The Weekend Five: Steps For Writing The Summary of a Romance Novel

smcoverLike many other young women my age, I’m not immune to the charms of a guilty beach read every so often. I may like to poke fun at romance novels, but I’d be lying if I told you I haven’t read Fifty Shades of Grey or any of its sequels. (Of course, I do like to pair these types of books with classical literature just for some healthy balance.) When my mom and I visit bookstores, we often go straight to the romance section to read and laugh at the books’ summaries, and over the years, we have picked up on a few key patterns in each of these books. Take a look at the list and see if there are any that you’ve noticed as well!

The Weekend Five: Steps For Writing The Summary of a Romance Novel

1. Give your characters bizarre, complicated or slightly exotic names.
Where is the fun in reading a story about someone named Mary Smith? In the novel I Was A Vampire Wedding Planner, some of the appropriate character names include Renaldi D’Aria, Katya Stern, Rex Fontainebleu, and Eden Lockhart. You can also create characters with interesting family titles, such as Adam Faramond, Earl of Rothbury, who is referred to by literally every combination of names. Make sure you include at least three of these character names in your summary so that the reader is aware of how serious this romance novel really is.

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2. Use phrases like “unbridled passion that matches his own.”
The more you allude to the fact that the book is teeming with sexual tension, the better. In fact, four out of five housewives in America recommend these books for exactly that reason. Why not take advantage of that in the book’s summary?

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9780425230220_p0_v1_s260x4203. Create a convoluted love story.
Love is never easy. In romance novels, nobody meets at the grocery store and has a regular courtship. The summary should discuss unwanted suitors, a male and female lead who seemingly hate each other, crazy inheritances, the requests of older relatives and more. Try to throw in as many subplots as possible as an added bonus.

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4. Be descriptive. Very descriptive.
This one is self-explanatory. Who says that you should save all the details for the book itself? Include them in the summary first so the reader knows exactly what he or she is dealing with!

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5. Setting is everything.
And in the world of romance novels, there are really only three major settings: Victorian era, the Wild Wild West and supernatural worlds (or our world, but with supernatural characters). You could also consider using a combination of the three to include vampires running around Victorian London with cowboys, but this may confuse your reader, who is usually only accustomed to one of these three.

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What are some of your favorites?

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