Top 5 Must Have Ingredients for a Great Romance
#1 – A Happy Ending
I know this seems obvious and certainly a happy ending is a must for any romance. But to make a romance truly great, I think the ending has to be more than just satisfying. It should be inspiring, exhilarating, and an affirmation of the true power of love. At the end of a story we want to really believe love conquers all.
Which leads me to the next ingredient.
#2 – Conflict
Even though, as readers, we expect a happy ending, the exceptional stories allow the characters to experience the possibility of not achieving that exalted end. In real life, love isn’t always easy and relationships take effort. A great romance explores the inherent conflicts between two people, the tension—that push and pull—so that by the time we reach the happily-ever-after, we know exactly how much the characters have overcome in order to claim their happiness and we celebrate with them once they do.
And this brings us to another necessary ingredient.
#3 – Characters we care about
In a great romance, the hero and heroine are people we would want to be friends with. They are likeable, but more than that, they are relatable. The best romantic characters are imperfect and real. Like anyone else, they have personal fears and flaws that are perceived or real. They have challenging circumstances or external obstacles they must overcome. There is a lot at stake when an individual becomes vulnerable to another person by giving them their trust and their heart. But when they do, it proves that love really is all that matters.
Now we are getting to my favorite ingredients for a great romance.
#4 – Sensuality
It must have sensuality. By this, I mean the story utilizes a full exploration of the senses in a way that draws the reader into the experience on a visceral level. We see, hear, smell, taste, and especially feel along with the hero and heroine. We are drawn deep into their world, disappearing from our lives into theirs. We become a part of their story and fall in love as they do.
#5 – Love
Again this one seems obvious, but I believe what takes a romance above and beyond is when the love between the hero and heroine encompasses every aspect of that emotion. The chemical and physical attraction, the emotional vulnerability, the selfishness and the selflessness that comes from trying to balance personal needs and desires with someone else’s. Love is tricky business and a great romance shows all facets of that terrifying and exhilarating experience.
The wonderful thing about these must have ingredients is that there are limitless ways to use them, mix them up, define them. Every author puts their own flavor into their stories, their own secret ingredients to make them unique and special. There are infinite possibilities when it comes to characters, happy endings, and the expression of love and how people experience it, which allows readers an endless array of choices for what constitutes a Great Romance. Truly something for everyone!
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