Chessie and Lowan... Help with Outline

Discussion in 'Writing Discussions' started by Heliotrope, Jun 8, 2018.

  1. Heliotrope

    Heliotrope Staff Article Team

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    Hey you Romance writers!

    I'm trying my hand right now at a Gothic stye mystery/romance... (Sort of a Wuthering Heights/Jane Eyre/Rebecca type situation with haunted manor houses and foggy countrysides and attractive though standoffish gentleman farmers, lol).

    So what is the basic outline you use for a romance? Like, what is expected of a romance plot?
     
  2. pmmg

    pmmg Dark Lord

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    Boy meets girl, she cant stand him, he wins her over, they hit it off, they are all hot about it, something happens and they separate, they are stubborn and become miserable, something happens that puts them back together, and then something breaks between them and they become forever united.

    Ah...story of my life, only I got stopped somewhere in the middle.
     
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  3. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

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    You mean these two? Chessie2Chessie2, A. E. LowanA. E. Lowan

    I'm writing a romance story in my fanfiction, but I don't think it follows the usual patterns. I didn't have to introduce the characters, and the "love square" only has two people in it.

    The basic notion though... there's a commitment arc, and every time that commitment arc changes (they get closer, they move apart, etc.), the people have to change in a way that leads to the next shift. (They get closer, but that scares him. They move apart, and she's not happy with that. They get more distant, he realizes he doesn't want to lose her...)
     
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  4. Chessie2

    Chessie2 Staff Article Team

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    Heliotrope: are you writing a true romance? Because a lot of people seem to think that if there's love and romance it doesn't need to end happily ever after in order to be romance.

    A romance plot:
    -must end in happily ever after or happy for now, with both heroes together making their relationship work at the finish.
    -must be emotionally stimulating
    -must have strong/powerful love scenes (intimacy can be from connecting emotionally to sex and everything in between)
    -there has to be attraction right at the beginning, even if they don't like each other
    -which means it's the funnest when they DON'T like each other. What turns us romance readers on is the banter between the heroes because it's peppered with sexual tension.
    -Resources: read romance! Anything that sounds interesting. You have to read a lot of it in order to understand the genre and have an appreciation for what the audience likes. What the audience likes, however, varies from subgenre to subgenre, and niche audiences within those subgenres. I highly recommend Romancing The Beat by Gwen Hayes. But none of what she's saying will make sense if you don't read romance.

    *A lot of writers like to look down on romance as if it's beneath them in craft and difficulty, but the fact is that romance is very tough to write and write well. Romance readers require certain nuances that not just anybody can pull off. It's not about sex, or kissing, or puffy dresses. Romance is about two people who overcome their emotional flaws and obstacles stopping them from being a fulfilled version of themselves. These are heroes who end up together forever with their love interests. A lot of change needs to occur in order for that to happen.

    EDIT: to add that what is required is more emotional than anything. Romance is read mostly by women, and so therefore the book's audience will likely be female. You, as a female writer, have to really think about what turns YOU on when it comes to love, romance, and relationships. What sort of things do you find attractive in your husband? What made you choose to be with him forever? How did you overcome the emotional obstacles that stood in the way of you falling in love? Because it happens to all of us. Healthy relationships often vacillate between liking and disliking our love interests. The same happens in romance novels. It's not so much that outside forces are keeping them apart (although that SHOULD be a thing anyway), but more so that THEY keep themselves from truly falling into a committed relationship sooner than they do.
     
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2018
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  5. Chessie2

    Chessie2 Staff Article Team

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    Poop: I just realized that I didn't say what I use for an outline. I made my own up using Gwen Hayes and Libbie Hawker's books (the latter of which I recommend on this site to the extent I sound like a broken record). I am hesitant to put that up here simply because it's directly taken from their work and I don't want to plagiarize/copyright violate.

    SO...read their books, then read some romance novels. If you're looking for examples of the romance you're writing, Allyson Jeleyne is an author I recommend.
     
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  6. Heliotrope

    Heliotrope Staff Article Team

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    Yes! True Romance. I, like you, after years finally finding my voice, have realized that I don't think I'm actually a fantasy writer. (I still want to hang out here though.... so don't tell anyone). After years of free writing and submitting stuff to short story magazines, and now working on a Certificate in Creative writing, I have realized my best stuff is real world stuff... and that I have a bit of a penchant for gothic lit.

