I know I’ve talked about the romantic formula that should be followed before, but this weekend I read a novel where the romance was quite clear and on display, yet it was still lacking something. So that got me thinking, what elements must a romance have to entice my heart?
1. The hero must be a hero. I just saw 42 this weekend, the sort-of-biopic on Jackie Robinson and I really loved the marriage represented in the movie. Particularly, all I could think of was how nice it must be to be married to a man with a purpose. The hero in the novel does not need to be Superman, he doesn’t need to save you from a bad guy. But, he should make you feel safe and perhaps save you from yourself at moments.
2. Specificity. I want to know why the hero fell in love with the heroine. Why her? Why now? Hence why I hate insta-love. I understand instant attraction, but I need more! There should be a reason (though I am fully aware that real life may not happen in this way)!
3. A smart heroine. What do I mean by smart? Not an annoying one. It’s annoying to have a great guy in the book with a heroine you want to slap. Annoying heroines are: girls who can’t make up their minds, incredibly deceptive, playing hard to get (when you know you’ve been gotten), creating problems that don’t exist. It’s easier to respect a heroine if she has respect-worthy characteristics. I think of the famed Pride & Prejudice. You could respect Lizzy and all the decisions she made because there was a solid foundation to them. Had she been like Lydia, I doubt the novel would have been as famous.*
4. Togetherness. I can’t stand novels where the hero and the heroine are not together. The best aspect of the novel should be when they are together, so you can see the romance unfold on the page. It makes more sense for them to fall in love on screen than off screen. It’s even better when they sees each other in a bad light and they still love the other person anyway. It gives more substance to the romance.
5. Don’t be obvious. I know that’s a weird one. Romance novels are obvious. But it should be so obvious that the characters will get together that you’re beating me over the head with it. Even if I know that they are going to get together in the end, there should still be some hesitance, some way that when the character is upset you’re upset (and not rolling your eyes). Or if the character is thrilled, then you’re thrilled (and not want wanting to throw the book across the room). So, I know this is a weird one, but the romance can’t be too obvious. lol
Looking back on these suggestions, I realize that I’ve grown as a romance reader and I pretty much demand a lot from my authors. But let me tell you, once you’ve read a good thing, its hard to go back to an ok thing. Got any other elements that must be in a romance?
*No doubt, I mention this in every post, but there are a lot of annoying females out there!