This is a definitive guide to writing characters in a romance book. I know, I know. I’ve never written a novel solely for the romance, so you’re probably wondering how I became an expert. It’s an extraordinarily rude question to think at me. I would tell you all my many credentials, but now I’m offended and I don’t want to. Any reasonable person would take me at my word.

I am an expert, and I don’t have to explain myself.

But I digress. Crafting the perfect characters to inhabit your future romance novel is a challenging job. I’m going to try to break it down into short, manageable steps, but these techniques aren’t for the faint of heart. Only the most skillful writers will ever truly excel. Read ahead with caution. Try not to take it to heart if you struggle to implement these procedures.

Step 1: Muscles

Do these characters have muscles, or do they have a lot of muscles? Obviously, the characters must be physically fit, but we need to know more. How large are these muscles? Why- wait. Never mind. It doesn’t really matter why a character has massive biceps. Even the flimsiest explanation is justification enough.

You can’t afford to skimp on detail. How will the reader know about the character’s washboard abs if you don’t describe them in two hundred words or more? A novice writer might think muscles are limited to the menfolk, but that is a catastrophic mistake. Never forget the ladies. Flat stomachs are fine, but sculpted abs are in vogue.

Step 2: Hair

Next, it’s important to detail the character’s long, flowing locks. Use words like golden, flaming, or raven. No one wants to read about someone with boring, average hair. Even the self-proclaimed ‘plain characters’ have bone-white tresses that shine as if moonlight.

This only applies to the main characters, of course. Supporting characters should always be boring and unremarkable, unless the main character is feeling particularly charitable.

You may be under the impression that a good writer researches the time period or culture before deciding on a character’s appearance. That, my dear novice, is why you’ve come to me. There is no need for research, because hair is always worn loose and flowing. It doesn’t matter if medieval European women usually kept their hair braided and/or covered in fabric. Your orphaned, magical countess must let her mahogany curls cascade down her back.

Any other hairstyle is simply preposterous.

And don’t forget the men! No twenty-first century person wants to read about period-accurate hairstyles on a man. Some of the styles were strange and totally unattractive. Male hair should be appropriately long, but not too long. Potentially, he might wear some of his hair up in a bun, but no more than half. Use masculine descriptors like steel, flaxen, and midnight.

Step 3: Leather

Leather is vital to your character’s inherent sexiness. Going forward, you should just consider leather a synonym for sexy. Any time a character is seen in or near leather, their sexiness receives a tenfold boost. Popular choices include jackets, boots, arm bands, pants, and bikinis.

Note: Leather is a powerful tool. The main characters should be the only people wearing leather in a scene, lest the reader accidentally find themselves attracted to a best friend and/or scullery maid.

Step 4: You may refine your character’s appearance with dimples, snubbed noses, or wicked scars, but the bulk of your character’s appearance is settled. Now it’s time to move onto the personality. This may seem like a useless step, and it is. Your character’s personality is largely unimportant, as readers mainly need to know about the muscles and leather accessories.

Still, you should probably spend a few seconds determining the fundamental characteristics of your love interest. The main character can be left a cardboard cutout if your creative juices aren’t flowing in the ninety seconds you spend on this step. Really, there’s no point in pushing yourself. The love interest is always the exact opposite of the main character, so further deliberation is pointless.

When you’re jotting a few notes down, remember to keep it simple. No character can be both sweet and tough. They certainly can’t have optimism without a large scooping of naivete. Characteristics should always be straightforward. Flaws should never impact the plot and should always be endearing. Never, ever allow your main character to overcome their flaws.

That’s what the love interest is for, after all. They fill the void and make up for personality defects.

Step 5: The Kiss

The Kiss is the single most important moment in the entire novel. A complex, detailed, and trendy character is important, but the Kiss trumps everything. A compelling Kiss can overshadow plot holes, terrible grammar, and characters that are the written equivalent of stock photos.

The Kiss doesn’t always have to be a kiss, of course. It could be a confession of love, a proposal, or spicy time. Loosely defined, the Kiss is the moment when the characters overcome their difficulties and commit to each other. Unless the characters spend the entirety of their lives in floating bubbles, readers will probably expect some sort of physical intimacy. This intimacy requires clear, beautiful writing and emotional resonation to enthrall the reader.

Or you could just make your characters hot.

Readers will do all the imagining for you if the characters are hot enough.

And there you have it. This character creation guide ends on one final tidbit of wisdom. People preach about the power of internal traits. Truth is, they’re usually redundant when compared to the power of hotness. Sexy characters can be boiled down to three qualities: muscles, hair, and leather. If you keep this guide in mind, I know your romance novel will be a best seller!

Author: Louise Rainey

Louise Rainey is an author and apocalypse enthusiast. Although she primarily writes in the fantasy and science fiction genres, she’s been preparing for a myriad of untimely disasters since childhood. It’s possible she might’ve read a few too many survivalist books at an impressionable age. Regardless, she’s ready to rock n’ roll at the first sign of zombies, and a Yellowstone eruption will never take her by surprise. When she’s not preparing for the demise of her Texas home, she’s baking, listening to the same song on repeat, or playing with her gorgeous cat, Robin and her monster-dog Percy.

Louise has a degree in psychology and neuroscience and an unofficial doctorate in Random Ridiculous Knowledge. As a child, she won several writing contests, and she’s been trying to top her blue ribbon at the state fair ever since. Her latest published books include Benevolent Keepers and The Frog Eater.


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