There’s all kinds of books ranging from science fiction, to realistic fiction, but it seems some people believe that romance has been a degraded genre. I think they’re just repetitive and people are getting bored of reading them. Some of the conflicts are hardly even that difficult for the characters to get over and I think romance writers can do so much better. Here is what I think romance writers should do to improve their books and feel free to comment any other ideas that come to mind.
Jimmy and Jane don’t have to have a happily ever after.
Romance novels do this all the time and it’s so, so predictable. Maybe Jimmy has to move or Jane dies in a car crash. Maybe it took the other person years to move on because they missed them so much. Romeo and Juliet was a romantic play, but no one sees anything else like it anymore.
There’s more to life than lovers
Even if it is romance, remember people typically have other ambitions too. Maybe Jane got a job in New York, but Jimmy has to stay where they are for his work and Jane is crying because she can’t decide what she wants more. Most people -especially someone that doesn’t have a partner quite yet- are at a tug of war between what they want to do in life and the people they want in their life. I think this is important in romance novels, dreams need to be acknowledged if romance writers really want their stories to look realistic.
Maybe someone gets burned
Again, it shouldn’t be predictable, it shouldn’t always be Jimmy asks Jane out either. They shouldn’t always say yes to the first person that asks them out. Maybe Jack asked Jane out before Jimmy did and Jane said no. It will make the novel better because this is what happens in real life.
It’s not always rainbows and unicorns
Don’t make the book happy and giddy all the time, that’s not what happens in the real world. Maybe Jimmy’s family died in a fire and he’s clinging onto Jane because she’s the only “family” he has. Maybe they fight because Jimmy cheated on Jane, maybe Jane leaves and ends up dating Jack.
Make things CHANGE
One thing I’ve seen in romance novels is there isn’t really much of an arch in either character, all that changes is their relationship status. I know people can’t always change others, but maybe something else does. For example, maybe Jimmy hates kids and Jane loves them. Maybe Jane creates a “bring your child to work day,” and there is a kid that makes Jimmy change his mind without persuading him to.
It doesn’t have to be sappy
If someone’s a good writer, they can find other ways to appeal to a readers emotions. Readers don’t have to fall in love with the male or female lover, but they should at least fall in love with their relationship. This is another romance thing that is repetitive and almost cliché. Cliché writing is a path no writer should go down. For some readers it almost makes them want to set the book down and find something else. Maybe Jack and Jane just like getting coffee and talking rather than Jack giving Jane flowers every day.
If someone writes romance fiction and wants to keep the genre alive, please, please shuffle a deck of ideas and write down a list of things in romance novels that have become common. The world wants something new and we’re waiting for romance writers to show us a different story.