Pointer # 3 is: Create an interesting, engaging plot.
Some may say, I’m writing romance. That means there’s a girl and a guy who meet, fall in love and live happily ever after or happy for now. Isn’t that interesting enough?
The answer is simple. If you want your readers to keep turning the pages of your book, you must have an interesting, engaging plot, one they can relate to, sympathize or empathize with, awaken their curiosity, and keep them engrossed.
Plots have a way of making the reader put down your book or keep them on their toes. It’s the invisible rope that loops them to your story till the ending, its elements keeping them hooked.
According to this definition by Romance Writers of America, every romance novel comprise of two basic elements: a central love story and an emotionally satisfying and optimistic ending.
A central love story means that the main plot centers around individuals falling in love and struggling to make the relationship work. Their love story is the main focus of the novel.
An emotionally satisfying and optimistic ending can either be a Happy Ever After (HEA) or a Happy For Now (HFN) conclusion to the love story. If it doesn’t have either of these two, it’s not romance!
In between these two basic elements, the following are also important to make the plot engaging and interesting:
- Relatable characters (protagonists/antagonists)
- Complications or conflicts
- Climax or peak of the story
- Resolution to the conflict
It’s important that before you sit down and write your romance novel, you already have a plot to work on. Otherwise, you’ll be like finding a needle in a haystack. Maybe it is not yet a complete plot with all the elements mentioned above. But you should have at least a basic, working idea on what the plot is or where it’s going.
The next question would be: where to find plot ideas for romance? The simple answer is: Everywhere!
Search for plot ideas on the internet. Find them in books, movies, TV series. Look for them as you interact with people, travel to places, or stare at paintings or images. Open your mind to a possibility of a story when you see a man and a woman arguing in the mall, or a couple exchanging longing stares in a coffee shop, or a girl lowering her eyes to sneak a glance at a guy sitting beside her in the bus.
Let your imagination run wild and ask yourself, “What if the man and woman arguing will end up together? What if this couple has a forbidden love story that they must triumph over? What if this guy is really into this girl but was too shy to let her notice?”
Of course, these are just simple plots which are given here only as examples. The possibilities of a more engaging and interesting complicated plot are endless and can be cultivated by you.
To help writing easier, dividing your plot into sections can help. A simple romance plot can be divided into three sections:
- The couple meets, develops their relationship
- The couple encounters conflict
- The conflict is resolved
Have you thought of a plot yet? Share them with us in the comments section below.
Watch out for more Pointers in Writing Romance!