This is a question I keep asking myself. Why in the world would I want to write a romance? They're easy to write, right? How hard can it be?
I mean, I've read plenty of them throughout my life (I went through a huge phase of Harlequin reading during my later teens), so why WOULDN'T I try my hand at writing one? I LOVE romance.
Woman meets man. Man meets woman. There's an attraction. Circumstances on both sides keep them apart. They find a way to be together, regardless of the obstacles in their way, and then the story ends with a happily ever after. TA-DA! And there you have it: a romance story. Easy-peasy. I even took a look at several sites to make sure I was doing it correct. Like at My Romance Story they actually wrote a post called How To Write Romance Fiction. At this point, I was about nine chapters into writing my own and I wanted to make sure I was on the right path. This is what I found:
Well, HELLO! I'm an anyone and since I tend to write while wearing PJ's in the comfort of my own bed, this is perfect. Yay me!
But here's the problem: my beta reader worries about the originality of the novel and about it becoming cliche. Hmmm... so now what? How do I go about making my romance novel different than the others out there. This worries me, but at the same time it got me thinking: Aren't romance novels pretty much the same? Aren't love stories, in general, pretty much the same?
If I follow the formula:
1) Woman meets man and man meets woman
2) Attraction ignites.
3) Circumstances keep them apart
4) They find a way to be together
5) Happily Ever After
Then I'm giving the reader what they expect, because believe it or not, readers expect certain things to happen, not just in romance, but in ALL different genres. If you write a mystery, someone better die or something "mysterious" better happen, there better be someone to go searching for clues (I prefer Angela Lansbury myself) and then the bad guy must be caught. Period. The end.
So if there is a "formula" for writing certain kinds of genres, then how do you go about writing a romance and making it unique? How? I asked this same question over on my facebook page (Check it out here, it's pretty cool. You may want to like it, just saying) and one person made the comment that, "Yes [romances are pretty much the same], but it is the way the story is told that makes it different to readers."
Well there you go! That's good news, right? I say it is. Yes, maybe my story follows the romance formula too much, but I'm truly hoping that MY take on the romance genre will be different because I'm different. I also hope my readers will be happy with the story I tell, because that's all I can do--tell the story that wants to be written. I may be the writer of the novel, but it is my characters that dictate the story. And honestly, I really like it that way.
You can check out a chapter excerpt here of Sanguine Sands (my romance in progress) if you'd like.