The reader of your romance novel has enjoyed close to three-quarters of your awesome story. You have successfully tortured the poor soul by disrupting what has become “her” couple with mega-conflict every blasted time the two even considered pressing their lips together. Your reader loves to hate you, and this is good, because the stronger her emotions, the more intensely she melds herself into your story.
Keep this rollercoaster ride zigging, zagging, and looping until your couple feels a tinge of comfort, then whip out your poison pen and write a dark moment–not the darkest moment we discussed in rule four–but one where the protagonists are furious enough at one another they “think” they never want to see or hear from their now “ex” again. But, deep down, we know better. Get them talking, let us hear their inner thoughts. Make your couple brainstorm healthy alternatives to running from conflict.
Rule 7) Write an “I Love You” Scene
But then, by the next chapter or two, neither the hero nor heroine can stand the separation. They aren’t quite over the reason for their anger, but the intensity has faded. Perhaps they think of ways to meet halfway if the argument ensued over a “my way or the highway” scenario. But, no matter what pulled them apart, each knows they must find a resolution or lose the other forever. They want to reach out but hold back. Why? One reason is fear of rejection. Does he still want her? Does she still want him? Does she still care for him? Does the heroine wonder if she ruined everything between them? Does he? Show these moments of your character’s turmoil, because they will spark the same wonder in your reader and pull her further into the story.
Paint your “I love you” scene with the pent-up intensity this couple feels for one another. Recreate their sexual tension as they kiss, a little longer, a lot longer, now with the passion of a couple deeply in love and uninterrupted by their author or any other intrusion. As they kiss, reveal your character’s inner thoughts so your reader knows her that much more, loves her that much deeper.
Write from experience or read with a purpose if you need inspiration. Your reader held her breath waiting for the lovers to speak their over-the-top declaration of a heart’s most magical words “I love you.” Romance writer, fulfill your reader, let her hear those words, and often. She will feel enthralled and swear she can dance on the ceiling in glass slippers.
Rule 8) Send the Tasmanian Devil, aka the Hero, a Packing
That is not a typo. Send that dastardly devil back to the sewer lid he crawled out of. It is time for one of our lovebirds’ past or present indiscretions, or an outside source contrived in your creative imagination, to tear our couple apart. Remember, your heroine can be the snake in the grass just as much as your hero. Don’t forget about outside forces, either. Perhaps a skeleton crawled out of someone’s closet, a scornful ex-flame. What about a love left standing at the altar? A criminal record? A prior bankruptcy? This is your story, think big, unique, and worst-case scenario. Then toss that worse-case idea you had aside and go for the jugular.
I realize this is a touchy place to drop in another catastrophic bomb that pulls your lovers apart but look at it as the final jerking of your reader’s chain. Creating an emotional scene actually jerks her chain right back to the bookstore to find more titles by you, the amazing author who made her feel she was living the life of the heroine.
Rule 9) Craft a Reconciliation and Plan
Just when your reader’s eyes are about to pop out of their sockets, write a resolution to the lovebird’s latest fiasco. But, this time it is different. Not only your couple, but your reader knows their love is real and will last for a lifetime. Write an amorous scene of the couple rejoicing with one another, hugging, kissing, and vowing their everlasting love.
This is a difficult time for your characters as they struggle with these thoughts and emotions. When these issues are resolved, and they realize there is no other love as great as theirs, they eagerly reconcile in order to spend the rest of their lives together. Show this discussion and have them share how the break-up made them feel. Write a scene with your lovers discussing alternate ways of dealing with the many conflicts that are bound to present themselves as they plan for a lifetime together. Write the lover's plan for finding peaceful solutions to future conflicts.
Rule 10) Make Reuniting Exciting
You wrote an amazing story with all the satisfying plot points. Now, your reader receives her “fix” as the couple she fell in love with return the favor and fall in love with each other. Make her feel she never wants your story to end. Then, she is ready for her final payoff scene.
Show your couple rejoicing at the love they have found. Give them a conversation telling each other of their unshakable love and dreams for the future. Show them making wedding plans and let her hear them exchange the words, I love you, often.
Take your reader through this happily ever after journey with all the vividness of a flesh and blood couple. Your readers will love you, become loyal fans, and purchase every one of your creative masterpieces.
May all of your ever after’s be happy!