Read How to Write a Brilliant Romance: The Easy, Step-By-Step Method of Crafting a Powerful Romance (Go! Write Something Brilliant) Online

Authors: Susan May Warren

Tags: #Reference, #Writing; Research & Publishing Guides, #Writing, #Fiction, #Romance, #Writing Skills, #General Fiction

How to Write a Brilliant Romance: The Easy, Step-By-Step Method of Crafting a Powerful Romance (Go! Write Something Brilliant) (22 page)

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Remember:
Backstory
Breadcrumbs
are
soft,
tasty,
small
morsels
that
lure
your
reader
into
the
story.

In
the
beginning,
what
is
the
essential
information
the
reader
needs
to
know
to
give
sufficient motivation
for
the
character?

 

Who is your
heroine?

Basic
Bio, Name, Age, Profession.

Tell me about yourself:

  • Who
    are
    you?
    (Identity)
    How
    do
    you
    express
    this
    identity
    through
    your
    appearance?
  • What
    sort
    of
    behaviors,
    mannerisms,
    and
    trappings
    go
    along
    with
    that
    identity?
  • What
    monumental
    event
    in
    your
    past
    shaped
    you?
    Journal
    it--with
    details.
    (Tell
    the
    story.)How
    did
    that
    event
    mold
    your
    goals
    and
    purposes
    today?
    (What
    does
    she
    want?)
  • What
    skills
    do
    you
    possess
    that
    you
    might
    use
    to
    save
    the
    hero?
    (Competence)
  • What
    is
    the
    one
    thing
    you
    would
    never
    sacrifice
    or
    do
    for
    love?
  • What
    is
    your
    wound,
    and
    what
    would
    reopen
    that
    wound?
    (We’ll
    explore
    this
    more
    in
    a
    moment.)
  • What
    Lie
    do
    you
    believe,
    and
    what
    Truth
    will
    set
    you
    free?
  • What
    is
    the
    happiest
    moment
    in
    your
    past?
    (This
    helps
    you
    determine
    what
    they
    want.)
  • Why
    do
    you
    think
    you’ll
    never
    get
    it?
    (Obstacles)

In
the
beginning,
what
is
the
essential
information
the
reader
needs
to
know
to
give
sufficient motivation
for
the
character?

 

Developing
the
key
ingredients
Build Your
Hero:

Reminder
of
his
Noble
Cause:

  • What
    underlying
    cause
    are
    you
    “fighting
    for”
    that
    makes
    us
    love
    you?

Make him
likeable:

  • What
    sweet,
    kind,
    and
    sacrificial
    “Boy
    Scout”
    moment
    can
    you
    insert
    into
    the
    story
    early
    on to
    stir
    the
    readers’
    love
    for
    the
    hero?

Find his Flaw and
Fear:

  • Why
    did
    your
    last
    girlfriend
    break
    up
    with
    you?
    Or:
    Why
    haven’t
    you
    found
    true
    love?
  • What is the fear behind the flaw?

Give him
Courage:

  • What
    will
    you
    do
    that
    shows
    your
    courage
    to
    change
    in
    order
    to
    get
    the
    girl?

 

Build your Heroine:

Reiterate her
Goal:

  • What do you
    want?

Find
her
Flaw
and
Fear:

  • What is your biggest
    flaw?
  • Why?
    What
    fear
    drives
    this
    flaw?

Build her
Confidence:

  • What
    are
    you
    good
    at,
    and
    how
    does
    that
    skill
    help
    save
    the
    day?
  • What
    can
    you
    do
    at
    the end
    of
    the book
    that
    you
    couldn’t
    do
    at
    the beginning?

Make her
Beautiful:

  • How does your heroine complement or balance the hero?

What does your heroine do that affirms the hero? How does she accentuate his strengths? How is your heroine irresistible to the hero? (Ask the hero: What draws you to her? Why can’t you live without her?)

 

Interest and
Need

Build
the
Meeting:

 

Ask the
Hero what
about
this
meeting
and
this
woman
stands
out?
What
stirs
your
interest
about
her?

Why
would
you
like
to
fall
in
love?

Ask the
Heroine what
about
this
meeting
and
this
man
stands
out?
What
stirs
your
interest
about
him?

Why
would
you
like
to
fall
in
love?

Building the Romance
Whys

A hero and heroine complete each other. The hero and heroine make each other better
people.The hero and heroine share essential
values.

Ask the
Hero what
can
the
heroine
do
for
you
that
you
can’t
do
yourself?

How
does
she
affirm
you?
How
does
she
accentuate
your
strength?
How
do
you
become
a better
person
when
you
are
together?

Ask
the
Heroine what
can
the
hero
do
for
you
that
you
can’t
do
yourself?

How
does
he
affirm
you?
How
does
he
accentuate
your
strength?
How
do
you
become
a better
person
when
you
are
together?

What
core
values
do
you
share?

As
you
build
your
characters,
you
want
to
look
at
their
inadequacies
and
see
how
they
complete
each other. I’ll often make a chart. First,
write the name of your hero at the top of one column, and the name of your
heroine
in
the
other. I usually compare how the main characters complete each other, how they better each other, and what core values they share.

 

Why
Not?

When you are building your story, you’ll want to build in moments and scenes where readers see them building their romance. Brainstorm some Why scenes for each element.

Building the plot Why Nots: (The External Obstacles)

What realistic, External Obstacle in the plot pushes your hero and heroine apart?

