Back to Basics (Part 2)

How to write a romance novel.

Idea. Theme. Plot.


The theme drives plot and story from beneath the surface.

*The theme is not usually stated, it is typically inferred.

What is the author (you) trying to say to the reader?

You can, and should, have more than one theme in your novel.

Basic themes in literature –


Good and Evil


Coming of Age

Peace and War






You show and develop your theme through plot and character.

Example of Theme and it’s development through plot and character –

Theme – ‘Power Corrupts’

In Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, the ring bearer will be corrupted.

It is developed through showing the characters giving in to temptation and betraying others.

Do you know your theme?

It is okay if you don’t – though you should know it by the end of your first draft.

As we are focusing on romance writing, your novel will probably/should probably have a love related theme –

Forbidden Love

Family Love

Unrequited Love

Everlasting Love

Lost Love

Popular movies and book themes –

The Fault in Our Stars – Forbidden Love and Death

Star Wars (A New Hope) – Good v’s Evil

Little Women – Coming of Age and Family

Themes are universal, your main idea is unique.

Main Idea

The main idea of a story is the central point or ‘big picture’ concept. It is the way the author will show the theme.

You should be able to write your main idea in three sentences or under.

The main idea in a romance novel is usually when your protagonist (Main Character) and their Love Interest fall in love, but there is a main conflict that will keep them apart.

Example – Romeo and Juliet

Themes – Forbidden Love and Family

Main Idea – A teenage boy and girl from feuding families fall in love, but due to the increasing tensions of the hostile environment it ends in tragedy.

An exercise for you to do to understand Themes and Ideas.

Pick three of your favourite books or movies and try to figure out their central theme as well as their main idea.


Plot is the sequence of events where each affects the next one through the principle of cause-and-effect. The causal events of a plot can be interwoven with subplots.

*Plotting and how to do it is a large topic and will be covered over several blog posts.

Catch you next month where we will explore - What do I need to get started?

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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