    I read way more historical romance than I do fantasy, so I'm not sure what possessed me to think fantasy was my genre (I think I thought fantasy would be easier, frankly, because I can make up my own worlds instead of researching actual history, lol). So check on reading a ton of romance (true romance), and check on reading a ton of gothic lit and historical fiction... So I'm feeling ready to move onto a story that is closer to my heart and my style.... but realizing I haven't spent a lot of time really getting into the nitty gritty of writing romance....

    So.... THANKS for the resources :) I will look into those.
     
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  7. Chessie2

    Chessie2 Staff Article Team

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    Lol yeah it was kind of a DUH! moment for me as well when I realized that I sucked at writing fantasy and was much better at writing historical romance. We all have weaknesses and strengths. I still enjoy reading fantasy though.
     
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  8. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

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    You could just PM it to her
     
  9. Chessie2

    Chessie2 Staff Article Team

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    True, but it would make more sense if she read the book. :D
     
  10. A. E. Lowan

    A. E. Lowan Staff Article Team

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    I bow before the expert. We just write urban fantasy with strong romantic subplots, so it's hard for me to speak to a romance outline, other than you want attraction, you want emotion - as in all the feels, and like with any good writing you want to evoke all of the senses.
     
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  11. Orc Knight

    Orc Knight Grandmaster

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    My romance (sub) plots of sorts are usually person meets person (or more then one).
    Mutual attractions ensue.
    Danger might be involved at times too. Fantasy world and such as I don't really do full on romance.
    Difficulties and the like, some personal and maybe some other drama.
    Actually talk things out over it. Only so much drama for sake of plot and failing to act like adults I can take in romances.
    The get together at the end once things have worked out.
    Maybe a bit of red wine or beer or whatever the characters prefer on a good third or fifth date or whatever.

    My kind of line up for it.
     
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  12. Writer’s_Magic

    Writer’s_Magic Mystagogue

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  13. Heliotrope

    Heliotrope Staff Article Team

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    Yeah, it was a "duh" moment. In University I ended up focusing specifically on gothic/romantic lit because I found it connected with me so deeply, but that was ten years ago. I've been working on this fantasy novel for a few years now, (among other things), and I started taking this writing program. Everything I was submitting to the writing program was gothic, and the instructor commented on how my style/voice really lent itself to that genre. It was like a lightbulb. I got an idea for a gothic/mystery, sat down, wrote an entire 30 page synopsis in about 3 days. It took me months to do that with my fantasy book! I just don't have anything new to offer the fantasy genre. I don't read enough fantasy.
     
  14. Heliotrope

    Heliotrope Staff Article Team

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    It's all good, I'm happy to have some new books to read, it they will be more in depth than poor Chessie could do with a PM.
     
  15. Heliotrope

    Heliotrope Staff Article Team

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    Because I have zero interest in steampunk? I don't read it, I can't write it. It is not interesting to me. I have a romance idea already. I need to know more about romance structure.
     
  16. Writer’s_Magic

    Writer’s_Magic Mystagogue

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    HeliotropeHeliotrope Ok, then! But it would be an awesome idea if you make mixed ages. Especially, the genre hasn’t seen something like this with a romance story!
     
  17. Heliotrope

    Heliotrope Staff Article Team

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    But that is not my story. I have a story I am wanting to write. You are welcome to write that story if you wish.
     
  18. Chessie2

    Chessie2 Staff Article Team

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    I'd be willing to do a PM but reading the books would help you gain a deeper understanding of why the structure is the way that it is. Sometimes you just need it broken down. If I say, no way#1, inkling this could work, no way #2 then Helio, smart a lady as she is, could probably figure out what I'm talking about but hearing it from a master, broken down in a thorough way, would help Helio out a lot more than I could just throwing those terms out at her. Also, I don't think it's very fair to the authors who wrote those books to just put up their outlines without encouraging others to read their books. Guess I'm just weird like that. :D

    Helio, I'd be glad to carry on this conversation via PM if you feel the need, you know I'm always up for chatting.
     
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