Formula for a Romance Bestseller

The Kiss of Night
All romantic blockbusters should have smoking hot women and half naked men.

[This is a satirical article. If you want instruction on how to write a romance novel from someone who actually knows what they’re talking about, try this article. – The Administrators.]

In my last installment, I shared with you the formula for writing a blockbuster action/adventure bestseller. I really can’t believe you missed it, but in case you did, you can read it here. In this installment, I’m going to give you the top secret formula for writing the romance novel that people just can’t resist. That includes the people in Hollywood. They’re going to be banging down your door to get their hands on this one, so watch out. I hope you’re prepared for all that fame and fortune, because it’s coming!

What makes me think I can tell you how to do this? Well, sure, I haven’t actually written a romance novel, but there is romance in my novels. Also, they filmed Failure to Launch and The Wedding Crashers right near where I lived. Not good enough? I’ve won awards, for crying out loud. Whether they have anything to do with writing doesn’t matter, really. They’re awards. Be impressed and shut up.

Now let’s get to it. Follow my advice below, and you’ll be Hollywood-bound, my friend!

Formula for a romance bestseller:

Your protagonist has left his/her former life in an attempt to run away from the broken heart he/she has recently suffered. This character should have a romantic yet serious name like Felecia or Liam. Perhaps Felecia/Liam has returned home after many years, or he/she has started over in a small town far away. The location isn’t really that important. What is important is that Felecia/Liam is smart and funny and warm and talented despite the fact that he/she walks around with a sadness. Well, all that stuff and the fact they look really good naked.

So Felecia/Liam starts his/her own business doing some unique niche goody-two-shoes kind of thing that helps other people. That’s how he/she meets the town’s most talked-about and eligible bachelor/bachelorette named something hot like Brad or Veronica. Not only is Brad/Veronica the town’s bad boy/girl, he/she also looks really good naked. Felecia/Liam is intrigued by Brad/Veronica, but is also intimidated and keeps his/her distance. He/she decides to fulfill the business obligation to Brad/Veronica, and nothing more. It’s safest that way – the heart must remain protected.

Then one night, before Felecia/Liam can fill Brad/Veronica’s order, B/V shows up on F/L’s doorstep to discuss business. They have a few glasses of wine, and then something happens to make them realize that they are two peas in a pod, birds of a feather or just plain old desperate for some cuddling. Of course, nothing can happen yet; you need to build that sexual tension. Besides, Felecia/Liam is still gun shy and doesn’t want to be just another notch on Brad/Veronica’s bedpost.

Whilst all this emotionally- and physically-charged to-do is playing out, introduce your bad guy. He/she wants whatever it is that Brad/Veronica wants, of course, because secretly this bad character is the long lost, abandoned and neglected sibling of Brad/Veronica. Name this character something foreboding like Damian or Sybil.

Damian/Sybil weasles his/her way into Felecia/Liam’s business. He/she sabotages the job that’s supposed to be done for Brad/Veronica. Felecia/Liam has to go the extra mile to make it right, and ends up in a precarious situation with Brad/Veronica. This, of course, brings them closer together. Damian/Sybil sees that the plan has backfired. He/she continues to feed Felecia/Liam’s insecurities while trying to seduce him/her. Then Felecia/Liam catches Brad/Veronica in a compromising position with some cheap physically-attractive pawn set up by Damian/Sybil. Upset, fractured and broken-hearted, Felecia/Liam heads for the hills.

Once alone in the cabin in the mountains, a violent storm sets in. Brad/Veronica struggles to get to the cabin to explain what really happened – and to profess his/her love to Felecia/Liam. Yes, this means Brad/Veronica will have thrown away his/her old ways. The storm soaks Brad/Veronica to the core, and Felecia/Liam starts a fire in the hearth to dry him/her. Cold, wet and battered…you guessed it: gratuitous sex scene here. Because no matter what, those two look fabulous.
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When the two lovers wake up, Damian/Sybil is there. A struggle ensues and Damian/Sybil nearly kills Brad/Veronica, or Felecia/Liam, whichever works best. No, I will not tell you which one. Sheesh, do I have to write the whole thing for you?

So, one of the two protagonists must muster up the courage to kill Damian/Sybil in order to save the one they don’t want to love but can’t help loving. The rain pours down and someone falls off the cliff. What? Yes there’s a cliff. Isn’t there always? And yes, of course it’s Damian/Sybil who plummets to his/her demise – but only after he/she confesses their blood relation and their attempts to foil the relationship. Then it stops raining, the sun rises, and Felecia/Liam and Brad/Veronica make googlie-eyes at each other before locking lips.

The End.

You’re welcome.
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Author: K.S. Brooks

K.S. Brooks is an award-winning novelist and photographer, author of over 30 titles, and administrator (AKA Fearless Leader) of Indies Unlimited. Brooks’ feature articles, poetry, and photography have appeared in magazines, newspapers, books and other publications both in the U.S. and abroad. She currently teaches self-publishing for the Community Colleges of Spokane, and served on the Indie Author Day advisory board. For more about K.S. Brooks, visit her website and her Amazon author page

28 thoughts on “Formula for a Romance Bestseller”

  1. Whew!
    It worked.
    I’m going to take a cold shower.
    Who wants to join me?
    YES, I have a large shower.
    [Someone better censor this, or we’ll have many more readers]
    Smile, we’re on Candid Camera.

  2. Thank you, thank you, thank you! I’m getting to work right away. Do you think I should get my hair done? In case Hollywood comes knocking? LMAO!

    1. Well, you know, it’s going to have to be PG13 in order to garner the widest audience, therefore making more money. It’s about the money, really. But glad you’re with me on the plummeting to the death thing. 🙂

  3. Hmm. This could work. Sprinkle in some meaningful (smoldering) gazes, a few instances of inadvertent (oh really??) arm-brushing-hand or thigh-pressing-against-thigh, an almost-kiss or two…by George, I think you’ve got it!

      1. Technically, there is a near-naked sighting built in when the protagonist catches the love interest in the compromising position set-up by the long-lost family member. I got you covered, girl!

  4. Back when I was a newbie, I got a spot- on education from the guy who runs/ ran Writers House. Heck, his own wife bought the spiel, and was at the Top of the bestseller charts. HE Loved MY work and did his LEVEL best to educate me as to the “bestseller formula” which had proven successful for millions of his and other agents’ writers… I took al’s (oops? did I invoke Al’s name aloud? Perhaps….) I took his “formula” very seriously… and incorporated a LOT of what he had to say. There was just One Problem… I never wanted writing, my own or anyone else’s, to be about the Formula… That’s not art… It’s manufacture. And tho I have survived these many years in this biz, and am not rich, nor famous, to my mind, It’s still about the art, not a product that fits the business model.. Just saying…

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