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Friday, March 18, 2011


The Secret Formula to Romance

Ask any non-romance reader why they don’t read romance and inevitably one thing will pop up. It is all formula writing.


No, seriously, stop laughing about that. As deluded as they are, that is what they think. Rather than give examples of other genres that are also formulaic, let’s pick that belief apart.


Hmm, scratch that. I agree with them. E=MC2 is the perfect formula for a romance novel. All romance books are formulaic. Period. Blog done. Time to read a book.

What? Oh, okay, lemme ‘splain. No, will take too long. Lemme sum up.

By definition, romance novels deal with love and have a happy ending, whether HEA(happily ever after) or HFN(happy-enough-for-now). It’s all that in-the-middle goop that mucks things up. It is what also spawns literally HUNDREDS of stories a month-and those are only the ones that are published. For every one published, something like twenty are rejected. With so many people writing those stories and so many people buying them, no wonder idiots outsiders believe there is a fill in the dots program to make a romance story happen.

Granted there are a few things that occur in EVERY SINGLE ROMANCE EVER. The main characters HAVE to meet or, duh, no story. There has to be some sort of attraction there. Something prevents them from riding into the sunset on page 2(this variable can be internal or external, both even). To achieve that HEA/HFN, there has to be some sort of resolution to that issue.

That’s the secret formula. Anything else goes. Same sex couples, magic hymens, dinosaurs with attitude, interspecies relations, the mother-in-law from hell, a world war, a kidney-stealing bad dudes, emo-vampires, whatever. If you can fit in the above elements in a believable and compelling manner, the formula can work. 

E= Everything or anything you could possibly imagine and the kitchen sink
MC=Main Characters
2= together

Add it up. The formula works. Huh, who knew Einstein wrote romance?

In my latest release SWEET AS SIN, there are some elements that might come as a surprise. No kidney-stealing villains or dinosaurs, though, sorry. Just a really tormented hero and a woman who won’t give up, a few cupcakes, a couple monsters and a horrifying secret. This is my E=MC2

She’s made for sin. Sin is something he knows intimately.
John Murphy is tormented by nightmares. A bestselling young-adult author, he writes the ultimate fantasy: stories where good always triumphs. He knows better. His past has shown him the worst in people—and in himself. When he moves next door to the sexy, vibrant Livvy—a woman completely unlike his usual one-night stands—he's driven to explore every curve of her delicious body.
Pastry chef Livvy knows that giving in to the temptation that is John Murphy won't lead to anything permanent, but she deserves a passionate summer fling. John discovers she's as sweet as the confections she bakes while Livvy slowly unravels his secrets. But what will happen when she uncovers them all?

Buy Sweet as Sin at Carina Press, AMZ, ARe, BoB or B&N

Inez Kelley is a multi-published author of various romance genres. You can visit her at her website  Follow Inez on twitter at @Inez_Kelley or on Facebook at

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hello Inez!
I just wanted to tell you that the follow-up piece you wrote for Sweet as Sin on your blog was great. I even got a little teary-eyed. I think I may have reprimanded you for it on Twitter. ;)