Top 10 Essential Elements of Every Romance Story
If you’re wondering how to write a romance novel or simply add some romantic elements to your current story, no matter what genre it’s in – then today I’m going to share the Top 10 Essential Elements of Every Romance Story. You can download the cheat sheet below.
When I started writing romance, I was completely overwhelmed with the amount of information out there: Alpha males, bad boys, meet cutes, heat levels, character flaws, emotional wounds, making the setting part of the story….the list of available advice is endless. I do not believe for a second that you can’t find an answer somewhere out there or blog post on how to write better. It’s everywhere.
But sometimes, you want someone to give you the Cliff Notes version and that’s what this is. The 10 Essential Elements or Ingredients That Make A Romance Story an actual Romance.
What are the top 10 most important ingredients inside every single bestselling romance novel today? I’m going to give you that entire list in the most logical order that you need to think of as you are plotting and planning your next romance book.
Hi everyone. I’m Lisa bestselling coauthor of snow in her seven steel series, and on this channel we talk all about romance writing specifically for Newbie and aspiring romance authors. So if this sounds like you are something you might be interested in, make sure to hit the subscribe button below. I post new videos every Monday. Now, if you saw my other video on the top 15 craft books that I am breaking up with, he’ll know that I buy a ton of books on the art of writing as well as attending a million conferences and taking a gazillion writing courses and in all of those endeavors to become a better author. I have learned some things about romance, some things about fiction, some things about nonfiction or republishing, but all along the way, I have compared compiled a list of the 10 things that I think you specifically need to think through.
If you were writing a romance novel and what all of the best sellers have in common, now the first thing you need to do is pick a romance sub genre and I have another video that goes through all the different sub genres of romance and I will leave a link to that below and the second thing you need to think about is a romance trope. So how we are two characters get together or maybe what is going to help them to cross paths or be something that they need to overcome and what you don’t necessarily need a romance trope. I would highly advise you to start out with one because two reasons. One, it’s so much easier to describe your book in an elevator pitch to a an acquiring editor or potential literary agent as well as to readers. But more importantly, it will be a really great way to attract those people to your book.
And before you say to me, but Lisa, I have this really great idea that doesn’t fit into any particular sort of trope or sub genre. I would advise you to show that and wait until you are so popular like Sylvia Day that people simply buy your book because of your name and until then just try to go with the flow and fit your book into one of those categories. You can still make it special. You can still put a twist on it. It doesn’t mean that your book is going to be like everybody else’s, but you are going to be more commercially viable in the market and you’re going to be able to sell books and make money, which thereby will help prolong your author career. Two things that I think are very important. Three is you aren’t going to have to cast your character’s specifically your hero and your heroin with all the gmcs and everything else, but everybody that should be in your book, you should start thinking about right now.
The fourth thing you’re going to do is a location. Just like with movies, you need a setting and that means where they’re going to hang out, where they live, what office building they’re at, or what part of society there. In what time of year it is, or even what time period it is. If you’re thinking about writing historical. So that is the fourth step in picking out the elements for your romance novel. And the fifth one is your meat. Cute. Now, if you’ve never heard of the meet cute. That simply means when will your two characters, your hero and heroine meet for the very first time and the sixth one is what keeps them physically together. Now this could or could not be related to your trope and you can look at other novels within that same genre, but there needs to be a reason that they are always physically together because again, like I said, if they’re not physically together all the time, how would they ever fall in love?
So I mentioned this in the top 10 mistakes that new romance writers make. And I think sometimes that’s because you didn’t pick out a trope or you didn’t really think through, uh, you know, how that, how they were going to get together, right? So just him asking her out and calling her for dates all the times is great and real life. But in a romance novel, they should have other reasons for getting together other than just romance, maybe they have competing goals, they work at the same place, they’re vying for the same promotion or are competing in a contest or something like that. Ton of different ideas and the tropes will help you to get all of those ideas sparking through your head. I’m the seventh one is what conflict keeps them apart. Typically this isn’t a physical thing as much as it is an emotional reason that they don’t get together, so maybe they need to form a business partnership together for financial reasons, but because maybe her ex boyfriend left her at the altar or stole all of her life savings or she was calm.
She has a really hard time trusting people. So while they are physically close together all the time because of the romance trope you have chosen, maybe she can’t really start to love him like him fall in love with him because she has these own personal emotional issues. Same thing for him as well. The eighth thing is relationship milestones. So when are they going to do a the light stage and then move onto the stage all the way to the your, the one stage. So these are important milestones within your book and you’ll want to think about these situations or maybe shared thoughts or conversations that would actually lean the other character to jump to that next level in the relationships. The ninth one, and I do have a video on this all by itself is heat level. So you’re going to have to decide the heat level for your book as well as when all of those things will happen.
Like when will they hold hands, when will he make it to first base, second base, third base, when will he make it a home run. So all of these things are important and again, if you’re writing sweet romance, they don’t necessarily have to do anything except maybe kiss at the very, very end of the 10th. And the last step is deciding if this is a happily ever after or a happily for now and happily ever after. Usually in pause that there will be a marriage proposal or they’re going to get married at the end or happily for now, just means that they’ve resolved other issues and they are totally happy just being boyfriend and girlfriend together. So let’s recap that list because this is very specific to romance. I guess casting your character is not so specific, but the first one is picking out a sub.
John here for your romance. The second one is picking out a romance trope. The third is casting all of your characters and giving them gmcs. The fourth is choosing a location and setting and the fifth is there a meet? Cute. They’re sat there. Sixth is what keeps them physically together. There’s seventh is what conflicts keep them apart and eight is the relationship milestones and nine is the heat level and when those will happen as well as 10, which is happily ever after happily for now. All right. I hope that was helpful and if you are doing Nanowrimo, which is national novel writing month, that happens in November and that is simply a movement where a ton of people all over the world just collectively try to write 50,000 words in one month. There is a website for it, I believe it’s a nonprofit, so it’s free to use.
You just put your word count in there. There are tons of free like blog posts and advice and things that go out. So I would strongly encourage you to sign up for Nanowrimo and at least attempt it and maybe 50,000. Is it your goal? You can adjust it and say I’m going to only do 20,000 because maybe you’re taking a two week vacation to uh, do an African safari in November. I don’t know. Only you know what’s going on in November, but if you’re doing that, you are probably going to want to do what is called Prep Tobar and prep. Tobar means in the month of October, you are going to prep for November because when November comes, you just want to write every day and hit that word count and and I’ve tobar if you haven’t plotted through this or thought through any of these 10 steps, it’s going to be much more difficult to do the 50,000 words once November comes. So I have a amazing and special deal for you. It is called the Nano Kit. If you have any questions, let me know and I will see you guys next Monday. Bye.