This week: Writing Suspenseful RomanceEdited by: Lonewolf
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Romantic suspense is a sub-genre that is broad and encompasses a lot of different styles of writing. One of the first things I asked when I came across this genre is: What exactly qualifies as ‘Romantic Suspense?’
A romantic suspense story is driven equally and simultaneously by the threat of danger and the promise of romance. There are as many variations on this sub-genre as there are types of writers — from hot, erotic love stories with a hint of danger to a murder mystery with a mere allusion to a possible romance. Romantic suspense stories can vary with the types of plots or settings and be even more genre-specific, such as military, police procedural, or classified by the type of hero/heroine.
In a romantic suspense, at least one of the protagonists is in danger (or someone she or he loves, like a sibling or child, is in danger) and the love story builds at the same time that the hero and heroine confront escalating jeopardy. Both the suspense and romance reach a climax that leaves the mystery solved, with the villain(s) defeated and the main characters have their happily ever after ending.
When you write a story that mixes two elements like the Romantic Suspense, it works best when one plot-line is dependent on the other to work or make sense. If you have the protagonists meet and force them to interact because of whatever mystery or suspense you have set up, this will heighten the tension of both the romance and the suspense elements. It’s much easier to think in a straight line, but a linear story plot is not as compelling for the reader than the zig-zag, and clever plot twist. Readers expect the excitement to grow, increasing in layers, to that explosive ending.
As with all writing the first thing you need to do before attempting this or any genre is read some classics and top selling authors. A few of my favorite authors of Romantic Suspense are Nora Roberts - Whiskey Beach, Sandra Brown - Charade, and Sylvia McDaniel - The Burnett Brides series. If you have some time you should check them out they are all good reads.
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