[Note from Frolic: Our friends over at Entangled asked a few of your favorite authors which romance rules they’d like to see broken. Be sure to add these authors and books to your TBR!]
Though romance is filled with tropes aned other conventions that we love, it’s nice to see things shaken up every once in a while! Here are some romance “rules” that romance authors wouldd like to see broken.
A woman shouldn’t initiate—the first conversation, paying for the date, sex, fill in the blank. If you’re comfortable taking the initiative, find a guy who’ll appreciate and respect your confidence.
Bigger is better—a grand gesture or an expensive gift isn’t always better. The little things often mean the most. Waking up to my guy handing me the perfect cup of coffee or an unexpected foot massage while we’re cuddled on the couch are the memorable gestures that make me love him even more.
No Husband and Wife Romances
I think the romance default of non-married hero and heroine romances should go away. Husbands and wives need love stories and continued romances, too. But I do intend the love to be with each other. I am not a heretic or a homewrecker.
The Virgin Widow
While this may be the case in historical arranged marriages, I find It better if the heroine has been well loved. Then the hero has to work hard to win her, because she knows what it means to be well loved.
“The rules are more like guidelines” – Captain Barbossa.
A murderous pirate may have said it, but I have to agree with him. One thing I love to see flipped on its head in Romance is the “men are afraid of commitment” rule. Give me a heroine who’s afraid to walk down the isle, open her heart to love, spend more than a night in someone’s bed. Hey, women can freak out over feelings too! I love writing and reading about women who have everything together on the outside, but inside they’re a hot mess, because let’s be honest, we’re all kind of hot messes. Beautiful, wonderful, hot messes. So give me all the heroines who are afraid of love until it knocks them over the head and refuses to give up on them. Especially if it comes in the form of a Cinnamon-Roll love interest, yes please!
Rule #1 for writing a great romance: Screw the rules…
The trick to writing a great romance is crafting the art of pushing boundaries and breaking norms in a way that engages the reader, allowing them to live vicariously through the authors characters. It’s this consequence-free indulgence that makes the romance market so popular.
Who doesn’t love a hot and steamy forbidden romance? In one way or another, aren’t we all guilty of wanting what we can’t have? This makes our characters relatable and real, and readers desperately hungry to turn the next page. Romance feeds our soul, and the forbidden sparks that secret desire inside of us to be just a little bit naughty.
The Nanny Rules delves into the challenges of wanting what we can’t have, while letting go of the past and learning to love again. My favorite part of writing any book is creating perfectly imperfect characters.
So maybe there is one rule to writing romance after all. Make your characters real. Make them messy. Allow them to make mistakes. A pristine character is unlikable and unbelievable. Oh, and don’t forget the heat! Building combustible chemistry between your characters is a must. If I don’t make your heart pound and your palms sweat, I haven’t done my job. I want my readers to experience everything my characters do, think, and feel, and to know them intimately—flaws and all…
About the Authors:
Nina Crespo: Nina Crespo lives in Florida where she indulges in her favorite passions — the beach, a good glass of wine, date night with her own real-life hero and dancing.
Her lifelong addiction to romance began in her teens while on a “borrowing spree” in her older sister’s bedroom where she discovered her first romance novel.
Let Nina’s sensual contemporary stories and steamy paranormal tales feed your own addiction for love, romance, and happily ever after. Stay connected and find out the latest Nina news on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, or through her newsletter.
Vanessa Riley: Vanessa Riley writes Regency and historical romances featuring multi-cultural communities and powerful persons of color. Her award-winning series, Challenge of the Souls, Advertisements for Love, and The Bargain have attracted attention from NPR, Entertainment Weekly, Washington Post, and fans from around the world. She is a member of the Historical Novel Society and Romance Writers of America and won the Beacon Award, the Colorado Award of Excellence, and placed in the International Digital Awards for her Regency romances. She lives in Atlanta with her career military husband and precocious child. You can catch her writing from the comfort of her southern porch with a cup of Earl Grey tea.
Mariah Ankenman: Bestselling author Mariah Ankenman lives in the beautiful Rocky Mountains with her two rambunctious daughters and loving husband who provides ample inspiration for her heart-stopping heroes.
Whether she’s writing hometown heroes or sexy supernaturals, Mariah loves to lose herself in a world of words. Her favorite thing about writing is when she can make someone’s day a little brighter with one of her books. Visit her website www.mariahankenman.com for more information.
Melynda Price: Melynda Price is a bestselling and award-winning author of contemporary romance. Her novels have finaled in and or won many awards such as the RONE, USA Today BBA, Golden Quill, National Readers’ Choice, Write Touch, and New England Readers’ Choice.
What Price enjoys most about writing is the chance to make her readers fall in love, over and over again. She cites the greatest challenge of writing is making the unbelievable believable, while taking her characters to the limit with stories full of passion and unique twists and turns. Salting stories with undertones of history whenever possible, Price adds immeasurable depth to her well-crafted books. She currently lives in Northern Minnesota with her husband and two children where she has plenty of snow-filled days to curl up in front of the fireplace with her Chihuahua and a hot cup of coffee to write.