Romance is like the whipped cream and spice of your favorite coffee blend. It is the whimsical flare that adds richness to the taste, much like romance adds richness to our stories. Can you create a fairy tale in a cup?
Every girl dreams of the happily-ever-after and a storybook ending, but pulling that out of our plot is sometimes difficult. One of my favorite strategies is to ask my heroine/hero a few key questions about themselves.
What is your favorite fairytale?
From this one question you can determine what kind of character they are … a Cinderella rags to riches, or a Beauty taming the beast. It can frame in your mind the kind of values they have and what they are willing to do for love. It also gives you an idea of their happily-ever-after.
What is the most romantic thing a man can do for you?
With this question we discover what romance looks like for your character. Ask your character why they find this romantic. Look for hints of the character’s love language, or the way they feel loved, and hints into their past that creates this sense of romance. By taking the hero back to the heroine’s happy romance moment, it can show a deep sigh of fulfillment in the reader.
Who is your favorite super hero?
As much as women like a fairytale ending, men like to be a Prince Charming, although not all in the same way. When you ask your hero, “Who is your favorite super hero?” we find out how they feel strong or respected — what the hero wants to be for the woman they love.
Superman is the hero who swoops into to save the day and the damsel in distress. Batman is the hero who fights darkness and saves lives, but often builds the romance in his normal persona. Robin Hood is the one who fights for the underdog and what is compassionate. Each of these super heroes has a flare. Build that into your Prince Charming.
What is your favorite adventure?
Men love to experience adventure. This is why they will create a pumpkin launcher that sends perfectly normal pumpkins through the air to smack the ground and shatter. It is the adventure in life that makes life a challenge.
Build this adventurous side to your relationships. A man wants a woman he can experience the adventures of life with, not just snuggle and watch movies. Giving a man a chance to be an expert adventurer builds his masculinity in your novel and creates a stronger romance.
By asking your hero and heroine these questions you can weave them into your plot to create a fairy tale in a cup.
Michelle Lim is the vice president of ACFW MN NICE, mom by day, romantic suspense writer by night, and brainstorming coach in between. Visit her blog, Thoughts on Plot, to learn more about her writing.