Writing a Romance Novel: Really Useful Links by Lucy O’Callaghan

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Lucy O'Callaghan

Lucy O’Callaghan

The romance genre is one of the most popular genres of all time and the popularity of combining romance with other subgenres can widen your audience and make it rather lucrative. People love love. There are plenty of romance tropes to be used but each new romance story must be a fresh spin on these to engage your reader. I have put together some articles and podcasts which I think you will find useful when it comes to writing your romance novel.

  1. https://www.masterclass.com/articles/how-to-write-a-romance-novel

Romance novels fill our hearts, ignite our passions, and help us consider the nature of love in a new light. There are many ingredients to a great romance novel, and first-time romance writers will need all of them to tell an effective story. Romance bestsellers have many things in common: strong characters, a compelling love story, and steamy love scenes. Masterclass shares 5 writing tips to consider when writing your romance novel including, choose your subgenre – will it be a paranormal romance, historical, young adult, or contemporary – read as many in your subgenre as you can. The setting is important in romance writing. Not only will your setting create the atmosphere for your romance, but it will also inform your characters’ backgrounds. The main characters must be compelling. Reader’s engagement with the story will be determined by the chemistry of your protagonists. This article also advises the writer not to be afraid of romance tropes. Consider instead how you can subvert them into your own work.

  1. https://blog.reedsy.com/guide/romance/how-to-write-a-romance-novel/

Romance novels contain the intrigue, intimacy, and basic human drama that all readers love. This article from Reedsy shares seven steps from writing romance including, finding your niche. There’s no right way to write romance, as evidenced by the fact that it encompasses so many subgenres. You just need to find the right niche. Romance is all about escape so the setting must be immersive enough so the readers lose themselves in the story. The romance genre is an extremely character-driven genre, so your main couple need to be strong characters. The article discusses tried and true tropes devices that have been used successfully including, friends to lovers, enemies to lovers, and enemies to friends to lovers, one helps the other to heal, and choosing each other all over again. It also offers advice on carefully constructing intimate scenes, not neglecting secondary characters, considering series potential, and giving your main couple a happy ending.

  1. https://prowritingaid.com/how-to-write-a-romance-novel

Romance is a wide umbrella. The only essential component of a romance novel is a romantic focus and a happy, or hopeful ending. Pro writing aid discusses some of the popular subgenres of romance and how you can blend genres in any way that makes sense to you. Romance arcs require strong character growth your two love interests should have some conflicting personality traits. This creates the interpersonal conflicts that drive the romance forward. Worldbuilding is also important in romance writing. The article goes on to discuss how to structure a romance novel and breaks down each point with guidelines. It also covers romance tropes that stand the test of time, and how to pick the right point of view for your romance novel.

  1. https://nybookeditors.com/2016/10/tips-writing-first-romance-novel/

New York Book Editors tell us that it’s important to follow the formula to create a satisfying romance novel, but that there are a million different ways you can write this. You should create a heroine that reflects your average reader, a love interest who is imperfect. Make the readers fall in love with him too. The reader needs to care about both main characters, and the characters need motivation, and these are usually born in the back story. Writing sex scenes depends on the writer. You can still create a wonderfully romantic, passionate story without going behind closed doors.

  1. https://www.penguin.co.uk/articles/company-article/how-to-write-a-romance-novel

In this article, Vicky Moynes, commissioning editor at Viking, an imprint of Penguin General, shares what she looks for in a romance novel and her top tips for debut authors. First and foremost, she’s looking for a hook – something that feels unique and engaging. She’s searching for writers that understand their characters intimately, who can bring them to life and make the reader care about them too. Vicki shares her top tips for writing a romance novel including, creating off-the-chart chemistry, reworking the classic tropes, sweeping the reader off their feet, and adding at least a hint of passion. She also explains how love stories can fall into any category, as a simple act of falling in love with so universal and fundamentally human.

  1. https://podcast.savannahgilbo.com/791087/5053178

In this episode from Savannah Gilbo’s podcast, she talks about the key six scenes that every romance novel needs to have to work and satisfy fans of the genre.

  1. https://www.thecreativepenn.com/2016/08/15/write-market-romance/

Creative Penn discusses how to write and market romance with J.A. Huss in this episode.

  1. https://podcasts.apple.com/tt/podcast/how-to-craft-romantic-chemistry-between-characters/id1225211182?i=1000454024891

There’s something magical about romance, with its unique tension and allure and its will they/won’t they mystery that leads to such great page-turning material. But that material can’t exist without strong romantic chemistry between the characters in question. And unfortunately, chemistry isn’t exactly easy to define or craft, Kristen shares what she’s learned about building romantic chemistry between characters in today’s episode, from what chemistry is to the four types of attraction that can lead to romantic chemistry the key to crafting chemistry readers can believe in.

Reading as thoroughly as possible in your chosen romance genre will help you research what works. As I said earlier, people love love and feel good happy endings are what readers love. Coming up with a fresh and different angle to the tropes of romance will hook your reader. I hope you have found this week’s column useful. As always, if there are any topics you would like me to cover, please get in touch.

(c) Lucy O’Callaghan

Instagram: lucy.ocallaghan.31.

Facebook: @LucyCOCallaghan

Twitter: @LucyCOCallaghan

About the author

Writing since she was a child, Lucy penned her first story with her father called Arthur’s Arm, at the ripe old age of eight. She has been writing ever since. Inspired by her father’s love of the written word and her mother’s encouragement through a constant supply of wonderful stationary, she wrote short stories for her young children, which they subsequently illustrated.
A self-confessed people watcher, stories that happen to real people have always fascinated her and this motivated her move to writing contemporary women’s fiction. Her writing has been described as pacy, human, moving and very real.
Lucy has been part of a local writing group for over ten years and has taken creative writing classes with Paul McVeigh, Jamie O’Connell and Curtis Brown Creative. She truly found her tribe when she joined Writer’s Ink in May 2020. Experienced in beta reading and critiquing, she is currently editing and polishing her debut novel, The Lies Beneath – to be published by Poolbeg in 2023.
Follow her on Instagram: lucy.ocallaghan.31. Facebook and Twitter: @LucyCOCallaghan

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