Romeo and Juliet, Prince Charming and Cinderella, Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth—they will forever be known as the pinnacles of romanticism. People love to read about love. Since the dawn of time, we have been enthralled by the struggles, misunderstandings, tragedies, and happy endings that love-stories portray. If written correctly, a love-story can be wildly successful; but if written poorly, the book will “crash and burn”. There is a select market for sappy, harlequin novels. Most people want to read a believable, “I want that to happen to me” kind of love-story.
Dos and Don’ts:
1. Before diving into the tumultuous waves of romance, develop your characters. Give them reasons to be attracted to one another, a background, and build a plotline outside of their relationship. The world doesn’t revolve around a love-connection; rather the love-connection is affected by the world.
2. Remember reality! It doesn’t matter where your story takes place. Humans act the same, whether in 12th century London or in futuristic America. This is a concept I struggle to remember while I’m writing. I have a natural tendency to be melodramatic. And though “sappy talk” can be acceptable in certain situations, it’s best to avoid.
3. Pull some heartstrings! Death, sacrifice, longing—all cause a reader to feel strong emotion, which makes a book “bestselling material”. John Green, author of The Fault in Our Stars, has mastered this concept.
4. Don’t abuse the kiss! Select specific, intentional moments for your characters to kiss. This keeps the story and relationship thematic, memorable, and emotional. Readers will remain enthralled until they finish your book.
5. Purity is sexy. We live in a world constantly promoting physical-relationships. Why shouldn’t literature exhibit the same qualities? There are many different and contradictory answers to this question, but mine is simple. I see purity as a boarder for emotional growth. It causes my characters to develop a genuine love for one another. It also gives the reader something to anticipate, as well as keeps the novel appropriate for all-ages. This belief does not exempt hot-kissing from my novels; but when there is a steamy smooch, I do my absolute best to make it an epic moment in the story.
“Is that what I’ve been feeling all along—that twinge of need and desire in the center of my chest, beating and longing for something I cannot have? Is that what love should feel like, or is the word love really just to describe the race of emotions a human experiences during a physical relationship? If that’s true, love doesn’t describe how I feel about Kyle. He’s a promise, a connection fused deep within myself that I couldn’t undo even if I tried.”
– Cora Kingston, The Prime Way Program: Just Strength
Available as an eBook January 28th, 2014