Your Romantic Heroine.

Let’s expand on yesterday’s post. Our heroine. What are your readers looking for?

As mentioned most romance books are based around the female. (I’m ignoring the ones based around the male for now). So, she needs to be approachable. How do you do this? I hear you ask. Well, read on.

Go and check out romance on Amazon. Go on, you have time. The first one I come across has a half-naked man on the front. You know why, right? Yep. Nothing like a naked man to draw in the eye, after all, most are female readers. (Yes, I mentioned the male readers before, I know there are some). However, check the blurb – that bit which tells you about the story – it’s written from a female point of view.

The second book as a couple on the front, but the blurb again starts with the woman. As I flick through the first few, it’s a mix of naked men and couples on the front but the blurb is mainly around the woman – even those from the men’s point.

So, the female is brought out in the lead of where most romance books come from. You have to get her right. You want a happy ending and that means she gets her man.

The heroine has to be one of your readers made interests. Plain and boring – they turn off. Perfect in every way – they turn off. Come on, who’s perfect anyway? The idea is to balance out the two. Make her plain in some aspects, others – make your reader jealous. She has creamy-rose skin which needs no foundation – that’ll make me jealous. But, shes got oily skin that takes a lot to take care of. The minus side. Now, she appears more real and your reader can sympathize with her.

Also your heroine will lead the reader into liking your man – more about him on another post to come. Not every female likes the same type of man – now wouldn’t that be dead boring and there wouldn’t be enough to go around. So, you hero turns out to be a total nerd. A computer geek – that’s one I haven’t done yet. You hate them and cant believe you are still reading the book. so, why are you? Because the author has wrote how the female loves him so much, in such a way, you feel her emotions and fall for him too. There’s the emotions added in. Now, you look at nerds in a totally different way. Your author has done their job – hooked you right in.

Just remember one thing. I’m not going into conflicts in this post, but it will happen in your story. Make her responses real. Hopefully, most of your readers won’t have lived through whatever you plan to do, so she needs to make them feel the same way. Back to the emotions. If shes crying – write her crying. Don’t say – ‘she cried her heart out’ all of the time. Show your readers she’s a bubbling wreck. The same is she’s out enjoying herself. (I’ll do the show versus tell at a later date).

One more thing, characters have to develop. Make her grow throughout the story. Yes, she can go backwards too – this might cause her to lean on her hero a bit more, think about it. She’s mugged, now too scared to go outside. Will her man walk away? Will he stay inside with her? Or, will he help her get back into the big, wide world? This goes back to perfection. If your heroine doesn’t have any flaws, how will the hero win her over?

And the last thing – and this goes for any character in your book. The name, keep it real. How many How many Tammy’s were there in medieval days? Probably none, so your heroine from the 1800’s might not have fitted in – unless its a time travel story. Research the era and get those names right. I have a book of Scottish names, first and last names. Some aren’t truly Scottish so I stay away from them. Getting the name wrong will lose you readers and get you a few bad reviews.

What does it mean to be a romance author?

Let’s approach this question for any budding romance writer must cover a few necessities.

Have a believable heroine.

This is the main point required. Now, it can be reversed to the man being the prime character but most of the time it’s the woman who needs rescuing. Give her a decent back story, one your readers will fall for. After all, most romance readers are female. Yes, before you argue there are men too. I have a few. However, you need to make your readers fall in love with her. Give her strength to fight for her man but weakness too. After all, when you add the man, he needs a reason to be there for her.

Add the love interest. Bring in the hero

Now, again this can be reversed to the female, but everyone likes a tall, handsome man to win the day and the maiden. Just look at the Disney films. Snow White has her Prince Charming, Cinderella has her Prince. The man is normally the hero. (And yes, I know there are exceptions). Make him strong enough to save the girl but give him flaws – no one likes the perfect man and lets face it, they don’t exist. Go on, try and argue. But think out of the box. Not every hero is tall, dark and handsome. Some come in different packages.

Emotion and tension

Now, who has read the usual type of romance? You know the type. Boy meets girl. Boy falls in love with girl. Boy marries girl. Boring, right? A plane romance will get you nowhere. You won’t pull at the heartstrings, your readers won’t be hooked and sales will drop. Okay, there are readers who like this type of thing but the others? They need some grit to get their teeth into. Think about a Cinderella. Did she just meet her Prince and lived happily ever after? No, she had a wicked step-mother. So, add in emotions and tension. Give your hero a reason to fight for his girl. Is there a second man on the scene? Is there a threat against her life? Will he take a bullet for her? Now that’s an interesting one. How many general, bog-standard men will jump in front of a bullet? Yes, bodyguards, security men, police etc might, but Joe Bloggs? There’s a story in itself. How would he feel if he hesitated and his girl got hurt? Write that correctly and your readers won’t be putting your book down.

Make it believable.

Okay, you have your couple, a decent plot but have you checked the details? Google will become your best friend, at this point. In the olden day’s you had to find someone in the business to check details with and probably pay a fair bit. Now, google can answer most things. I use it all the time. There is nothing worse than writing the perfect romance and then a reader comes along and say – there is no way that would have happened. So check, check and check again. I”ve wriiren a big scene in my upcoming Christmas release, it’s the basis of how my couple comes together. I spent a fair bit of time googling. Now, I’m happy my details are right. Go through your finished, edited manuscript with a fine-tooth comb. Get those little bits perfect.

And that happy ever after ending

Everyone loves a happy ending. You’ve put your couple through hell and back. Given themto each other and pulled them apart – probably several time. Built up the tension. Now what’s it all for? That happy ending. Your readers what your couple together and in perfect love. Yes, yes,I know. It doesn’t always happen. And written correctly, you can still have a winner. But you want the perfect romance story, so add in that happy ending. Or, if it’s a series, a happy for now, ending.

That’s it for now, but I’ll be back with more hints and tips.