Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Are You Writing A Novel of Romance or Romantic Suspense?

If you're writing romantic suspense, your novel has to have danger, threats, violence, death, and sufficent romance. If you're writing romance. It has to have two believeable characters, with a conflict or obstacle, who are falling in love.
From page one, the writer needs to create a story :

1.that keeps the reader on the edge of their seats.

2. has a believable and likeable hero/heroine the reader cares about. Imperfect characters are more interesting than the beautiful woman with lots of money and no problems or the handsome billionaire with a huge yatch, homes in several countries just waiting for the beautiful rich heroine.

3.has a believable villain - a normal guy who has gone over the edge or one who is really scary like Hannibal Lector.

4.where danger and devastation happen quickly. If the character hasn't experienced something harrowing, you should rethink the story.  Danger should happen early, usually the first scene, but definitely before the end of the first chapter. And you have to keep upping the ante.

 If the heroine is being chased across country by a crazed ex-boyfriend, you can't have her thinking about the past and all the bad experiences she's had. Something has to happen to make her think he's catching up to her or stalking her. Maybe he leaves a remembrance where she can find it, a threatening note on  her windshield, or her home is ramshackled.

If the hero/heroine are not in danger,  if there have been no threats to their lives, no violence of any nature has occurred  and no deaths, you probably  have a romance.   If you want suspense, you can always kill someone.


Anonymous said...

I always wanted to write a romance, but my characters just kept stumbling over bodies so I guess I am just a writer of suspense or thrillers. Good clarification

Ruby Johnson said...

Hi Lena:
I had the same problem. I love a good romance, but I also want that edge of the seat suspense that keeps me turning pages.

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