What makes a Romance?

Romance is defined as: 1. Characters involved in events in time or place. 2. To entertain romantic thoughts or ideas. 3. To carry on a love affair.

Sexual: symbolizing or implying desires or activity to someone.
Tension: the act of stretching or the condition of being stretched.

When writing Romance there are two key elements to focus on. Create a central theme for love and an emotional but happy ever after ending.

The major element I want to talk about is Sexual Tension. There must be a solid physical attraction between the hero and heroine. Having inner feelings, builds believable characters. Conflict enhances a push-pull emotional drive. Chemistry between the couple could be a racing heartbeat, butterfly like sensation within their stomachs or a nervousness that can’t be explained.

Sexual tension could merely begin with a look, nod or smile. The hero and heroine are physically attracted from the start.

Our Hero is in awe of her appearance. The swaying of her hips in a short mini skirt. Her fully developed breasts gently pushing against a tight see through blouse. Shinny black shoulder length hair swaying with each step she takes.

The Heroine notices his tight cowboy shirt barely hiding his muscular chest. A powerful masculine voice echoes in the moonlit night. The way his body moves in his tight blue jeans.

Characters are touched by heat of each other’s breath. Passion deepens with a stimulating desire for each other. A bold kiss or two moves tension to a deeper level of intimacy. One or both find they can’t stop thinking about each other. Each time they meet brings their desire for a longing fulfillment to take place. A kiss may last longer with a warming embrace.

Powerful sexual tension comes from incorporating elements such as the kind of weather. The pitter patter of rain drops upon a side walk. Rustling sounds of leaves while walking in an overgrown forest. Sounds of loud bolts of thunder coming from the sky, displaying silhouettes of brightness, in the midst of darkness.

Utilize your surroundings if your characters are indoors. An open window causes a gentle breeze moving a curtain swaying back and forth. A Grandfather clock ticks to the sounds of each breath they take. A semi dark room shows the illumination of a glowing candle.

You don’t have to have a love scene. You want sizzle, spark and an everlasting bond between the couple. Sexual tension is the key to success. Sensual romances are best when the sexual tension level is high. Each chapter builds more anticipation for the reader. Creating a rhythm of sexuality between your characters. Just remember their relationship enriches their obstacles and finds their true love. They’ve found their soul mate.

My suggestion is to write your story. When it is finished, polished and ready for submission, you can choose what sub-genre will fit and appeal to your publisher.
Contemporary Romance
Historical Romance
Regency Historical Romance
Inspirational Romance
Paranormal Romance
Romantic Suspense
Erotic Romance

Happy Valentine’s Day!!


Nina Sipes said...

Good Job on the description that is so central to a good romance. I was judging romances a few years ago for a group in Denver and was pleasantly surprised by the level of extremely well done writing and tension in the inspirational romance group. They had some of the best I've ever read. It taught me that reading out of our preferred zone can be helpful in showcasing desirable elements--as well as some good reads.

Becky A said...

Thanks Sharon, I now have more work to do!! I tend to forget those little background things that can really paint a full picture. Your reminder was timely for me.
Re: Nina's comment on Inspirational romance.
Since they very seldom ever get to finalize their desire, all you have to work with is tension! :)
Have you ever anticipated something only to realize it and discovered that the wanting was so much more than the getting? (Like a toy or certain candy)
And when the getting is described down to the last gritty detail, somehow it doesn't seem so great after all.(Turn the Tv on,turn to channel 3, press the input button, go down the menu, select av1, turn on the dvd player, press this, do that, blah, blah, blah. Thinking about watching a movie is a lot more fun than doing it these days.)
I think our imaginations can be far more powerful than our realities, even in a work of fiction.
Does that make sense?

Rox Delaney said...

The sexual tension is the best part and easiest for some of us (meaning ME) to sometimes forget when we get caught up in the story. I need to do my homework for a refresher course. *grin* And what better way than to see it!

Moonlighting was famous for its sexual tension. I didn't watch it, but I heard that once the two of them "did the deed," the popularity of the show began to fade.

I'm a Castle fan, and it's another that has lots of ST. I've watched Bones a couple of times, and it certainly has its share, too.

Any suggestions for others? What's your favorite TV show that's loaded with sexual tension?

Nina Sipes said...

The secret to happiness is anticipation.

Joan Vincent said...

Escalating tension is always a grabber be it--no pun intended. Thanks for the reminder about how exterior detail can be utilized for this. It is true that one's mind tends to translate everything according to its current fixation whether food, clothes, or a man.

Moonlighting indeed had a lot of sexual tension going for it on a higher and stronger level than any current show I can think of. I like Bones but only occassionally feel sparks. Remington Steele had it. Castle definitely. In fact after thinking about it, Castle is one of the few man/woman shows around or at least that I watch.

Rox Delaney said...

Joan, I only started watching Castle this season, but I'm addicted. I like the humor and the banter between them...and those looks that pass from him to her and her to him that say it all.

My favorite episode this season was when his old girlfriend showed up. At the end, after the gf had told him goodbye, she walked up to Beckett. I knew exactly what she was going to say. "He's all yours now." Classic.

Penny Rader said...

Great post, Sharon!

I love Castle. His "I really am ruggedly handsome" in the opening sequence always makes me laugh. Love Bones, too. Temperance and Seely (sp?) balance each other so well.

One of my new faves, which I hope they bring back soon, is Lie to Me. There's definitely something there between Cal and Gillian. Funny, I never thought I'd like Tim Roth after seeing play such a ba--uh, jerk in a movie I saw a long time ago but can't recall the name of.

It's interesting though, that when they finally let characters be together after months/years of the will they/won't they, the chemistry often fizzles and the viewers lose interest. Like with Sam and Diane of Cheers.

The emotional tension/chemistry, etc is what draws me to the characters. Tab A in Slot B not so much.

I'm watching the Olympics and there's a piece on about Apolo Ohno. OMG, that guy is just...gorgeous! I can't look away from him. Bet he'll be even more fabuloso in 10 years. Just a minute--have to wipe the drool off my keyboard.

Penny Rader said...

Just remembered another couple loaded with sexual tension. House. When House kissed Cutty (Cuddy?) a season or so ago...wow. I'm pretty sure I sighed out loud. But being the jerk extraordinaire that he is, House always manages to screw it up. But she's still drawn to him...even if she's trying to fool herself into believing she'll be happy with the cute guy she's living with now. May 'happy' isn't the right word. But, imho, she'll always wonder if there'd be...more...if she and House were together.