Current Release

Current Release
The Warrior's Viking Bride

Monday, May 15, 2006

The Rules of Romance

Over the last week, a course was held at Castle Park about writing for MIlls and Boon. The Times has published an article on it.
Now if the article is accurate, I am so very glad I was not there. Why? Because I hate rules.
With romance writing, there are a few very basic rules.
1. The growth of emotional relationship between the two protagonists must be at the heart of the story. It is the glue that holds the whole story together.
2. With M&B a Happy Ending is always guaranteed. The trick is to make the reader fear that the Happy Ending will not come about until the very last second. You could argue the same is true with a murder mystery, the trick there is to make the reader think the murderer might actually get away with it until the detective figures the whole thing out.
3. To my mind, heroes should always be heroes. They need to have a larger than life qualitiy about them. The hero for each line of M&B will display slightly different aspects of an alpha hero.Just as there are many different types of leadership, there are many different types of heroes. I have my own idea of a hero and heroic qualities. By incorporating those, I can write from the heart in a much better way than I could if I tried to follow someone else's prescription. So to help create your hero, decide the characteristics you like best in a leader cum hero.

But beyond that, I don't agree that Rachel must always be dark. I know a number of blonde Rachels. Or that Sophie is a silly name for heroine. Huh? That is way too prescriptive.

For every unwritten rule, there will be a story that breaks it. It all depends on the execution and the writer's talent.

No Scottish heroes? Uh, Terri Brisbin writes them as do a number of other historical writers. Saxon warriors are Germanic. Vikings are Scando Normans are French. The list goes on. It is the personality that counts.

No professional sports stars? What do you call a gladiator? Also I believe there was a very well recieved Presents mini series about Footballers wives.

The point is that what ever The Powers That Be buy it goes beyond the superficial and goes straight to how strong is this book? A really strong book whose characters linger in the mind and whose romance you totally believe can break a number of the unwritten rules because really the only rules are that the story be told within the very vague guidelines set down by each line
Writing a strong story where the romance is the over arching plot will get you far further down the road to publication than many things.

End of rant. Back to writing the wip and not thinking about the fact that my editor has my revisions and will be getting back to me tomorrow. Do I have nails left?


Donna Alward said...

I read the article. I know the instructor is a well-published author, but for every "rule" that was quoted in that article I think I could find a published book that contradicts it without much trouble.

We need to BE the heroine, so why shouldn't our heroine turn to a packet of biscuits in a crisis? It makes her human and relatable. And no woman wants a complete bastard.

LOL I must keep that article for Trish and let her have at it when she gets back...I see a whole new Pink Heart Society article.....

Kate Allan said...

Sophy is an excellent name for a heroine. ;)

Kate Hardy said...

Rules... not sure they picked the important ones there. Such as:
* make sure you fall for your hero (or your readers won't)
* start the book at a point of change
* the conflict has to be really strong and worth fighting for

Names go in phases - what was popular 10 years ago isn't now, and what's popular now won't be in five years' time. As for nationalities: Maggie Kingsley writes brilliant Scots heroes.

Agree with you re IAITE.

And don't fret about the revisions. What will be, will be. Your ed has faith in you and any further tweaks will just be to make the book stronger. (Remind me of this next time I get revisions and have the same 'my ed hates the book' feeling...)

Michelle Styles said...

I had forgotten Maggie.

I knew the no Scottish heroes was a nonsense.

The important thing is the conflict and character type, not character nationality.

And I wouldn't be me if I didn't worry...

Michelle said...

Good luck with those revisions!! :)

Your Sister said...

Johanna Lindsey had several books set in Scotland. I love those strong clan men in kilts. I'd love to read a modern romance set in Scotland too. It's a very romantic place.

Julie Cohen said...

The hero of my June release, DELICIOUS, is Scottish. He is called Angus MacAllister. Good thing I didn't know he wasn't supposed to be from Scotland. I had a lucky escape there.