Arianna’s Top 5 things a romance must have (besides romance, because that’s a given).
5. Interesting and believable characters. Characters with complicated and complex pasts really pique my interest. I am a total sucker for the tortured hero too! It’s great seeing the man break out of their shell and face their fears.
It’s also important that the hero and heroine act in character. There’s nothing more jarring than a character doing something completely out of character without any rhyme or reason. Another character issue that seriously irks me is the hero or heroine doing something so incredibly dumb that I don’t care whether they live or die.
4. A well developed and plotted world. The best books in my honest opinion are the ones where the author did his/her research or designed an engaging and interesting world. Some people say that contemporaries don’t need world building, but that’s a bunch of baloney. The world of a doctor is going to be totally different than the world a Chef is used to. Just like the world of a stay at home mom is going to different from the Wall Street day trader.
Historicals, even if set in a steampunk or fantasy world should have period appropriate dialogue and situations. There is only so much artistic license one can take. But it’s steampunk! No one is going to care about the historical details, right? WRONG! I’m a pretty lenient reader. I will let a few incorrect details slip. Other readers are not so forgiving. If you’re writing a historical piece, even if it’s set in an alternate fantasy world, you need to do your research.
3. Engaging and believable dialogue. Strong and snappy dialogue really work for me as a reader. Long passages of dialogue, especially if it servers no purpose, really bore me. Add an extra yawn if it’s stilted. The best way I’ve found to make sure the dialogue reads naturally is to read it out loud to myself. Try it. You’ll be surprised what you hear.
2. Strong Sexual Tension. The best books are the one where the sparks between the hero and heroine practically leap off the page. What kind of story would there be if the hero and the heroine instantly fall in love and have no conflict? Might as well start the book with “THE END” instead of “CHAPTER ONE”.
1. A Happily Ever After! I passionately dislike love stories that end in tragedy or the hero and heroine never stay together. If an author does this, I will throw the book against the wall, stomp on it and toss it in a fire. (By golly, I hope I’m not reading it on my Nook)