The Rules of Writing Romance
The hero should be fantastically good looking, rich and sensitive.
The heroine should be younger, less well off financially than the hero.
There must be a Happy Ever After
You must tell the story from the woman’s POV.
You must write what you know.
Okay, enough of that. Do you all know there are rules to writing romance? I did some investigating online and found lists that range from 2-3 rules, to ten or more. I flipped thru writing manuals, checked out some onine workshops, and read alllll sorts of rules. Some rules that applied fifteen or twenty years ago don’t nessarily apply now. Some rules that apply to romance, in general, won’t work in the erotic romance subgenre (like the hero and heroine can’t have sex after meeting…even if they hated each other at first sight). By that rule, menages would be out, wouldn’t they? Some people suggest that you write what you know. Other suggest you let your imagination be the guide. I’ve heard a dozen times over that the heroine can have a traumatic experience in her life, ie: rape or abuse, but it should happen in the past, not during the story itself.
The one rule I saw everywhere I looked was this one, They must live Happily Ever After. As far as I’m concerned, that HEA is the only hard and fast rule in writing romance any more.
The blurb for I’ll Be Hunting You seems to break the one hard and fast rule of romance:
What happens when a woman loses the man she was born to love? Tori doesn’t know. Declan has been her lover, her friend, her confidant — now he is gone. With grief and heartache driving her insane, Tori has become a liability to those she knows and loves.Until a fellow Hunter arrives on her doorstep with a mysterious message. You must go…Tori doesn’t want to go anywhere. But now she can’t resist. What is waiting for her is something she never dared to hope for.
Relax… it is a romance. I didn’t break the one rule that I consider to be the hard and fast, unbreakable written in stone rule. But kind of worrisome, isn’t it?
Then there His Every Desire, the book I opened with the line, I want your wife. No, I’m not using adultery as a plot device and it’s not a marriage in name only sort of deal. It’s about a criminal that beats his wife, and the hero trying to save her. But I still broke a rule, the hero fell in love with a married woman.
I’m not even going to talk about what I did in Voyeur…
The point of all of this is that rules, certain rules, can be broken. But you want to leave the reader feeling satisfied and pleased at the end, even if a few tears were shed on the way.
Writers out there… what rules have you broken? Readers… what rule or rules, in your mind, are the ones that can’t be broken?