Hey you. So you know that highly pretentious social/cultural/economical/religious/post-post-modern commentary you’re writing into a very witty novel? Stop it. Stop that right now. Throw away all of your preconceived notions of these irrelevant things like “character development” and “plot”, and listen to your wise friends at the Sequoya Review teach you how to actually make money in the novel-writing industry (I would call it the literary industry, but you will soon see why these things are not related).
Fair warning: what you are about to read, nay, enjoy is not actual advice and is definitely not endorsed by the Sequoya Review. Also, you shouldn’t read this to children.
Alright strap in! Here we go.
Here are some straight facts from my face to yours: I recently discovered that romance novels comprise about 50% of all book sales. They are the highest selling genre in North America. After a harrowing investigation during which I read one of these novels, I unlocked the great secret of these smutty little jewels – they are not hard to write. So here is a guide to writing a romance novel, which will make you filthy stinking rich.
1. Start with an attractive man. He has to have a sexy name, and think old Victorian (because what’s sexier than men with grizzly sideburns and a waist coat, that’s right absolutely nothing). You’re safe with names like Victor, Lawrence, or Gabriel. Stay away from nicknames though – no one likes a Gabe.
2. Whatever you do though, don’t let your main male character be unattractive. You have to add some sort of flaw though, because if he’s absolutely perfect you lose the game. For example, the novel I read featured a hunky blind man. He had a canon go off in his face. A canon that did not mar him at all. So he got to be blind and ridiculously good looking. Hurray! As for your male character’s flaw, you can never go wrong with a sex addiction.
3. Make your female character relatable, maybe even to the point of being pathetic. She has to begin the novel having absolutely no chance with a guy like Nathaniel, or whatever you named him. Maybe she’s a peasant, or an orphan, or a girl who has spent the last two years of her life with Netflix as her best friend. She can’t be gorgeous. What you’re aiming for is a character that your readers can replace in their minds with themselves, so that they can have hot hot sexy time with Alexander. So don’t worry, you don’t need to develop her more than a victimizing backstory and maybe some dark secrets that will leave her oh so vulnerable.
4. Plot is a joke. Who needs it! Just sort of move the characters around. If you feel stuck in the story, change location! Just have your characters keep doing stuff in their new location. Who doesn’t want to read about attractive people doing menial tasks? I love 10 pages about shopping.
5. Don’t present too many problems! What you learned as “basic conflicts that carry a plot” should now be referred to as “bummertimes”. Don’t have bummertimes. If you have to introduce a conflict, solve it almost immediately. I am talking within a few pages.
6. My next few points are going to be about sex, and this is probably the most important one: you don’t even have to include a lot of it! The book I read only had two sex scenes, and the first was over 200 pages in. So if you think that’s icky, just throw it in there a few times and move on with your life.
7. If you don’t think it’s icky, you’re in luck. However, if you’re one of those writers that love writing about nipples and whatever, you’re back out of luck. Your readers don’t want nipples. You’re definitely going to be writing mostly about firm abdomens and muscular arms and big penises. Speaking of penises, that brings me to my next point.
8. You can’t use the word “penis”. I don’t know why. It’s apparently an unattractive word. You can’t use “dick” either. Or “vagina”. Instead, you get to just make stuff up and pass them off as sexual organs. Here are some classy (and real) examples from the novel I read: for penis, we have “shaft”, “rod”, and “erection” (apparently that’s cool but penis isn’t hey I don’t make the rules). Basically think of anything long, hard, and mostly straight. “Stick” would probably work. If you throw a sexy adjective in there it will totally work. “Throbbing stick” will get all the ladies going. Now, vagina synonyms are more difficult in terms of something realistic, but luckily you can literally throw random words together. My favorite was “core of femininity”, but “opening” also worked. It’s your ballgame (pun entirely intended).
9. You should already know this, but make sure his penis is big. This is a real excerpt: “His arousal became almost painful. He wished suddenly that he was not so large. She was such a little thing.”
10. There has to be a happy ending. It has to be rainbows-and-butterflies happy. At the end of the day, that’s what your reader wants: utopia. Give them something nice, because sometimes real life sucks and romance novels let people escape from that.
In all seriousness, romance novelists make so much more money than I do, and I acknowledge that. I’m a poor college student writing a blog. The woman who wrote the novel I read is a New York Times Bestselling Author. Which one of us is doing it right? You decide.