Character is key

I know there are cynics out there who say romance novels are too generic, that ‘they’re all the same.’

I don’t agree.

1134 copyFor me, a romance must be character-led. Yes, of course there needs to be a plot, a setting etc. … but the main reason someone picks up a romance is to get involved with the two lead characters.

That reader wants to get to know them, to find out what makes them tick – their motivations; the events in their past that affect the way they behave in the present; the reasons they ultimately fall in love with each other.

And in order for the writer to keep the reader interested, these two people must seem real. Of course, it’s perfectly possible to create two cardboard-cut-out characters, but they just won’t hack it in a book that revolves entirely around them. They need depth and emotion. They need to be unique individuals – and that is why a good romance cannot be just a re-hash of something else.

It’s a given that many of the plot devices won’t be unique – that would be impossible. But it’s how the characters react to the situations their creator puts them in that makes the difference, and the way they react will be based entirely on their individual personalities.

As a reader, I need to be able to believe in and empathise with the characters before I can even begin to care about their romance.

As a writer … I need to bear all the above in mind!



2 thoughts on “Character is key

  1. Tonette Joyce says:

    I think that many people who believe that have not read much or any from modern writers, they are thinking only “Barbara Cartland”. Also, there are a few lazy pulp writers out there, but there are lousy mysteries out there, as well.

    It’s the time and care the writer cares to put into their work.Editors, publishers and,( especially), READERS, should demand more.
    Keep up the good work!

    • Helen Pollard says:

      Thanks, Tonette! I agree, there will always be inferior products, just as there are of anything – but as a reader, it’s easy to vote with your feet. The least you can expect is something that someone has taken time and effort with (and in many cases, blood, sweat & tears!)

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