By Kitty Curran and Larissa Zageris, authors of My Lady’s Choosing, Quirk Books.
Romance revels in the thrill we get when we click with someone new who could be The One- or the One Tonight. Romance writing requires you to keep that, and the following, at the top of your mind—and heart.
TO THINE OWN SELF BE TRUE
Know your characters. What do they want? What do they like? What do they need? What do they fear? Keeping a brief list of your main character’s key traits can help guide your way through the more tangled knots of the story and intrigue you will inevitably be inspired to create.
Most of us associate romance writing with burning loins and quivering parts, but before your characters can talk about unleashing their inner desires on one another, they’ve got to talk about the driving forces of the story bringing them together. If you give your characters something tactile and workable to talk about that isn’t their own attraction to one another, you can let their desires burn in the subtextual background until you pull it forward to make it hot, hot text.
KISS AND TELL
Just like you might tell a trusted friend (or glass of wine) how you shared a charged look with a longtime crush across a room, tell us. Tell us how people taste and feel, and how senses spark and scenery shifts. Telling can be showing. Just like with skin, you can play coy or bare all.
Romance is one of the few genres that put women’s desires front and centre, so it is no surprise that it gets written off as “silly” in the way genres dominated by men do not. Screw that. Do not be afraid to get as heavy on the wish fulfilment as you want while writing your story. Do not be afraid to linger on descriptions of character desires or tight abdominal muscles. Whatever floats your boat is likely to float someone else’s. Consider your work a psychological floatation device of shared desire between yours and your readers’ imagination.
PLEASURE YOUR PARTNER
Romance writing essentially requires you to write a buddy bonding story between your main characters, with sexy times! Have a good idea of why these two would go together. Whether they are opposites who respect that the other brings things to the table that they cannot, or likeminded souls who just get each other, if we are going to believe the happily-ever-after, we need to believe these two can make it.
Nervous about your story not hitting the normal beats, or being a little too out there? Certainly, it’s worth checking with others if the story scans, but remember a little strangeness could be what sets your book apart for readers. Embrace your kookiness!
Your characters are bound to take you places you have until now only scarcely imagined. Follow your instincts, roll with the punches, and do a dash (or more) of research to keep your writing as limber as your characters’ desires.
ADVERBS ARE NOT BAD