Have you ever wanted to write a typical, not-so-extraordinary romance novel? It’s simple, really. All you have to do is create the primary characters, the heroine and the hero. Next step: add the secondary characters into the mix for fun, drama, and intrigue. Lastly, add some interesting scenes. For romance scenes, leave them to simmer awhile before adding them to your cliché concoction. CAUTION: Only for those with an extreme love of gushy, sweet romance. Call your doctor if you experience unusual symptoms after making this cliché novel such as: depression and fatigue, due to your incredibly romance-deprived life. In rare cases, these can lead to a coma or death. Other symptoms include impaired judgment and daydreaming. Take in moderation or doses recommended by your doctor.
STEP ONE: Creating the Heroine and Hero. Typically, the story is from the perspective of the heroine, since only females read romance novels, though really creepy males do read them on occasion. (Kidding!) First, we’ll start with the Heroine. Every beautiful heroine has a beautiful name. The name can’t be too out-there, it has to be pronounceable, and it has to be feminine. Options include most ‘A’ names: Anastasia, Annette, Aurora, Azalea, Alina, Ava, Ariella. Though there are a few other options, such as: Dawn, Rose, Emma, Lily, Chloe. Then you create the heroine’s appearance. All heroine’s must have the following: a slender, curving figure, high cheek bones, full pink lips, flawless skin, cute nose, and colorful, shimmering eyes, rimmed by thick, long black lashes that fan across her cheeks. Generally there are two body types for the heroine: the tall, willowy model and the cute, petite pipsqueak. Hair is very important. It must be silky and long. It can be in large, perfect curls (no frizzy ringlets), gentle waves, or straight. Whatever it is, it must be perfect. Lastly, is personality, which is relatively simple. All heroines are naïve and sweet. While they try to be independent and feisty, they always rely on the hero for last minute rescues.
Then there’s the hero. His name must be something masculine and romantic like Eric, Aaron, Ryan, Damien, or Alexander. Foreign names are also wonderful options and can be very romantic, such as Antonio. The Hero must be older than the Heroine and at least six feet tall. His appearance must include the following: rippling muscles with broad shoulders (six-pack is a must), prominent cheek bones, chiseled jawline, straight nose, cute hair (long enough so the heroine can run her finger through it, but not long enough to qualify him as a hippy). Dimples and chin cleft are optional. He can be clean-shaven or have a six o’clock shadow. He shouldn’t have a heavy mustache or a beard. Avoid the mutton chops mustache at all costs. The hero has a few more options personality wise. He is either a) a super-popular, rakish play-boy, b) dark, mysterious, and tough exterior with a secretly warm and gentle interior, or c) sweet, angelic, and perfect; he always knows what to say. All of the above must be incredibly protective and insanely jealous at the thought of anyone else having the heroine besides himself.
Now that you have the perfect formula for the main characters, let’s move on to secondary characters. One great character is the Creep. He is an ugly, sickly, balding male that wants the heroine all for himself [insert evil laugh here]. A hideous comb over is also a wonderful option. Basically, he has to be unattractive. He is also too thick or too thin around the middle. It’s up to you, as long as he is one of those unattractive extremes.
Then there’s the Evil Women. There are two types of Evil Women, the first being the Evil Stepmother. The Evil Step Mother’s sole purpose in life is to make the heroine utterly miserable. She’s much older and was once a young beauty herself. Often, she’s jealous of the heroine’s youth and high cheek bones.
The second type is the Evil Competition. She is also vying for the hero’s attention *dun, dun, DUN!* She is your stereotypical, gorgeous, back-stabbing cheerleader with beauty and charm to rival Aphrodite and venom to rival a rattlesnake. Everyone is fooled by her honey-sweet façade, while the wise heroine sees past her deceitful defenses and wins the hero all for herself. Generally, the Evil Competition will go to any length to have the hero for her own.
But not all secondary characters have to be evil. Take the Sweet Boy, for example. He is moderately handsome and charming, but has nothing to rival the Hero with, as far as looks go. He is usually a life-long friend of the Heroine or the Hero. He liked the Heroine, but fails miserably when he tries to win her heart. The Heroine apologizes politely before riding off into the sunset with the Hero. The Sweet Boy is ideal for love triangles.
Lastly, we have the scenes. The first, classic scene is the Damsel in Distress. You can have multiple scenarios of this sprinkled throughout the novel. The Damsel in Distress must have the Heroine in some sort of peril where the hero comes to her rescue.
The next is sweet, gushy romantic scenes. They have to be alone and they usually kiss underneath a full moon.
Then there’s the Big Clash, which tests the bonds of the Hero and Heroine. The scene is often the climax. In the Big Clash, secrets are revealed. This scene is brimming with drama and angst and is usually the result of a misunderstanding between the Hero and Heroine, creating a rift that must be patched up with kisses before the end of the story. Make sure to apply romantic lines liberally throughout the novel.
These are the simple ingredients that a cliché romance novel consists of. If you use the guidelines and tips I’ve listed above, you are guaranteed to have the most classic and, above all, stereotypical romance to never grace the market. And the wonderful thing about this is that you can use the same template, just change things such as the setting, the names, the color of the Heroine’s hair and no one will ever know the difference. By simply using this formula for the primary characters, the secondary characters, and the scenes, you’ve written a cliché romance novel. Congratulations!
What clichés and stereotypes drive you absolutely crazy?