How to Use the 9 Plot Points to Plot a Romance
Updated: Aug 23, 2020
So here's the thing: It's February and our genre theme for the month is Romance.
I don't actually write genre romance, or at least not contemporary. But I do write historical romance.
Several years ago, I attended a conference and met another author who said something that really resonated with me. She said the reason we tell historical fiction stories is that we have a global, communal sadness about things that have happened in our past. We retell the stories of them not only to create a catharsis over that sadness, but to make sure those same past historical mistakes are not repeated.
I love that idea! It's so beautiful!
Let's go over the 9 Story Points for a historical romance story.
We'll go with a classic: Jane Austin's Pride and Prejudice.
1. The World Before - Elizabeth Bennet is unmarried, but happily so. She refuses to marry without falling in love.
2. Intro of Conflict - She meets Mr. Darcy at a ball and instantly dislikes him.
3. Escalation/Call to Adventure - She meets Wickham and he tells her Darcy has wronged him. Her dislike escalates to hate.
4. Turning Point - After a proposal, Mr. Darcy writes her a letter explaining the truth about Wickham. Though still angry, her feelings about him begin to change.
5. Escalation #2 - Just as it seems she might still have a chance with Darcy, Lydia elopes with Wickham, throwing shame on the family and Darcy abruptly leaves Lizzie's side. All hope she might have had for a romance with him is lost.
6. Climax - Lady Catherine (Lizzie's nemesis) comes to visit Lizzie to ask if she's engaged to Darcy. Lizzie says no, but finally realized what her feelings are for him.
7. Uber Despair - Lizzie believes any possibility for her and Darcy is long gone.
8. Ah hah Moment - Darcy comes to see her and tells her that what she said to his aunt made him hope she might still love him.
9. Resolution - They confess their love and are married.
It's always important to remember that, when writing a romance, the 9 plot points must always specifically concern the romance, not outside events in the story.