What Separates Good and Bad Romance Writing

This post is a guest post, the first of its kind on Roses in Ink, by Patricia Doma, the Head of Communications at Inkitt. You can keep up with Inkitt on Twitter and Facebook.


When a writer begins to work on their first romance novel, they often assume an easy journey awaits them. Powerful words will be flying at the speed of lightning from their fingertips, filling endless pages with fiery, erotic passion that will land their book on the Bestsellers List!


However, their confidence can be a bit premature. Romance is an art form that’s difficult to get right and nearly impossible to master! Indeed, newbie novelists are vulnerable to all sorts of pitfalls during the writing process. So, out of our own kindheartedness, we’ve decided to offer you a heads up. Keep reading to discover what separates the duds from the diamonds within the romance genre.


The Best Romance Novels on the Market

Romance novels that win their readers’ hearts have a lot in common. Firstly, successful writers know the genre inside and out. How do you reach this level of expertise? You read a lot of romance novels. A writer can avoid creating a cliched, unoriginal and predictable novel by learning which books already exist on the market. They’ll also have a better idea on what today’s readers are gravitating towards.


From here, a talented writer can create an engaging manuscript, which calls back to romance’s founding ropes without resorting to overused, cheesy metaphors. Romance novels are created in strife, then simmered in sexual tension. Two lovers need to face obstacles together and apart, so their happy ending is even sweeter. Your characters need to earn happiness, and for their love to matter to readers, it needs to have blossomed and survived despite perilous circumstances.


When you’re writing a romance novel, think of it as adding another fresh green leaf onto a thriving, long-standing tree. You’re working within a tradition. That strong, comforting sense of tradition is exactly why readers keep coming back to the romance genre. Opening up a new romance novel is like being reintroduced to an old friend. If your book veers off into a silly, far-fetched flight of fancy, the readers will snap it right closed.


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Manuscripts that Publishers Love to Reject

When a publisher rejects a romance novel, it’s usually for one of two reasons. Either the writing is of poor quality, or the manuscript’s plot and characters aren’t relatable enough.


We’re talking more than grammar and punctuation here. If you’re resorting to frilly character descriptions, or going on long-winded tangents where you compare your character’s private organs to engorged fruit, your manuscripts will never feel the touch of a printing press. Also, try to keep commonplaces and overwrought metaphors to a minimum.


If either your characters or the novel’s plot doesn’t seem relatable, your credibility could be hanging by a thread! Characters must feel real and engaging so the reader can become emotionally-invested in their struggles. Similarly, while tension is necessary in romance novels, don’t make it too overblown.


Unless you’re planning on a sequel or turning your pages into a trilogy, your lovers should not face natural disasters, mysterious bouts of amnesia, and a zombie apocalypse all at the same time. You should probably stick to one or two at the most, based on what you believe your audience to be intrigued by most. With today’s technology, there’s even ways to monitor reading pattern behavior so that you can be sure of your readers’ innermost desires.


So dear first time writer, follow these useful tips and you’ll be well on your way. Writing an excellent debut in the romance genre takes time, patience and careful revisions.

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