Just an observation here: I tend to write more in-depth reviews about books of virtually any genre but sweet romance. Big surprise, right? Want to know why? The genre I write in is by definition predictable.
Romance: Boy meets girl. Boy loses girl. Boy gets girl back. They live happily ever after.
Sweet Romance: All the above, plus the story must deliver warm fuzzies.
That doesn’t allow for much depth.
So, to stand out, those of us who write sweet or inspirational romance must excel in other ways. Here are a few ideas:
- Create memorable, lovable characters. Think of the movies Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan starred in, especially Sleepless in Seattle. Remember the interview Tom’s character had with the radio psychologist? Of course you do–that was what got the plot rolling. I imagine I’m not the only one who can recite almost the entire dialogue in that scene. “It was . . . magic.”
- Create clever flaws in our characters instead of dark ones. My favorite was in the movie Laws of Attraction, with Pierce Brosnan and Juliette Moore, where Juliette’s character shoves Ding-Dongs in her mouth to ease her tension and frustration.
- Create a thrilling world our readers can live in vicariously–and that doesn’t have to be climbing the Andes Mountains, although it could be. One of my favorite Hallmark movies–and since it is one of my faves, it bugs the tar out of me! that I can’t remember the name–features a New York photographer at a ranch in Wyoming. If you’ve read Give the Lady a Ride, you understand the attraction.
- Create “snap”–in another one of my favorite Hallmark movies, A Taste of Romance, Teri Polo’s character has a restaurant featuring classic French cuisine. James Patrick Stewart’s character, a former firefighter, opens a restaurant featuring firehouse favorites right next door. The pranks those two play on each other are priceless!–seriously, she takes all his eggs and hard boils them, then puts them back in the fridge. How funny is that?!
- Create an electric relationship between the main characters. A Taste of Romance, Laws of Attraction, and so many other terrific movies illustrate that electricity through snappy dialogue, pranks played–and the way the “pranked” responds, and the messes the characters get themselves into. Physical attraction comes much later. There’s always something else that develops before the physical attraction does.
Many newbies (including myself) have relied upon the touch that “sends tingles down the spine” or “sparks with electricity,” but the secret to the most memorable characters and stories is cleverness.
Clever dialogue, clever interactions between the characters–develop these, and you’ll develop a memorable Sweet Romance.
Interesting post. I don’t read or write Romance, but admire anyone who does — I’m sure it is a lot more ‘tricky’ than many people imagine. The world possibly needs more of it, given all that is going on. I’ve been having a look around — you write in other genres?
Thanks for the comment, JAKA. Romance is trickier than most people think. Takes a lot of work to be that simple. 😀
I write primarily Christian Romance and Christian Women’s Fiction. I co-wrote a Conspiracy Thriller, *The Simulacrum* with a friend. That was a fun change for me.
What do you write?
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I ‘genre jump’ — the current WIP is a paranormal novel. Very dark. You co-write? I’m far too much of a control freak for that. And nice to ‘meet’ you.
I’ve only co-written twice, and with the fiction piece–*The Simulacrum*–I was given free rein over how to write the story.
These days, the only way I’ll jump too far out of genre is with my short stories. Have to develop my “brand.”
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Yes, I’m a little concerned about the brand thing. Might have to pay more attention to that.
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Great list. I always love practical examples like these. I think, for me, although all of these things are important in cozy romances, the first one is the most important. I bleed for awesome characters in any genre. 🙂
Yeah, that one’s kind of a given. Even unlikable characters can save the cat and gain a modicum of sympathy.
I believe the movie you’re thinking of is Straight from the Heart with Andrew McCarthy & Teri Polo. I love that movie!
There was another Hallmark Christmas movie from last year, One Starry Night, cowboy meets astronomer from Chicago on the way to New York, love that one too.
Kassy Paris (writing as Kasandra Elaine) http://www.kasandraelainebooks.com The Lazy M Ranch Series Books 1 – 3 available at: http://www.whiterosepublishing.com K M Paris’ Editing & Writing Services at: http://www.kmpcreations.com “Commit to the Lord whatever you do and your plans will be successful.” Proverbs 16:3
Date: Wed, 9 Dec 2015 13:08:26 +0000 To: email@example.com
THAT’S IT!!! *Straight from the Heart*! Bless you, Kassy, for reminding me!
I saw *One Starry Night* too. Loved it!