This month, in honor of Valentine's Day, the Inkwell authors will talk about romantic elements, whatever that means in their writing. Not all of us are "romance" authors, but I'd wager that most of us write romance to some degree. The percentage of how much space that romance takes on the page determines whether it can fall into that category.
Valid genres include Romantic Suspense, Romantic Comedy, Mystery Romance, etc. These have strong elements of both. I write straight romance for Heartsong Presents. They require 50/50 romance, where both points of view are represented, and we see a clear romance thread between both the hero and heroine.
How do you know whether you've woven the romance thread for both points of view equally? To answer that, let me tell you about a character named Meranda Drake. She's my heroine in the next Oregon book, Crossroads Bay, due out soon. Meranda is a charter boat captain with her sites set on--no, not a man, but a treasure of coins. This character gave me such fits because she's a tomboy, focused on her quest, and clearly not needing a man no matter how cute I made him. Through the first few chapters I kept pleading with her, "Meranda, I know the coins are important, but come on! Paul is standing right there practically drooling for you and you can't see it." It wasn't until she realized one day that she needed to talk to Paul over a disturbing event in her life that she finally started having romantic feelings for him. It was then that she started talking to me like a girl instead of a boat captain.
Crossroads Bay very nearly became a mystery with romantic elements because of my tough as nails heroine. But once we got to the point where she saw in Paul what I saw in him, I could go back and edit in little hints of interest to create that 50/50 requirement.
Flashback to my first Heartsong book, Merely Players, (available in the 3-in-1 Florida Weddings.) I couldn't keep the hero and heroine apart. She was supposed to be mad at him for forgetting about her for ten years, but she kept caving. Then I would have to remind her why she was mad at him by creating conflict. I don't know how many times I wrote a kissing scene and had to delete it.
So, find the balance in your own writing. Do you want to be known as a mystery romance writer? Then pump up the romance to equal the mystery. Do you want to write for Heartsong Presents, Steeple Hill's Love Inspired, or others that requre the 50/50 romance? Be sure that both povs have the strong romantic thread.
For a visual on the 50/50 romance, watch the movie Ever After with Drew Barrymore and Dougray Scott. Both romance threads weave together so beautifully they appear to dance.
Kathleen E. Kovach is an award winning author, leader of the local critique group JOY Writers, and the Rocky Mountain Zone Director for American Christian Fiction Writers. Kathleen has three books published with two more contracted. A mom and grandmother, she lives in northeast Colorado with her husband of over three decades. Visit her online: www.craftcinema.blogspot.com, www.kathleenekovach.blogspot.com, www.KathleenEKovach.com.