When you’re building
your
romance,
sometimes
it
helps
to
make
a
chart,
putting
the
hero
on
one side,
the
heroine
on
the
other,
and
comparing
and
contrasting
their
Noble
Cause
and
Goals.
It’s
a great
way
to
find
those
External
Obstacles
that
keep
them
apart.

 

 

Building
the
Internal
Why
Nots
(and
the
Wound)

Ask your
Hero what
is
the
worst
thing
that
ever
happened
to
you
(preferably
romantically,
but
it
can
be anything
that
involves
the
heart).
What
wound
did
it
leave?

Ask your
Heroine what
is
the
worst
thing
that
ever
happened
to
you
(preferably
romantically,
but
it
can
be anything
that
involves
the
heart).
What
wound
did
it
leave?

How have these affected your past
relationships?

Look
at
your
story
Arc, is it a Why/Why Not or a Why Not/Why?

Constructing the
Breakup:
  • What can the hero say or do that reopens the wound of the heroine?
  • What can the heroine say or do that reopens the wound of the hero?
  • What event makes your hero and heroine break up?
  • What is your hero’s greatest fear?
  • What is your heroine’s greatest fear?
  • How do these greatest fears come true in a Black Moment Event?
  • What Truth sets the Hero free?
  • What Truth sets the Heroine free?

 

Grand Gesture and
Sacrifice:
  • What can the hero do that heals the heroine’s
    wound?
  • What can the heroine do that heals the hero’s
    wound?

 

Finding the Happily Ever
After:
  • What
    is
    your
    hero’s
    happiest
    moment
    from
    the
    past?
  • How
    can
    you
    reconstruct
    this
    or
    give them
    a
    taste
    of
    this
    in
    the
    future?
  • What
    is
    your
    heroine’s
    happiest
    moment?
  • How
    can
    you
    reconstruct
    this
    or
    give
    them
    a
    taste of
    this
    in
    the
    future?

 

 

 

Section
Three
Putting
i
t
all
together
Adding the Ingredients into your Story Structure

You’ve
built
your
hero
and
heroine,
gathered
all
the
ingredients
.
.
.
now
it’s
time
to
insert
them
into your
story
arc
and
build
your
romance.
Just
as
a
recap,
remember
every
genre
book
has
key elements—things
we
expect
from
that
genre
novel.
A
suspense
has
a
ticking
time
bomb
and
a deadline.
A
mystery
has
a
dead
body
and
red
herrings.
A
romance
also
has
the
ten
ingredients
that we
expect.
However,
the
author
has
license
to
change
up
these
elements,
putting
them
in
a
different order.

And
of
course,
the
author
brings
his
or
her
own
voice
to
the
romance—telling
it
in
a
way
only
her or
she
knows
how.
That
is
why
we
watch
remakes
of
old
films.
Even
though
it
is
the
same
story,
it has
a
different
take,
and
we
love
that.
We
love
seeing
the
new
voice
on
the
old
structure!

Now
that
we
know
the
ten
ingredients,
we
are
armed
to
put
it
together
in
our
own
unique
way. Here’s
the
secret
trick
--
identifying
these
ten
ingredients
makes
writing
your
synopsis
sooooo
easy.
At least,
it
makes
writing
the
framework
easy,
because
you
know
the
basic
elements
that
craft
a romance.

Most
of
all,
they
ensure
that
your
romance
has
all
the
appropriate
beats
to
make
it
satisfying. Now
that
you
know
the
ingredients,
let’s
weave
them
into
Act
One.

Act 1
Application

Let’s start by taking a look at the main ingredients of Act 1:

Boy
Meets
Girl:
In
this
component,
there
is
an
event,
goal,
or
circumstance
that
occurs
to
bring
our hero
and
heroine
together.
Usually
this
happens
in
the
first
chapter,
but
it
definitely
needs
to
happen by chapter
three.

Some
classic
Boy
Meets
Girl
events:

You’ve
Got
Mail
--
The hero
and
heroine are both
in
a
chat
room
and
start
talking
about New
York
City
in
the
fall.

Sleepless
in
Seattle
--
The
phone
call
to
the
radio
show
causes
the
hero
and
heroine
to “meet”
over
the
radio.

While
You
Were
Sleeping
--
The
hero
and
heroine
meet
at
Christmas
at
the
family’s
home.

The Cutting Edge --
The hero and heroine bump into each other at the Olympics when he knocks
her
down.
But
they
really
meet
later,
when
she
needs
a
skating
partner.

Titanic
--
The hero and heroine meet on the ship.

Chasing
Liberty
--
The
heroine
runs
out
of
a
concert
and
needs
a
ride
to
get
away
from
the paparazzi.

Return
to
Me
--
The hero
meets
the heroine while
on
a
bad
date in
the restaurant.

 

As
you
sketch
out
your
novel,
you
start
by
defining
that
Boy
Meets
Girl
moment.
Give
it
a
sentence or
two.

Here’s
my
Boy
Meets
Girl
moment
from
my
Love
Inspired
Suspense,
Undercover
Pursuit
.

Boy
Meets
Girl:
They’re
both
there
for
different
weddings
at
the
same
location.
They
get
into
the same
cab,
mistaking
each
other
for
people
they
haven’t
met—but
are
supposed
to.

(And
since
you
don’t
know
what
is
in
my
head,
here’s
some
info
you
might
need:
The
hero
is undercover,
supposed
to
meet
up
with
another
agent.
He
will
pose
as
her
fiancé
and
protect
the bride.
The
heroine
is
supposed
to
be
the
maid
of
honor
at
her
sister’s
wedding—and
the
blind
date of
one
of
the
groomsmen.)

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