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Classic Romance Plots

Thursday Thirteen

Thirteen Plus Classic Romance Plots

The secret of writing a great romance is to take a classic plot and twist it to make the story unique. Here is a list of the classic plot tropes used in romances:

1. Secret Baby – a pregnancy results from a romance and the father doesn’t know about it.

2. Cinderella – a rags to riches story.

3. Beauty and the Beast – one of the main characters is physically marred in some way.

4. Good Girl/Bad Boy – opposites attract. This can also be reversed with a bad girl/good boy.

5. Stranded – a couple is stranded together and the enforced intimacy leads to more.

6. Marriage of convenience – an arranged or forced marriage leads to love.

7. Family feud – think Romeo and Juliet.

8. Mistaken Identity – one of a couple isn’t who he or she appears to be on the surface.

9. Lady and the Cowboy – a class difference sets a couple apart.

10. Secret – a secret stands between romance.

11. Twins – lots of possibilities here.

12. Kidnapping – an abduction.

13. Business competitors – two people fighting for the same prize and only one can win.

14. Friends to Lovers – a friendship leads to more.

15. Masquerade – pretending to be someone else.

16. Amnesia – where one of the characters has lost their memory.

Which type of plot is your favorite? The one you most dislike? Have I missed any from my list?

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The First Date

Writing a book is like dating. There’s the first excitement of the new idea where you wonder what to wear, how to approach the shiny new relationship. It goes well and there’s a second date. The liaison seems full of promise but suddenly the guy doesn’t ring…

What on earth has gone wrong? you wonder, trying to frantically rethink the relationship, obsessing about what you should have, could have done differently.

Read the rest of this entry ?

Building a Villain

Playing to Win, the very first book I wrote is a romantic suspense. I’ve written many different genres since then, but one thing remains true. I love to add a suspense element and if I can sprinkle the odd body or two between the pages, so much the better.

Although a villain is essentially a secondary character in a romance, he or she needs just as much work during the creation process as the hero and heroine. There’s a trick or two I’ve learned to make a credible villain. I thought I’d share:

1. A villain doesn’t have to be really evil and horrid. The villain in a romance might be an old girlfriend, a brother or sister, a mother-in-law or the man living next-door. They can be a meddling friend who is trying to match make. You don’t need a high body count to make a villain. Villainy comes in many forms such as the ex-girlfriend intent on regaining the hero’s interest.

2. When you’re thinking about your villain, give him good points as well as bad ones. Make him three dimensional. If he’s a well-rounded character then he’s actually scarier because we, the reader, come to like him or we might see part of our own character in his makeup and empathize.

3. Think about having your villain mirror your hero or heroine actions. Give them a similar conflict but have them behave in a different way to solve the conflict.

4. Give your villains a good reason for behaving in the manner they are—in other words, good motivation for their actions.

5. Make use of the setting to enhance the villain i.e. cold or stormy weather or late at night. Every bit counts!

6. Take as much care when choosing your villain’s name as you do when picking a name for your hero and heroine. A good name can help make a villain.

How do you like your villains? Subtle or in-your-face? Who is your favorite villain in fiction? Are there any characteristics you like to see in a villain?

Advice for Aspiring Writers

Writing is hard work. Most people don’t realize how difficult it is and the amount of dedication, determination and sheer sweat that goes into a completed manuscript. There’s no easy way to become published, but here’s a little advice for aspiring writers.

1. Read. Read as much as you can in all different genres. By reading you get a feel for pacing and the things you like or enjoy in a book. A book you don’t enjoy can teach you just as much. Reading helps you keep up with market trends, the things that are popular or you might discover a genre you’ve never thought of writing before. I cannot stress how important reading is to the writer.

2. Write. Sit down every day and write. Make writing a habit. The actual doing is a great way of learning.

3. Join a group of writers. Writing is a solitary occupation. No one can do it for you, but no one understands the trials and tribulations as much as another writer. Romance Writers of America is a good group to join for those who want to write romance since they have chapters all over America. New Zealand and Australia have their own romance writing groups. Romance Divas is an awesome group you can participate in via internet from the comfort of your home. There are other groups available for mystery and science fiction/fantasy writers.

4. Don’t try to copy writers who have gone before you. Dare to be different. Put your own slant on your book. Make it original. Make it your own.

5. Don’t quit the day job. As I said writing is hard work. You have to write the book and then you have to sell it. Following the path of a writer won’t make you rich.

6. Never give up!

Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?