Think about the time you spend researching before the first word of your novel finds its place in chapter one. Sometimes, after adding up the hours I spent researching, I had actually spent more time pre-writing than the total writing hours of my completed manuscript.
If you set your romance novel in an unfamiliar time period, you must research from A to Z to find the unique nuggets that make your story come alive. From one century to the next there are clothing trends, new verbiage, furniture, and decorating styles, and these are the mere tip of your research iceberg.
To acquire the depth of background knowledge necessary to immerse your reader in the chosen year of your story requires meticulous fact-finding, and your reader demands this attention to detail. She will not allow her reading-relaxation time to be taken up with one iota of humdrum before the pages become Tweety’s cage lining. So, even though it is a work of fiction, the fiction must be factual.
What does the previous have to do with writing a series romance?
A Series: To Be or Not To Be?
Consider these two scenarios:
Not to Be:
Perform your end of book celebration of choice, leave your reader with a satisfying happily ever after, and then begin days, weeks, and months researching a new novel? You have presented to the romance world an awesome book with dynamic characters, a killer love story, a to-die-for plot, even a despicable villain. Rather than continue with this page-turner that kept your readers glued to the story, you close it up, seal it shut, and start the research process with a brand new idea. Bing Botta Boom.
Think how much deeper you can take your story. How many additional characters would love to blossom as they join the continuing saga? Which storylines are waiting for a chance to evolve and grow past the boundaries of book one? What minor character would burst off the page when given a larger role?
Agents and publishers are keen on the idea, too. A reader enthralled with book one of a series will not let book two land on the store shelf without grabbing it to continue “their” story when the book cover closes on book one. The same scenario happens with book three.
The next time you write a romance novel, consider a series. It may be the perfect choice.
If you do choose to write a romance series, one of the best things you can do is keep a series bible. Rather than get to book three and have to page through chapters of book one or two trying to see what color hair you gave Aunt Clara, you’ll have these character details—and so much more—at your fingertips.
In my next post, we’ll talk more about how to create one. Stay tuned!
Tammy Lough is an award-winning author who loves writing romance and creating unique characters who burst with personality and frequent sprinklings of humor. She is a member of Romance Writers of America, Missouri Romance Writers of America, Saturday Writers, and Missouri Writers Guild where she serves as liaison. You can connect with Tammy on her website www.TammyLough.com.