Open Colleges

Want to be a Romance Writer? Here Are 5 Things You Should Know

by Marianne Stenger
Posted: October 16, 2015

  Return to blog home


Romance is one of the most popular genres of fiction, so it’s not surprising that many aspiring writers try their hand at it at some point during their career. If you’re wondering whether romance writing could be right for you, here are a few things you should know.


1. Romance writing is not easy

The biggest misconception about romance writing is that since it’s easy to read, it must also be easy to write, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Sure there are some cheesy romantic novels out there, but think of famous romance authors like Jane Austin, Charlotte Brontë and Nicholas Sparks who have created some of today’s most well-loved works of fiction, romance or not.

Creating a successful romance novel is every bit as difficult as writing a brilliant sci-fi or thriller, mainly because you have to follow a rather predictable formula while still keeping your readers guessing.

2. There is a formula, but it shouldn’t limit you

Romance novels follow a very specific formula, and readers don’t generally appreciate it when writers stray from this. Usually it involves a hero and heroine falling in love, a believable conflict that keeps them apart, and finally a ‘happily-ever-after.’

Following the formula can help you give readers what they want and will provide the framework for your novel, but it doesn’t mean you can’t take some unexpected twists and turns along the way. Embrace your own unique point of view and don’t fall prey to clichés.

3. Readers want characters they can relate to

Perfection is boring; flaws make a character interesting. This could mean anything from allowing your hero or heroine to be a bit self-absorbed or selfish to having them fall in love with someone they shouldn’t be with. Of course you don’t want go so far that your characters become unlikable, but introducing a few flaws makes the story more believable.

4. Emotions are important

Whether your romance novel is humorous or dramatic, readers need to be moved by it in some way. Think about your character and the scenario you are writing him or her into and imagine how you might feel if you were in a similar situation. What sort of reactions would you have? What would you be thinking? Putting yourself in the character’s shoes will help you create a believable scenario in which the character reacts appropriately.

5. The ending can’t be rushed

When it comes to romance writing, the ending is what your novel will be remembered by. Your characters might be expertly-developed and your plotline could be brilliant, but if you rush into the ending your readers will feel cheated. Take your time and think about the most logical ending for the story, even if it means your lovers won’t live happily ever after.



Marianne Stenger

Marianne is a London-based freelance Writer and Journalist with extensive experience covering all things learning and development. Her articles have been featured by the likes of ABC Education, The Huffington Post, Lifehacker, and Psych Central.

Interested in online study?

See what it’s like with our 7 day free course trial.

Find out first-hand what it’s like to study with Open Colleges. Experience our world-class learning platform for yourself and discover how online learning can work for you. There are no obligations and no payment details required.

Start Today

Course areas