First things first: I am the new blogger around these parts, and, as of now, I am the only guy. Not that I’m going to blog about fixing cars (I keep the local car mechanics in business) or home repair (I can bake you some brownies and write you a blog post, but I can’t fix your sink), but I hope to give a slightly different perspective on matters of writing.
That gets me to my first subject—romance. Now, I like to think of myself as a pretty romantic guy, and, when we were dating, I did the whole flowers and candy thing for my soon-to-be-wife. Then, we were married and tried to stick to a budget, my wife dared me to ever send her flowers because they just die and there goes your money.
When I started writing Christian fiction, I went to several writers conferences and heard the same thing over and over: ROMANCE SELLS!!
Oh, great! At the time I had never read a romance novel, let alone tried to write one. I decided I needed to know the market better, so I gave in and picked up one of these books to read.
And then there were “the complications.” Each time the hero and heroine seemed destined to get together, they would have a fight or a misunderstanding or a natural disaster or something like that. I was so impatient. Why can’t they just get together???
I soon realized that, if they just got together after a few pages, there would be no story. I started paying attention to the writing, the plotting, the twists and turns. I finished that first book with a new appreciation for the genre, and I moved on to others. Some I enjoyed, some I groaned all the way through. I gradually came around—and I even watch Hallmark Channel romance movies with my wife now!
What developed was an appreciation for the genre and a realization of the storytelling potential. You can have a suspenseful romance, a humorous romance, and basically a romance set against any type of backdrop.
With these things in mind, here are some prompts:
- Develop an unusual setting for a romance novel—maybe an unlikely locale, place of business, etc.
- Think of unique professions for a romantic heroine and hero.
- What is a complication/entanglement these characters might experience.
Have fun with it, and don’t mind me—I’ll be sitting over here watching a Hallmark movie.
Carlton W. Hughes is a communications professor at Southeast Kentucky Community College and coordinates the Dual Credit Program at Harlan County High School, where he also teaches part-time. He is children’s pastor at Lynch Church of God and won the 2013 Shepherd’s Cup Award, the highest honor for children’s pastors in the Church of God denomination. Hughes is also a year-round volunteer and Relay Center Coordinator for Operation Christmas Child. As a writer, his works have been featured in numerous publications, including the books Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Dating Game and Simple Little Words. Hughes is a two-time first-place winner in the “Dramas/ Plays/Scripts” category in the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference Writers Contest. He resides in Cumberland, Kentucky, and he and his wife Kathy have two sons, Noah and Ethan. He is a fan of chocolate, good books, basketball, and classic television shows like “I Love Lucy.”