Romance writing should have three main ingredients – emotion, emotion and emotion

I’m reading a really good book on writing romance novels by Kate Walker. I met her at the RNA conference (and she kindly signed this copy which I bought).   If you wish to check out the book on Amazon, see it here!

I love how she is blowing clean out the water, the common assumption that writing romance novels, especially for Harlequin Mills & Boom is easy peasy – anyone can do it! Because not anyone can do it. Do it well anyway.

The myth that there’s a ‘formula’ I admit even I had assumed was true, because my mother told me twenty years ago they were all ‘similar’.

The fact mother was missing is this. The titles she chose, and billions of fans continue to choose, contain the component I mention above in much greater quantity than my present manuscript contains.  Emotion.

Why did JoJo Moyes’ Me Before You reduce me to tears? It was the same with The Horse Whisperer, and Sophie’s Choice. Emotion. Deep, anguished, gut-wrenching emotion.

It wasn’t a quick fondle on the village green, on a Friday night because a newsagent’s boy has a crush on the barmaid.

These stories touch our souls as readers, dreamers, hopeful and hopeless romantics. And why not? We want to escape in our reading from real life.  Real life is full of flies in the fish pie (yes, really pissed off about that.  I had turned my back to mash potatoes to top it with and the bastards were swimming. Don’t live on a farm and have your windows open in the summer. Gross. Binned it).

This was the pie before the offending beasties took residence.

Anyway … I’ve got my plan for Book 2 … my Post-It notes ready for plotting scenes for NaNo… and guess which story I’m going to develop??? I’m so excited!!! You know it!!!  C’mon!!! Go back in time with me … Radhanagari Damsel (here’s part 4 of a serial of ten if you’re new to my blog).   I always thought this story had legs.   I’ve learnt so much since writing it and know it can be improved a lot, but it already has emotion and anguish.  YES!