In this week’s column, the focus in on plotting a romance novel. Romance writing is a huge industry and getting your planning right and including the key scenes required is essential. The links I’ve chosen this week look at how to write a romance novel, the key scenes you need, what beat sheets are, how to outline your story, and more. There’s a lot of great information in these links and I hope they help you get your story down and ensure you have all the essential elements covered no matter what subgenre your romance story is.
- https://kayedacus.com/2008/04/28/writing-the-romance-novel-the-seven-story-beats/ – Writing The Romance Novel: The Seven Story Beats: This is an older article but well worth reading if you want to know the seven basic beats required for all romance stories. It’s a short read but it gives you an overview of what is required. The seven beats are the setup or hook, the inciting incident, the turning point, raising the stakes, the second turning point, the crisis, and the resolution. Each of these points has a brief summary telling you where they should occur and what they are meant to do.
- https://www.livewritethrive.com/2016/08/22/20-key-scenes-for-writers-of-romance-novels/ – 20 Key Scenes for Writers of Romance Novels: This article is part of a series that I highly recommend reading if you want to understand more about plotting and setting up the scenes in your novel. This article looks at layering your scenes and each of the 20 is explained so you know what it should do. If it seems a little confusing, do go back and read the previous blog posts. The great things about the key scenes in this article is that they also give you an idea of where they should come in your book such as pinch point #1 happening at roughly 33% into your story or the pinch point 2 coming at 62%. There’s also a free PDF download with this information as well as the 12 key scenes in the lover’s journey.
- https://jamigold.com/2012/11/write-romance-get-your-beat-sheet-here/ – Writing Romance? Get Your Free Beat Sheet Here: This is another older article from the excellent Jami Gold and it includes a free beat sheet you can download for your romance story. There’s an explanation of what beat sheets are and how to use them and at the end of the article you’ll also find additional information if you are new to beat sheets and links to all the different worksheets for writers that Jami offers.
- https://www.lornafaith.com/046-how-to-write-romance-beats-with-gwen-hayes/ – How to Write Romance Beats with Gwen Hayes: You can read this article or watch the video interview. The article provides an overview of the interview highlights before offering 3 tips for romance authors. This is followed by a summary of the 4 phases of romance beats. Phase 1 is the setup, Phase 2 is falling in love, Phase 3 is retreating from love, and Phase 4 is fighting for love. There is information on each of these and I highly recommend watching the interview to get even more excellent advice.
- https://www.savannahgilbo.com/blog/romance-structure – How to Outline a Romance Novel: This article begins with an overview and explanation of the three act structure and then breaks these down and explains each one. Act 1 which is the beginning is broken down into the hook, the inciting incident, and the first plot point. It tells you roughly at what percentage of your story these should appear. Act 2 which is the middle of the story is broken down into the first pinch point, the midpoint, the second pinch point, and the second plot point. Act 3 is the end and this is broken down into the crisis, the climax, and the resolution.
- https://allthekissing.com/2020/08/plotting-a-romance-novel/ – Plotting a Romance Novel: 7 Lessons Learned the Hard Way: This article is written by a pantser and shares 7 lessons for plotting a romance. These are the lessons the author would have loved to have known before writing. The lessons include reading a lot of romance, developing characters, torturing the heroine/hero, scene and sequel, and everything happens to move the relationship further. Each of these lessons are explains and the author tells what went wrong. This is a great article if you are new to writing romance or even writing itself as the lessons can be applied to a lot of genres.
- https://www.nownovel.com/blog/plot-romance-novel/ – How to Plot a Romance Novel: 6 Tips to Sizzle: This is an article from Reedsy and it includes some great examples to explain the different tips. Tip 1 involves finding plot ideas that will promise intrigue, tip 2 is all about making sure love doesn’t come easy and there are examples of plot points you can use. Tip 3 is about goals and complications that build momentum. Tip 4 looks at misunderstandings and surprises. Tip 5 is knowing your subgenre and there is an excellent infographic included. Tip 6 is all about plotting the purpose of each section of your story.
- https://www.masterclass.com/articles/how-to-write-a-romance-novel – How to Write a Romance Novel: The final link is from MasterClass and offers 5 tips for writing a successful romance. It includes a step by step romance novel writing guide which includes choosing your subgenre, setting the scene, compelling main characters, using romance tropes, and using love scenes to show character development. Each of these is explained in detail.
I hope you’ve enjoyed all the links this week and now have the information you need to start your romance story and make sure it succeeds. If there is a topic you’d like to see me cover, all you need to do is get in touch with me via any of my social media links.
(c) Amanda J Evans