Writing Romance

(Part 1 of many as I learn this crazy genre 😊 )

I’ve decided to try my hand at writing romance. Not a foo-foo-lovey-dovey-kissy romance (there’s nothing wrong with those–I just don’t read them), but specifically historical romance mystery.

Historical romance mysteries are historical mysteries that include strong romantic elements. This is a bit of a stretch for me, not because I’ve never included romance in my other books, but because I’ve never set out to make the romance a priority.

For precisely that reason, I wanted to make sure I hit some of my marks when it comes to what readers expect from a romance. This includes plenty of sizzling romantic tension, related but ultimately different worldviews ensuring loads of conflict, and perhaps most importantly, a question of when, how, and if these two will ultimately end up together. (And, of course, if they’ll solve the mystery.)

As a series, the romantic plot and their relationship will evolve, and they’ll find themselves immersed in increasingly dangerous mysteries and conflicts. All of this will take place in the early 20th century in Butte, Montana, which had its own share of sordid history at that point.

Another thing my romance will have to include is chemistry.

Did you see Jurassic World? I felt that the chemistry between Chris Pratt’s character Owen and his love interest, Bryce Dallas Howard’s Claire, was completely non-existent. We knew they were meant for each other simply from the standard movie plot construct but the two actors had no sexual tension between them, none of that push and pull that makes good chemistry. Maybe it was because neither character had much in the way of background to show who they were, or why they should or shouldn’t be together. They showed up in the amusement park world of the jurassic with very little baggage. It’s mentioned that they once dated but that was it. There were no arguments relating to that past, to their breakup, etc. Now, granted, part of the reason for these missing elements might be that this was most definitely an action movie, not a romance. But it would’ve been a lot better had the chemistry existed.  

In romances, chemistry is built on that push and pull–the desire to open oneself up to another, and the fear of what that entails. The characters are similar and that similarity builds competition, leading to conflict (and desire). They’re obsessed with one another, they actively seek each other out. They react strongly to one another, and most importantly, they’re (eventually) vulnerable with one another. That’s why sometimes those with a history often have the most chemistry between them–they’ve already been vulnerable, they’ve been hurt (by each other), and they’re hesitant to open themselves up again.

What books, movies, or comic books have good examples of chemistry between their characters? Have you read any historical romance mysteries before? If so, what did you like about them? Comment below!

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