Photo by Marcelo Chagas
While it’s a relatively newer and yet emerging subgenre in literature, fantasy romance novels have caught the eye and interest of the general public. The question is, how does one create a gripping story of this genre?
Everybody loves a good romance. Stories that make your heart year to love and be loved. Those that, agreeably and quite unpleasantly, might make one feel lonely but simultaneously anticipate the love meant for them. Romance novels are unapologetically dramatic; some even are over-the-top dramatic that would elicit an eye roll. But it’s this nature that makes people hopeful and believe in love.
This hopeful longing is among the many reasons that make romance novels one of the most popular genres in the market. Aside from these love and charming stories, a good portion of the population also seeks and enjoys nail-biting genres that lay out an alleyway for escapism. One such genre is fantasy or stories that involve magic, mystical creatures, and everything under an imaginative sun.
Now, mix these two genres, and authors birth one of the most exciting, daring, captivating fantasy romance novels.
Fantasy Romance Novels
Imagine having clothes randomly appear in the closet. Whenever they’re worn, the person gets transported to a particular time and with men who are the closest thing to being perfect. This would be a dream come true for every hopeless romantic. To experience a love that reflects how men romance women during different centuries and decades would be a blissful rollercoaster ride. This is the plotline from Melissa Rea’s story, Rabbithole Nights of Alice.
From the title, readers can expect to fall into the protagonist’s rabbit hole of nightly adventures, relationships, and the connections she encounters when she slips on a magical dress. The book shows the perfect balance of romance and magic. On one end of the story lies a delightful romance wherein the character meets and connects with different types of men. The fantasy element that sprinkles fun and thrill into these love lines is woven throughout this.
This Rabbithole Nights of Alice book perfectly captures the typical elements of fantasy romance novels. These are stories where fantasy and romance overlap or blend into one plot. Fantasy romance novels may primarily be romance with a fantasy subplot or the other way around. As a combination of two separate genres, it can be challenging to juggle fantasy romance. So, here are some tips to help authors capture and create page-turning fantasy romance novels.
Focus on the Fantasy Aspect. Romance Can Come In Later
While fantasy romance novels must be a balanced mixture of the two genres, it can’t be denied that one needs a little extra attention and effort. Between romance and fantasy, the latter requires more planning. Romantic connections can be written easily compared to fantasy novels’ world-building and plot design.
Authors can focus on creating the fantasy aspect of their stories first. What magic system or mystical creatures exist, and how do they affect the story? What should the protagonist experience within this fantasy world, and what are their conflicts? Once these details have been settled, the romance can be added and will often naturally flow out between characters. This romantic element of the story can further add excitement to the fantasy.
Consider a Trope and Maximize It
Every genre has tropes. For instance, fantasy has the “chosen one,” and romance has “enemies-to-lovers.” By identifying these tropes first, the story and subsequent plot points will be easier to determine and plan. Should the story have the protagonist save the city? Will her enemy be someone who’ll choose to save her in the end?
In Melissa Rea’s story, the fantasy pretty much makes up the opportunity for romance to happen. With magical dresses, the protagonist can meet different men and experience different love stories. The magic regarding tropes is that authors can twist and play around with them to create something fresh and exciting.
Identify Characters and Their Goals
Romance can’t happen when the needed characters don’t meet and interact. And no effective storyteller will randomly insert a new character mid-story to fulfill a romance subplot.
In fantasy romance novels, characters must be well-planned since the stories juggle two different genres and externally different goals. Every character must contribute to the story. Hence, although one character might primarily be the love interest of another, they must also play a part in the plot’s fantasy aspect. They can’t magically come out of nowhere when the story needs romance, even though a person magically appearing can be considered fantasy.
Some authors create character profiles before plotting things. This process can ensure all available characters serve a purpose and have goals to achieve on their own.
Craft Great Romance Scenes
Most readers stay for great romantic scenes. More than the thrilling fight scenes or exhilarating journeys, readers want to get excited about love. They want to experience the characters’ pining, pushing, and pulling. Some readers get more amusement from these events. Hence, authors must provide for this demand.