Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Tuesday Tip: Romance Arc Versus Plot Arc

My romance writing group had an interesting discussion this weekend. We'd all read Victoria Dahl's Talk Me Down and were critiquing it. One of the things that came up was the idea of the romance story arc versus the plot story arc.

Romances are very character-driven, of course, and so the relationship storyline is as important, and usually more important, than the more standard plot line.

In this example, one could say that the plot arc involves a woman moving back to her hometown and having to deal with a stalker, while the romance arc involves a woman with a secret and trust issues who wants to seduce a man, and said man has several issues with the woman but is also incredibly attracted to her. More or less.

In a genre other than romance, the romance arc would be a subplot, but since this is a romance it's more the other way around. The emphasis in this story is on the romance arc.

Now, I've read plenty of romances where the emphasis is more even, and those are still perfectly good romances. But if you are writing a story with romantic interest, one thing you'll need to decide is just how important the romance arc is versus the plot arc. A story that is heavy on the romance side of things will probably involve a lot more reflection, a lot of internal emotion, and a lack of one of the three C's early on to provide romantic conflict.

(And, by the by, I found the book to be quite entertaining. I'd definitely recommend it to those who want a very hot, lightweight, funny read.)

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