What Do Readers Want Most in a Romance Novel?
A few months back, I was a guest moderator for the chat loop for my publisher, The Wild Rose Press. It was the perfect opportunity to find answers to this question. First, I broke the question down into smaller chunks, then cast them into cyberspace, hoping to pick the brains of any willing participants. (A big hug and thank you to every Rose who participated! :-) Over the next few days, I’ll share what I learned. Today I’ll tackle plot and scene.
First question: What is your favorite romantic plot?
Number one answer: Stories where the hero and heroine “hate” each other in the beginning. Second favorite is best friends falling in love. Both scenarios involve conflict. The enemies hate each other. The friends don’t want to ruin the friendship, or the smitten one wants to change his true love’s perspective.
Conflict. In every book, this is what gets the ball rolling. The heroine/hero needs a goal from the get go. Readers like to empathize as the heroine overcomes obstacle after mounting obstacle until she achieves the prize of true love. The fun is in the trip. What sparks will fly along the way? What predicaments will ensnare the duo as they deny their love for one another? Of course, to offset these, we need quiet moments of love, too.
Each scene needs to start with the character wanting something. During the scene she either fails to achieve it, or does achieve it, but a bigger problem now looms. Life cannot be easy, or the book is boring. Infuse conflict and passionate interactions between the characters and you will have an exciting book. I can’t stand to be bored, so I try to write plenty of conflict and humor into each scene I write. You can be sure my characters won’t have a comfortable ride until the trip is over. By then, happily ever after comes sweet.
Tomorrow we’ll talk about scrumptious heroes.