Friday, 17 March 2017

Six Essential Elements Every Love Story Needs

What's your favourite romance novel? Now think of your favourite scene from that novel. Is it the ending when, despite the obstacles, both leads get their happily ever after? Or is it the first kiss...or the first fight?


Regardless, there are more players on stage and circumstances that helped create the tension/opportunity/obstacle that led to your favourite scene.

Here are a few handy tips for making sure your own romance story has the right support system for those unforgettable scenes!
  

Six Essential Elements Your Romance Novel Needs

1. The Rival

There needs to be a rival for the protagonist’s romantic intentions, but this doesn't necessarily mean a love triangle. This could be someone who takes time away from the romantic interest as well.

In my upcoming contemporary romance, The Right Fit, Antony is desperate to reconnect with Maxine, but his brother Marc is a controller and feels it's his responsibility to shape Antony into a successful pro-hockey player, regardless of what Antony truly desires.

2. Helpers vs Harmers


As you can guess, helpers are characters who assist in enabling the relationship grow while harmers are motivated to keep the couple apart. It should be noted that a helper can sometimes unwittingly become a harmer. It's common in romantic comedies to have a character who is truly invested in the couple's happiness, but ends up becoming bad luck by always doing or saying the wrong thing at the worst time, thereby taking the role of harmer.

In my novel, Maxine has enthusiastic support from her younger sister. However, in the end it's her own self doubt that is the most destructive harmer to her relationship with Antony.

3. External Need


This mechanism acts as a motivation that brings the two characters together.

As an example, Antony is certain his new found luck on the ice is entirely due to his one night with Maxine. Desperate to stay in the professional hockey league to pay his brother's medical bills and support them both, Antony pursues Maxine at all costs, including keeping his true identity a secret. As a result Maxine is overwhelmed by his attention and begins to believe she can love again after having her heart broken by her ex-fiancĂ©.





4. Secrets


One or both leads are keeping something from the other. The motivation for not telling the truth must be greater than the risk to the relationship.

In The Right Fit, Antony is not only keeping his true identity a secret, but also the fact that he considers Maxine his good luck charm and is using her to keep his hockey career on course. Meanwhile, Maxine considers Antony a rebound, as a way of getting her confidence back and helping her forget about her ex.

However, it's important to acknowledge that characters often lie to themselves to justify their actions/decisions.


5. Rituals



These are the cute little idiosyncrasies a couple naturally develops with each other, those shared intimacies that only they know about.

It's most effective to use when the couple is apart and something triggers the memory for one of the leads. This can motivate a change of heart at the realization that they truly need that person in their life. *cue the rush to the airport to stop their true love from leaving forever*

As a result of mistaken identity, Maxine assumes Antony's name is Ace. This leads to a nickname which creates a moment like the one described above as the name 'Ace' pops up when Maxine least expects it.   
Maxine rolled her eyes and instead told her to pick out a nail color for them both. It was a bright ruby shade and when Maxine looked at the name on the bottom of the bottle, her heart filled and then slowly deflatedAce of Hearts.


6. Moral Weight

In essence, the moral weight is how the lovers changed for the better over the course of the novel. It's always satisfying for the reader if the ending scene is a mirror opposite to the beginning where their flaws were highlighted.

At the beginning of The Right Fit, Maxine was still trying to find a way back into her ex-fiancĂ©'s arms convinced he was the only man she could have a life with. And Antony was carrying a secret guilt fueled by the belief he didn't deserve to be loved. By the end of the story, Maxine realizes she's beautiful and desirable enough for any man and Antony's past sins didn't preclude him from happiness.





Thanks for reading. I hope you found this useful! Happy writing! Please enjoy the book trailer for my upcoming release,
THE RIGHT FIT, due April 12.


1 comment:

  1. Great post, Daphne. I'm keeping this for later, in case I get lost in my plot! :)

    ReplyDelete

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...