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Romance Falling Flat? How to Use the 9 Plot Points to Plot a Sizzling Romance

Updated: Apr 10, 2023

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.

Historical Romance, Story Craft, 9 Plot Points, The story Savant
Using the 9 Plot Points to Plot a 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.

Who's plotting a romance right now?

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1 Comment

I am! I just found your website and this post alone has helped me tremendously. I think I may stay a while. 😊

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