Back to Basics (Part 1)

How to write a romance novel.

It all starts with an idea.

You’ve had that moment. That wonderful instant where an idea has formed for a character, a plot has blossomed into something you want to explore further, or you have discovered the perfect setting. But now what?

Your first story idea!

You have always thought about writing a book but never had the time, courage or skill to follow through, but now you have a great idea that won’t go away and is taking shape in your head. There are no more excuses it is time to get that idea down. Whether it be in a Word doc, Google doc, on your phone in the notes section, or scrawled in a notebook (my preference is handwritten in a notebook), get the idea out of your head and into the open where it can flourish and grow. Info dump the whole idea, let your thoughts go and see where it leads.

Your starting point for every romance novel.

  • A protagonist – this is your main character (main POV).

  • Love Interest – the person your main character falls in love with (can also share POV).

  • Main Idea – Your main idea must have a conflict or a problem to solve.

  • Setting – Think of the setting as another character of your book. When done right it can add depth to the story.

Example –

Ah-Ha moment - For my latest release, Reflections of Love – Hannah, my ah-ha moment began with a prompt in a writing group. The prompt was ‘cut-throat.’ I know, tricky prompt for a romance novel, but they usually make the best ah-ha moments. *Prompts are fabulous for story ideas when you are stuck. (Check out my Pinterest page for plenty of pinned prompt ideas).

Plot - The basic plot for a short story came first. A husband dumps his wife while out at a restaurant. Pretty cut-throat, right?

Main Character - The protagonist then stemmed from the plot point – who was the wife and how did she respond? Hannah was created and she was devastated by how her husband told her, but not surprised by how cruel he was.

Love Interest - As it is romance there had to be a Love Interest, so who was he and where did he fit in? The romantic hero was only eluded to at this point…the bartender is very kind to her at one point.

Setting - Finally, setting – where and what type of restaurant was it? It was an Egyptian restaurant in Sydney, Australia.

I wrote an 800 word heart-wrenching short story that got a lot of praise in my writing group and I could see the potential to make it into a novella.

Info Dumping

Sometimes my info dumping is short and to the point, 200 words for the example above. Other times it sweeps me away and I end up with thousands of words. I am currently working on edits for a 50k novel, War of Hearts, and that original idea came from a scene on a balcony between the Main Character and Love Interest – that first spark of an idea then became an info dump of over five thousand words and I had a complete scene written with main character profiles built.

Once the first idea is down don’t stop. Every time you have another thought that adds to the story get it down.

If you have a completely different idea start a new page, doc, etc, and get that idea down. Writers typically have many ideas over their lifetime and you don’t want them to disappear. I have an old fashioned four ring binder filled with notes of notions and ideas as well a Word Doc full of more in-depth ideas.

Enough from me for now - time for you to write...get that idea down.

Catch you next month where we will explore - Idea. Theme. Plot.

Don’t forget to sign up for my newsletter where you can get the code to download my Reflections of Love Short Story Collection for free.

*Let me state clearly that this is my process and it works for me. I want to help you find your path and the only way to do that is for you to explore many ways until you discover your own procedures.

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