First of all, let it be know that I do not read romances.
I skim them. Obviously.
Because I’m embarrassed to admit that I am a granny at heart and am a complete sap for romance, that’s why!
In all honesty, just plain romance is not my thing.
As aforementioned, I am a complete sap for romance. But I like it on the side.
Action… with a side of romance.
Dystopian… with a side of romance.
Fantasy… with a side of romance.
History… with a side of romance.
Mystery… with a side of romance.
Romance is great and all, but I need something else to be going on as well.
Recently, however, I have allowed myself to skim some just plain romances, and, armed with all this newly acquired knowledge, I thought to share my observations, namely: the building blocks of every great romance.
Step 1: Choose Your Heroine
The story will almost always center around the woman, because the intended audience of a romance is usually female.
You have exactly two options because attractive women come in exactly two embodiments: short, petite, and cute – typically these women will also have a shorter haircut – or tall and leggy, with long, flowing hair.
Step 2: Choose Your Hero
You have literally no options in this department.
He must be: tall, athletic, rugged, and gorgeous.
Apparently leading ladies have selective taste.
Step 3: Choose Your Trope
Some good options are: I’m-trying-to-sell-this-house-and-you-are-a-convenient-handyman, we’re-both-fighting-over-the-custody-of-these-children, or let’s-pretend-to-be-married-even-though-we’re-not.
I’ve also found that if one or both parties falls into a coma or tries to skip town, it builds up the angst nicely.
Whichever trope you choose, whether one of these or something new and dangerous and untried and probably sure to fail because it is not among the prescribed, just make sure that it requires the heroine and hero to be in close proximity for several weeks, if not an entire summer.
Don’t worry about thinking up a good name. Just pick something pretty and entirely unrelated and you are good to go!
Now blend all the ingredients well, and, if you want to go above and beyond, you could throw some good writing into the mix!
Now, please recognize that these are trained professionals.
I’m sure that handymen occasionally turn out to be dangerous creepers. I don’t recommend pretending to be married to someone when you’re not. And personally, I don’t see that it makes a whole lot of sense to fall in love with someone you’re in custody battle with.
Just don’t try it at home, kids!
So, tell me: do you read romance? Or do you, like me, prefer it on the side? Or would you rather romance was left out of the picture entirely (it does get tiresome to feel that romance is just included to garner a female audience. Like, “Here’s this story! Oh, and here’s some romance so the girls will read it, too!” Being pidgeon-holed is rather awkward.)?