Arvind Parashar is an author and painter hailing from Dehradun. He has been a corporate leader in various firms like GE, Dell and Genpact. He enjoys road trips and gives motivational lectures at various educational institutes. In his bestselling romance Messed Up! But All for Love, Neil and Gauri live a good life, while Drishti and her husband Somesh are bored of their lives. But a chance meeting in Cuba changes everything.
Here, Arvind offers budding romance writers the 5 essentials of any romance novel:
When I first started writing, the first few sentences I wrote prominently featured the words ‘heart’, ‘love’, ‘romance’, etc. Even my subconscious knew I wanted to become a romance writer some day. And I did! One of the best things about writing one is that the emotions, the connect with the characters, the intensity of the relationships feel as if you are a part of the book yourself.
Some romance novels stay with us forever as readers and writers, like Colleen Hoover’s It Ends With Us, a heart-wrenching tale of compassion and painful truths. Similarly, A Walk to Remember by Nicholas Sparks is about two teenagers who fall in love despite compatibility issues.
Here, let me highlight the five essentials of writing a romance novel:
What we say and how we say it
Why would anyone want to read a romance that does not transcend them into a world of fantasy? A complex narrative often keeps the reader disengaged, so a more lucid style connects better with readers. An overkill of extensive vocabulary is also a dampener, though lack of one can be equally disappointing.
Romance is incomplete without metaphors. If your characters haven’t compared their beloved’s beauty with the moon or haven’t sworn by the stars, they’re weak lovers. Remember, the power of love only gets enhanced by the power of words. So use them freely, adequately and happily.
Create characters who win hearts
If you think back on the romances you love, did you find the characters easy to relate to? Did the characters remind you of someone you know? In all likelihood, the answer will be yes.
Romances aren’t about aliens. They are about real people. Love, joy, heartbreaks and all the melodrama that happens in regular lives need to be seen in fiction that is close to reality. After all, fiction is only an elevated form of real life. So when you create a character, they don’t need to be perfect, but close to real. That’s what’s going to make them special.
While describing a character, drop hints about their traits. Instead of saying, ‘He loves to have chocolate shake with fruits for breakfast’, you could write, ‘He was cosy with her at the breakfast table while she poured his favourite chocolate shake’. Once a reader finishes the book, they will have something to remember and talk about. That’s your success as a writer.
Intimacy with the right amount of passion
Needless to say, intimacy builds romance. Passion is integral. All this is known, but what is essential is to build that scene. The setting is crucial. If it is the seaside or even the bedroom, love-making needs to be intricately built into a scene. While it is ecstatic, the words you choose to describe the scene cannot fall short of describing the love-making. It is an act that makes you go gaga, so why should your characters be devoid of that magic!
Meaningful dialogues, with a pinch of humour
We talk so much in our daily lives; we look out for moments with friends and partners where we are at ease. A fictional romance is an extension of our lives, so as a writer, if you’ve been able to write dialogues that one would use in everyday situations, it is a job well done. Add humour, and it acts as an aphrodisiac. We are in a world with Monday blues, screwed weekends, horrible bosses, and terrible salaries. You don’t want to go through the same trauma while reading either. So if your book has nice punchlines delivered with humour, it will take the reader out of their woes. Also, it motivates an individual to be humorous in real life and kill the monotony. As a writer, try and bring in humour, even as sarcasm and banter.
A happily ever after…
The end is what leaves the most impact on readers. If your ending is confusing and beats around the bush, your readers will not like it. If it’s sad and gloomy, readers will get emotional, but they may also take away a certain negativity. I prefer happy endings. I believe in them. Life is not always happy, but the intent is how hard you try.
Yes, a book will have situations that’ll leave you sad and disappointed, but let that be part of the story. Let the end come on a happy note. When I read a novel, I know I will have to go through ups and downs, but I want to be happy when the book ends. I will never kill my protagonist. I will unite the lovers. I will punish the villains. After all, I am writing a romance novel and not making an art film. To me, a book needs to be gripping and enthralling till the end. It needs to culminate into one big happy ending.