Romance is one of those genres that nobody thinks they can write. Everybody I’ve talked to assumes that you can only write it while hyped up on feels, possibly after watching a marathon of chick movies.
But romance is like any other genre–it has nuts and bolts. And techniques. And beats. And reader expectations. Just like how mystery genres involve clever murders and murderers, and thrillers involve world-encompassing conspiracies and high body counts.
I’ve read and watched plenty of romance. Any Disney flick has a love story in it. You can’t swing a dead cat in the YA fantasy genre without getting caught in a love triangle. If you’ve circulated among books and movies, you’ve likely seen a couple of romantic stories in your life. Heck, if you’re married, you’ve LIVED it.
A while ago, I set out to educate myself on how the structure of a romantic story works. Here’s what I found:
Jami Gold’s Romance Beat Sheet. This is basically a list of major romantic plot points, and where they should happen in the story. You can plug EVERY chick flick EVER into this list.
On the same page, she has a bunch of links to other blogs containing romance stuff. For me, the most helpful was this series on Identity and Essence. It also explains exactly how to work a love triangle, and why one guy is never quite right for the girl.
Now, if you combine that with Rachel Aaron’s info on how she learned to write 10,000 words a day, you’re golden. I personally can’t write 10k a day, since it requires about 7 hours of free time (yeah, right), but I’ve found her idea about the quick notes and the “candy bar scene” to be a total gold mine.
So there you are. The resources I’ve found most useful for learning to write romance. Now go forth, and write romantic entanglements without fear!