The 3 Key Elements Every Romance Novel Must Have

Great romance novels don’t just happen. While it may seem like some people churn out new romances like clockwork, great romances do indeed take time.

A great romance novel is like a good pot of okra soup. It takes time but the end result is always great. You can’t rush these sorts of things because if you even miss one key ingredient, the whole thing is a waste.


For me, there are 3 key elements every romance novel must have.

Likable Characters 

Before we get to the storyline, we have to make sure the characters are up to par. I need either think they’re dope, fall hopelessly in love with them or love to hate them.

There has to be something that one or both of the main two characters have that makes them tick and makes me want to keep reading. I give characters exactly 2 chapters. If I can’t find something in them that I can gravitate towards, I’m out.


The chemistry has to be sizzling between the two main characters. On a scale from mild to jalapeno hot, I need off the charts! There have been quite a few times that I’ve read a book and the characters seem nice enough but once you put them together, they fall flat. I truly believe authors have to pay close attention to the characters and make sure that the chemistry they might envision in their head properly translates to the paper. Don’t just throw two people together. No one likes dull; I want sensual, fiery chemistry.


There has to be a problem that causes conflict and tension between the two main characters. In most cases, this will cause them to break up briefly before one of them realizes that they’re wrong and is willing to admit their mistakes, apologize, and win back the love of their life. Romance novels without drama piss me off. If I wanted sugary sweet, I would just eat candy. I don’t want the “meet, fall in love, get married, happily ever after’ story, it’s a waste of my time and yours. A little conflict is good for the soul, and the book. Readers, especially me, have to see that this relationship is strong. We have to know that it can withstand problems because there are guaranteed to be some long after we read the last page.


Notice that I didn’t mention storyline. It is my belief that if a romance novel has these three key elements then the storyline will be great. If you take the time to really make sure these things are up to par and that these elements are present, a great storyline presents itself because you’re laying the proper groundwork.

If a romance novel doesn’t have these three things, I simply don’t continue to read it. It’s that simple. These three helps elevate a story from okay to great.

Do you agree? What must a romance novel have in order for you to read it?

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