This post was originally published at Novelicious.com and is now at WritingTipsOasis.com. WritingTipsOasis.com acquired Novelicious.com in June 2022.
Who knows the ins and outs of romance better than a Harlequin editor? At some point, we’ve all wished romance could be more like fiction. Patience Bloom certainly did, many times over. Every day, her romantic fantasies came true – on paper. Bloom became an expert when it came to fictional love stories, editing amazing books and learning everything she could about the romance business. But her dating life remained uninspired, until a Facebook message prompted her own sweeping love story.
By Patience Bloom
With their tales of stolen kisses and soft utterances in the dark, romance novels may inhabit the world of fantasy, but I say these are educational reads. Consider the fact that knowledgeable, talented writers pen these juicy stories. Romance writers know about the business of books and, more importantly, the steps needed to recreate on paper a fulfilling love story. As I wrote Romance Is My Day Job, these steps and life lessons became obvious, and eventually helped me weed out the sub-par suitors. Here’s what I learned from those books:
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1. There’s no time to wait around. With love on the page, you won’t find so much primping in front of a mirror or days spent wondering if he'll call. The heroine pines, yearns, but this doesn’t stop her from running to meetings, baking muffins, going to her book club, fixing her own flat tire, and caring for her little brother and her great-aunt.
2. It's okay to be vulnerable as long as it's not all the time. A romance novel hallmark is the vulnerability displayed by both parties. She tells a little about herself, he himself. They move closer. But don’t mistake this for a therapy session. It's just sharing. Constant complaining about past torments isn’t a tool of seduction.
3. When in doubt, do. Romance heroines are active. They don't often spend whole weekends on the couch. Maybe in exceptional cases, but for the most part, the heroine picks up the pieces. I’ve always admired how she keeps going even while swimming in a pool of depression.4. He has feelings, too. In real life, it’s easy to forget that your partner has emotions. Unless you ask him what's wrong, he might not tell you, but those feelings exist. Even though romance novels are written by one person, you get both points of view. It’s a reminder that you're not the only one in the relationship.
5. The right person commits. In every romance novel, a happy ending is guaranteed. This involves commitment, and not that he will maybe come over at 2am. The hero is a real, breathing Prince Charming – he wants to be with you at any moment.
6. He visits you when you have a sudden attack of appendicitis. Heroes don’t always make chicken soup from scratch every time you have a cold, but the great ones don’t question being there in an emergency. Romances teach you not to settle for a bad romance.
7. You can love smaller moments as well as bigger ones. Romance novels feature the big moments in love, but true love is filled with pleasant minutia. By reading so much drama in romance, I learned to appreciate the joy of running errands with someone cute.
8. Expect the best. I'm a strong believer in holding out for the best, even if that’s a night by yourself with a cocktail and a good book. If you latch onto someone you know isn't right, chances are you won’t be satisfied. If you go half-heartedly into love, it may not yield long-term happiness either. Waiting, while not waiting, leaves you open for that happy ending.
9. Love makes you feel good. The times when I was obviously dating the wrong person (and so was he), I felt terrible – gut ache, lethargy, constant anxiety. When true love happens, a heroine mostly feels good, not doubled over in pain, not pulling a Romeo and Juliet, or leaving shrieking phone messages. She flourishes.
10. Anything can happen at any time. The heroine is in her own world when romance suddenly turns it upside down. This is real – and good!
With each book, you will find new lessons and adventures. Most of all, these stories gives hope that finding someone great could happen – and in many cases – does happen. My own romance novel came to life with the sudden appearance of Sam, the Popular Guy/Class Clown in my high school. Twenty-six years after we first met, he found me on Facebook. Our whirlwind romance prompted me to write my memoir, Romance is My Day Job, which features my dating history, life as a romance editor, and the ultimate love story I never thought I’d experience. My romance has been an eye-opening lesson that true love can indeed leap off the page.
Romance Is My Day Job by Patience Bloom is out now.