In this post, we look at how romance writing makes you a better writer.
What is the best-selling genre on the planet? Which genre suffers the most ridicule from critics, bookstores, and other authors? Romance. Why? Probably because writing romantic fiction is seen as easy, unimportant, and sets people up for unrealistic goals in life – not my words or opinion.
If it was that easy, Mills and Boon would greenlight more than ten books out of the four thousand manuscripts they receive each year.
What most people don’t know is that writing romantic fiction makes you a better writer.
This is not to say that all romance is good. Some of it is truly awful. Then again, some crime fiction is only fit for wrapping around your fish and chips. So, why should writing romance, as opposed to crime, make you a better writer? And does it, in fact, do that?
6 Ways Writing Romance Can Make You A Better Writer
Because romantic fiction is the best selling genre in the world, a novelist has to create work that is better, stronger, more original than the other approximately forty-seven million other romance books sold each year.
If you are serious about your craft, then writing romance can help you:
- Master the skill to think beyond the cookie-cutter tropes.
- Master the writing discipline.
- Master subtext in action.
- Master the ability to research more deeply.
- Master subtext in location.
- Master the skill required in building romantic and sexual tension (and to know the difference).
How Many Ways Can I Say I Love You?
There are as many tropes in romance as there are sub-genres. And, without the tropes, is the book is a romance? Just because it’s romance doesn’t mean that everything is moonlight and roses from ‘Once upon a time’ to ‘and they all lived happily ever after’. A good writer will pull out all the stops to make the tropes feel original and not merely cookie-cutter scenes. And that takes discipline. Vast amounts of discipline.
Exactly The Same, But Different
Romance novels can be as fraught with danger, adventure, misunderstandings, hatred, and unkindness as any thriller. Just look at Persuasion by Jane Austen, or Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier. The difference is that a romance must always resolve with hope. It’s not always easy to bring the reader back into the real world and still leave them believing that everything is all right with the world. Compare romances such as Water for Elephants by Sarah Gruen with the movie Just Like Heaven. Two very different takes on romance, but both end in hope for the ‘happily ever after’.
Say It Without Saying It
Write a short scene describing frustrated desire without actually saying that. Your text has to reveal the character’s emotions in another way. It’s an interesting exercise. Knowing when, and how, to bring the romance and the reader to boiling point is the trick of all good romance writing. A good romance writer does that all the time, and not just in the obvious places. Once the skill of sub-text has been mastered in romance, it can be applied to every genre.
Wish You Were Here
In romance, location is vital! In the 2006 James Bond film, Casino Royale, the meet-cute between Bond and Vesper, as well as the initial flirting, takes place on a train. The subtext here is not what the characters are saying, but the fact that, the train is taking them out of their ordinary lives and into something completely new. Because of the obvious attraction and banter, we know this means romance.
There is another layer of subtext in the film’s more intimate romance scenes which are set overlooking Lake Como, a yacht, and a five-star hotel suite in Venice. Italy being the land of love, while England is the land of cold, hard business – the spy business.
Subtext is important because it adds to the necessary underlying romantic and sexual tension in the book. If you can do that successfully in the romance genre, which is far more difficult to create than it sounds, it will add enormously to the tension you need to create when writing in other genres, especially thrillers.
The Last Word
If you want to learn more about how to write romance, Writers Write is the perfect place to learn.
Suggested Posts On Romance Writing:
- A Quick Start Guide To Writing Romance
- All About The Romance Writing Genre
- The Almost Moment Is The Secret To Successful Romance Writing
- 5 Ways To Write A Modern Romance With A Classic Twist
- Why I Write Romance
- 20 Things To Remember When Writing Category Romance
- The Romantic Heroine
- The Romantic Hero
- The 4 Pillars Of Romance
- What Romance Writers Can Learn From Watching Bridgerton
by Elaine Dodge. Elaine is the author of The Harcourts of Canada series. Elaine trained as a graphic designer, then worked in design, advertising, and broadcast television. She now creates content, mostly in written form, for clients across the globe, but would much rather be drafting her books and short stories.
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