hearts), have a goal in mind. Your conflict should keep your reader guessing whether the lovers will ever end up together or not. It must also be strong, build tension and gradually increase as the story progresses.
The Happily Ever After
You know the beauty of writing a romance novel? It is the promise of what will be. Aside from the conflict, the thought of ‘what will be’, is that tug that keeps your reader moving effortlessly and excitedly from one page to another. What better way to reward the expectations of your readers than capping up events with a Happily Ever After?
Just as there is no romance novel without romance, a romance novel is incomplete without a Happily Ever After. Millions of people are hooked on romance fiction because they have the assurance that they will be rewarded with a smile on their faces and love echoing in their hearts. This doesn’t mean that a romance should never be sad or that bad things can never happen in your novel. It only means that no matter what happens, your readers expect to have their emotional wishes fulfilled; i.e. a happily ever after. They expect to see that despite all the obstacles that stood in the way of your hero and heroine, they overcame and found true love in each other’s arms. Failure to meet that desire is tantamount to breaking the trust your readers have in you.
Whether sci-fi romance or any other type of romance novel, if a writer neglects these three components I’ve mentioned, then that will spell the death of the novel even before it is born.
Is there a formula you follow for writing a heart-throbbing, page-turning sci-fi romance? Drop me a note below—I’d love to hear your thoughts!