Blogs by S G Cardin
Romance Genre Writing Rules
8/8/2007 3:50:32 AM
Forgive my absence! It's been very busy around here. I can't necessarily I've been working more hours, but my off days have been busy. After work on Saturday, 4 AUG, we went to a family get together and on 5 AUG, my off day, we went to my work's picnic with the kids.
One of the nice things about work is that I can write and read during down time. That said, lately, I've been investigating genre writing rules, taking a look at the rules for Romance Writing since I intend to expand my short story, "The Wolf's Kiss," into a romance.
One of the big things to consider is that a Romance must have a "Happily Ever After." That's a pretty solid that a writer shouldn't play around with. Boy & Girl are firmly established and live together happily ever after.
Another pretty firm rule is "I've only got eyes for you." When the heroine and hero finally meet in the story, it's now about how they "get together." There's no 3rd party love interest because then someone in the trio doesn't get happily ever after.
Still, another rule is Point of View. While I've come to the conculsion that the Romance Genre is forgiving of the "Lonesome Dove," Pov, (Lonesome Dove is where the POV switches WITHIN a scene between characters. Most editors/reader tend to shy away from this because the head hopping can confuse them) the main point of view should be written through the heroine's eyes. We love our hero, but he's not the only that's going to give the romance the emotional heartstrings it needs, it's the woman. What I've found in my explorations is that the 1st person or 3rd person limited from the heroine's POV is the most acceptable.
Other rules that give leeway are:
Readers come to care about the characters
Readers identify with the heroine,
Readers fall in love with hero,
Readers believe there's a happy ever after
Mind you, the above set gives you as a writer lots of room to play with, but don't break them. Remember the TRADITIONAL structure of a romance is:
introduction of characters and problem, expansion of characterization and intimacy, a physical culmination at the mid-point, the introduction of a new problem, and the resolution of the relationship.
One way you can play with the rules is to expand on the sex scenes within the romance. You might be "pushing it" a little, but if you keep in the structure, it will work.
Now that you're familiar with the rules, here's my guidance for breaking them:
You must know what the rules are.
You must recognize what you hope to accomplish by breaking the rules.
You can't break all of the rules at once.
And when you break the rules, you must break them very, very well.
I hope that helps when it comes to the romance genre.
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