Confession: I’m not really into romances. And here’s the reason why. Most of them aren’t believable, and we as the stupid readership are left to finish reading in horror. Others of them are just painful, like Wuthering Heights. You just feel bad for the guy.

Here’s what I mean. In The Wedding Planner, with Jennifer Lopez, I’m forced to believe that Matthew saves her life by pushing her out of the way of a car, and then he somehow lands on top of her. And she somehow isn’t about to pee her pants because she almost gets killed.

No. She’s swept up momentarily into the eyes of her soon-to-be. BULL!

Romance writers have it easy because their plots don’t have to be good. But the love story just needs to be felt. I say hats off to the writers of Hitch and The Notebook.

So here’s what a good romance needs.
1. Guy & Girl
2. Break ups
3. Happy ending

These are the 3 elements that people are looking for these days whenever they are reading this genre. Of course you need two people to fall in love, so the first one is self-explanatory.

There has to be some way that they get together, and then they need to break-up. The break-up or the separation is important. In The Notebook, the break-up isn’t an actual break-up. But the woman’s mental state has caused their separation. This is important because the reader is asking the question: “Are they ever going to get together?” We all know that they will, but we still keep reading because we all like a good story.

Nowadays, it’s important for love stories to end happily. People don’t want the tragic Romeo & Juliet romances as much anymore. Can it be done? Yes. Is it advisable. Not really. If you choose to go that route, you may be entering a genre that I’d refer to as a dark romance. If that’s the direction you want to go, except it and make it dark. Try not to teeter between a real romance and a dark romance.

19 thoughts on “FEEDING THE FLAME

  1. Sara Flower

    I am not such a fan of romance novels, either. I don’t mind it amidst a thriller or adventure plot, but it needs to be real and I can’t stand cliches.
    You are right, romance really is romanticized. 🙂

    1. William Stadler Post author

      Hahaha thanks, Sara. And yeah I think you’re right. If it is woven within another plot, it is expected…kinda like a subplot. But romance can get away with a lot that other genres cannot.

    1. William Stadler Post author

      absolutely. should have put that in, but i assumed it was implied — especially with the JLO / Matt reference in the Wedding Planner. Think I’d rather be hoisted up in Guantanamo Bay than to have to watch that movie again

  2. christinaow

    i love Weithering Heights and the NOtebook. they are just tragic lovers who either fall apart or hold tightly on to the memories just to be able to breath!

    And love stories that are worth the read are those that can happen, in real life. When a guy falls on top of a girl, the last thing she’ll be thinking is that he’s got beautiful eyes!

    ‘Ravish me now stranger!’ I don’t think so!! Even one night stands take longer to build up!

    1. William Stadler Post author

      HAHA! SO SO TRUE! Wuthering Heights was good because it was good, and the same is true for the Notebook. I completely agree. Thanks, ChristinaOW. And I appreciate the reblog 🙂

    1. William Stadler Post author

      that’s pretty cool, vikki! yeah romances are the easiest to sell, and give you the most flexibility 🙂


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