There’s no denying how appealing the romance novel industry is – after all, who doesn’t want to write about love and its many complexities? As recently shared on Romance Novels in Color, however, there are things that writers forget to do that can result in half-baked stories. While it’s easy to self-publish these days, if you want to get your work out there and reach a wider audience, it’s important to churn out quality work. Here are some things that you need to avoid:
1. Avoiding the Research
Laurel explains in a recent post that research often takes a book from mediocre to spectacular, with well-researched points not just adding to the believability and verisimilitude of a piece, but also showing that the writer put time and effort into creating the book. Some writers think that it’s alright to pass on the research, if only for the fact that they are writing romance and not something like a mystery or a thriller. Romance tends to play on the emotions, and seems to require fewer hard facts, but the truth is that even the smallest flaw in logic or deviation from facts can throw readers off. Without a backbone of great research, good storylines can seem amateur at best.
2. Creating Mary Sues
Sometimes, it can’t be avoided. Writers often insert themselves into their stories in the form of the protagonists, and because we’re human, we want to make the best versions of ourselves as possible. This results in the Mary Sue, a perfect character for whom everything seems to work out perfectly. And, of course, when it comes to romance novels, the leading man may also be something of a Prince Charming as well. As Dr. Kathleen van Kirk in a post for Adam & Eve, states “Each of us have an idea of who our Prince Charming really is. We grew up in a culture where the idea of being swept off of our feet by the perfect man of our dreams is what gets reinforced,” and this often comes up in our writing as well. According to an article by Jordan West for website The Mary Sue, however, there is an easy way to get over this: Ask yourself what’s normal, and make your protagonists not normal. Make them quirky and more realistic, and you’ll see them jumping into life right off of the pages.
3. Adding A Little Bit of Everything
When you start off your project, it’s important to try and keep in mind what it is you want to accomplish, and the kind of story you want to have by the end of your process. Decide what subgenre you want to write in, and what the setting is, as this gives you a clear picture of where to take your story and makes for a clean and concise book. As explained by Now Novel, each subgenre has its own set of rules – but not formulas – and “a reader of a realistic contemporary romance will not appreciate a vampire from the paranormal subgenre making an appearance while a fan of erotic romance expects the novel to contain plenty of sex”. Keep these things in mind and research your subgenre to decide what it is you want to do exactly, as this will also help you stay on track and create a beautiful romance without any distractions or…pitfalls.
This post was contributed by an affiliate.