Romantic Suspense is a subgenre that offers a writer to indulge in writing a story that is the perfect blend of romance and danger. A romantic suspense novel is filled with action, but also romance, with the hero, heroine, or a person they care about being under imminent threat. While there might be many variations of the danger/romance combination, sometimes even branching out in other genres, the main element still remains the dualistic nature of the journey the hero and heroine will take. Their task is to find the antagonist, the villain, solve the puzzle behind his or her identity, but there is also the promise of romance, the element of attraction between them that really gives the genre its name. This is why we’ve gathered some tips below that will help you write a novel that contains this potent mix, which will keep the readers on the edges of their seat.
1. Emotional characterization
The mark of a good writer is characterization. However, when you’re writing a romantic suspense novel, this goes to the next level. Your characters, the hero, heroine, the villain and every other suspect need to be emotionally developed, their actions dictated by many elements. These elements depend on circumstance, background and their emotions. The suspects will need to have enough motives to be legit suspects, the villain needs to be well developed and believable – avoid creating the mustache-twirling villain who is bad just because you need them to be bad. The hero and heroine will need to be in the right place, emotionally speaking, to fall in love with each other – even if past hurts and disappointments makes them think differently.
2. Attraction from within
The attraction between the hero and the heroine can not happen because they’ve been put together to fight against the villain – that is, their attraction shouldn’t come just from the circumstance they’ve been put it. Instead, it has to come from within. The fact that they have a common enemy should only serve to bring them together – in physical vicinity, where they can interact. But you must convince the reader that had they met in a different, random circumstance; they would have still felt the same way for each other.
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3. Intertwining plots
If the romance can happen in any other circumstance, why the need for intertwining plots? Because the sense of danger can speed up things, has the capability to incite change in the characters. If you extract the romance out of the suspense, then your novel might just turn out differently. While the attraction needs to come from within, the happy ending for the romance needs to be deeply intertwined with the suspense. A romantic suspense novel has two parallel plots, but one cannot exist without the other.
4. Mood settings
What you need to remember when writing a romantic suspense novel is that you need to ensure two types of atmosphere – danger and romance. The best way to do this is by pacing your writing – the scenes where your characters face danger should be fast paced, or, if you’re writing suspense with a dash of horror, slowed down to a crawl. However, you mustn’t forget the romance part. Make sure you have scenes where the hero and heroine connect with each other, and their interactions are focused on themselves and their fledgling relationship. These scenes don’t need to be fast paced like the danger scenes, and should become a cozy corner in your book that will push the romantic plot of your novel forward.
5. Other features
The genre of romantic suspense offers a lot of opportunities to branch out, add features from other genres to your novel. For example, sprinkling humor here and there will help you relieve some of the tension and add some levity to the danger. Remember, the readers enjoy suspense and romance – it’s why they’ve chosen to read your book, but don’t forget that too much suspense can do more harm than good, just as too many tender moments between the hero and heroine will make your book saccharine sweet and make readers roll their eyes. What you must do is keep both the romance and the suspense believable – and to do so, you should insert other features of every day life into your novel.
Image credit: Erica Zabowski on flickr and reproduced under Creative Commons 2.0[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]https://writingtipsoasis.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/photo.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Georgina Roy wants to live in a world filled with magic. As an art student, she’s moonlighting as a writer and is content to fill notebooks and sketchbooks with magical creatures and amazing new worlds. When she is not at school, or scribbling away in a notebook, you can usually find her curled up, reading a good urban fantasy novel, or writing on her laptop, trying to create her own.