I met my wife in a bar. I saw her across a crowded room (literally) and thought, “I’ll marry her.” She thought, “yep!” Fifteen years later, we are one of the happiest couples I know.
Our story does not make for a good romance novel.
I’ve been thinking about romance novels a lot now that I’ve sent The Purveyor, sequel to my thriller The Admirer, to the publisher. Both novels are dark and brooding, with a disproportionate [to actual New England population] number of serial killers, so I decided my next writing project would be something light: a romance.
I love romance. But romance novels are tough to plot. According to Reading the Romance: Women, Patriarchy, and Popular Literature by Janice Radway, romance readers want to know who the love interest is from page one. Some romance imprints also require a sex scene (between the principles) every 40 to 50 pages. BUT…the couple cannot waltz happily into the sunset until the end of the book.
What stands in their way? That is challenge of the romance. They cannot simply look at each other, like each other, and then, for no logical reason, refuse to act.
So, for myself, and for all romance writers out there, I have taken on the challenge of inventing 100 reasons why we cannot sleep together even though every single reader knows we will by the end of the book. I hope the comments will provide other reasons that I have yet to consider.
Reasons Why We Cannot Sleep Together (Yet)
- It is 1800.
- You are Amish.
- I am a priest.
- You are in jail.
- I am a respectable old lady.
- You are the wealthy dictator of a small country.
- I am Romeo.
- You are Juliet.
- I’ve spent my entire life distrusting people like you.
- You are married to my sister.
- I spurned you in high school.
- We are stuck on a life raft.
- I am an environmentalist.
- You are building a casino on top of a coral reef
- You are my student.
- I am your doctor.
- You are my father’s best friend.
- We are competing for the same job.
- I just took over your company.
- We met by chance. I lost your number.
- You are investigating a murder.
- I am the suspect.
- You are the daughter of a mob boss.
- I am the assassin sent to kill you.
- We are attorneys on opposite sides of the courtroom.
- Zombies are trying to kill us.
- I used to be a man.
- You are a pirate.
- I live in a barren, post-apocalyptic wasteland and see you only through a high tech periscope.
- You are a ghost, and I can only see you at night.
- I have forgotten my true identity after being struck on the head by a brick.
- You are being deported.
- I am a drug smuggler.
- We are on a spaceship surrounded by parasitic alien lifeforms that want to live in our stomachs.
- I breed prize winning chihuahuas, and you are my largest competitor.
- I breed prize winning chihuahuas, and you hate them.
- I breed prize winning chihuahuas, and they attacked you while you were out walking, chased you down, and hospitalized you with a thousand tiny bites (like piranha).
- You are a world traveler.
- I have never left Brooklyn.
- I am gay.
- You live in Utah.
- I have written a novel that reveals all your secrets to the public.
- You are a paparazzi.
- I am a closeted movie star.
- We are trapped in an ice cave.
- I feed off the blood of the living.
As you can see, I was only able to come up with 46. Do not leave me adrift on a life raft full of vampire chihuahua. Please add your own romance impediments to the comments section below.
Karelia is author of The Admirer, a guilty-pleasure thriller for the discerning reader.
Her first romance is represented by Dystel and Goderich Literary Management.