Last week I reread Kiss of a Stranger by Sarah Eden for book club. If you love regency romances this book is AWESOME. I mean curl your toes great!
As I read this book a principle I learned (from Sarah Eden in fact, at a conference last year) really hit home for me. And if you write romance or even romantic sub-plots, this is the post for you.
Okay, here is Sarah’s little gem—Your characters must fulfill a need in each other. The deeper the need the deeper the connection!
You’re so hot I need to make out with you is NOT what I am talking about. I need you to jump all over me is also NOT what I’m talking about. Not to be crude, but you could get that anywhere.
No, what I’m talking about is a very specific need that only this specific person can meet. Need some ideas? I’ve been thinking about this for a while so I’ve got a list :) This list is not gender specific, because as much as men and women are different I think we have very similar needs.
The need for:
- Unconditional love
- Someone to push you out of your comfort zone
- Financial Security
- To be someone’s first choice
- Feeling wanted
- Feeling useful
- I could go on and on and on…
One interesting thing I noticed in Sarah Eden’s book was that the two main characters fulfilled more than one need in each other. They both fulfilled a physical need and an emotional need.
Have you read stories where the romance felt flat? I’m convinced this is the problem (that and not knowing how the characters feel). Do you want to ratchet up the romance? I guarantee this will do it every time. I cannot think of a great love story where this is not the case.
But you have to make sure you your readers aware of these needs. Show it through situations. Show it through dialogue. Show it through internalization. But make sure we know what they need!
I promise it’s like magic! Heart speeding, hand trembling—MAGIC!