Tuesday, November 15

The Structure of a Romance Story: Part Two

The Structure of a Romance Story: Part Two


Okay! It has taken me an exorbitant amount of time to write the following 1,200 words, but I did have to do some research—which I loved because it involved re-reading some of my favorite books! I know, I know, it's a hard life.

What follows is a continuation of my post, The Structure of a Romance Story. In that post I go over the first act, so if you haven’t read it you might want to or the current post won’t make a heck of a lot of sense.

Act Two


Circumstances have forced the protagonist and antagonist to spend a lot of time together.


In Guilty Pleasures, someone, or something, is murdering vampires. The police don’t care about the case and aren’t anywhere close to solving it, so Nikolaos, the head vampire of St. Louis, asks Anita to take the case. Anita tries to refuse but ultimately agrees when she realizes the alternative is having her mind stripped away. Jean-Claude, Anita’s only ally, protects both himself and Anita. This ensures they are thrown together at various places in the story, regardless of how either of them feels about the other.

In Dead Until Dark, Eric Northman uses his position as sheriff to acquire use of Sookie’s unique telepathic ability to discover who is embezzling from him.

What shall we do? Let’s say there’s a brutal serial killer turning nice, decent, hard-working citizens—some of them human, some of them vampire—into piles of body parts.

Anita was of unique use to the master of the city in Guilty Pleasures because of her skills as a vampire hunter and sleuth. Anita was also of unique use to Jean-Claude because, by virtue of their bond (one she didn’t consent to!), she could keep him nourished even as he was being starved, tortured. Sookie was of unique use to the vampire sheriff in Dead Until Dark because of her ability to read another person’s thoughts.

Lily Anderson is of unique use to the Big Bad (provisionally, let’s say the Big Bad is the head Vampire of the US) because of her telepathic abilities. There is a vigilante group targeting vampires and their human sympathizers. Perhaps it looks to the police and the Big Bad like Damien is behind this vigilante group. Unfortunately, Lily can’t read Damien’s thoughts, he’s too powerful.

Keep in mind that the more folks she reads the more difficult it is for her to stay sane (I introduced this in the first post). The fewer people she has to read the saner she’ll be.

The boy is really angry about having to spend time with the girl.


Dameon is upset that Lily is so unreasonable. He has offered her money, power, a good position in society, but she looks at him as if he’s a monster. It is as though she doesn’t care about money or what it could do for her, how it could improve her life. She makes no sense, he can’t figure her out, and that makes him angry. Angry with himself, angry with her, angry with life.

The girl is really angry about having to pend time with the boy. Additionally, she wishes she didn’t find the boy attractive.


Lily is angry too. Damien tries to boss her around. He can’t see that money is a means to an end: happiness. But if you’re already happy, who needs money beyond what’s essential to live? True, she’s never been to a world class restaurant, or the opera, or worn designer clothes, but Lily tells herself she isn’t interested in those sorts of things. Her version of happiness is curling up with a good book over a hot cup of cocoa.

The boy wishes he didn’t find the girl attractive. Nevertheless, he can’t stop thinking about her. She drives him crazy. The boy tells the girl she is ruining his life.


Damien's arguments are solid. Rock solid. Or so he tells himself. Repeatedly. Still, he can’t stop thinking about Lily. This irritates him. Sure, she is very attractive, but it goes beyond that. He’s met attractive girls before but they’ve never turned his thoughts against him. He hates that he feels happier when she’s around and sadder when she’s not.

The girl forces the boy to rethink his entire existence.


A moral dilemma presents itself to Damian. Before Damian met the girl he wouldn’t have hesitated to do what was best for his business, best for himself. Now, though, his first thought is about Lily, how the matter will affect her.

The boy forces the girl to rethink her entire existence.


The girl has a business opportunity. Before she met Damian her first thought would have been about how the business, what it does, fits in with her worldview. Now she thinks about Damien and whether he would say it was a good financial opportunity!

The boy is convinced that the girl is a dangerous person.


Lily is bad for him. Dangerous. She makes him pause over decisions that should be reflexive. That’s both bad for business and bad for his standing in the family, especially now that there are whispers about him being the one who has been embezzling.

The girl is convinced that the boy is infuriating.


The girl asks the boy what he thinks about the business opportunity that came her way. She did this only to be nice—it had nothing (NOTHING!) to do with being an excuse to see him. And, after that, he had the temerity to brush her off!

The boy notices that, despite their mutual feelings of antipathy, they work well together.


Damien is good at what he does, good in business, at anticipating and planning for crises but bad at handling people. Lily is good at handling people. Because of her, those she works with are happier and more productive.

The girl notices that the boy exhibits flashes of humanity.


Damien is polite and has impeccable manners, especially with elderly women who he invariably charms.

The boy learns that his friends think they are perfect for each other.


Damien’s friends have noticed that Lily has made him chill out, relax. He laughed out loud the other day.

The girl learns that her friends think they are perfect for each other.


Lily tends to rush into things without thinking. She pauses now to think things through. In general, she has made better choices.

Every time the girl starts to like the boy a teensy-weensy bit he does something outrageous that infuriates and alienates her.


Because of one of Damien’s decisions her best friend loses something important. Perhaps her friend's business, perhaps her friend's parent’s business. Perhaps her friend is fired from her job because of something Lily let slip and now her friend hates her.

Boy: I’m going to kiss you now.


At first the girl is shocked and enraged by the suggestion. “Don’t you dare!” But then they kiss.

If this is a spicy love story then Damien and Lily will have sex. If this is a sweet romance, the girl and the boy may just kiss or possibly hold hands.

Whatever intimacy the girl and the boy share makes the girl’s problem worse. (The girl has been attempting to tackle her terrible problem in various ways throughout the story.)


Perhaps, now, the girl can read some of the vampire’s thoughts. This not only is bad for her sanity but the girl has overheard something the vampire had very much wanted to keep secret.

Resolution: Damien and Lily can no longer contain their passion for the other and decide to throw caution to the wind.


While Damien regrets that their intimacy makes Lily’s problem worse he can no longer contain his passion. Lily feels more-or-less the same, though she does not tell him she has overheard his secret.

This brings us to the end of Act Two.



Every post I pick a book or audiobook I love and recommend it to my readers. This serves two purposes. I want to share what I’ve loved with you, and, if you click the link and buy anything over at Amazon within the next 24 hours, Amazon puts a few cents in my tip jar at no cost to you. So, if you click the link, thank you! If not, that’s okay too. I’m thrilled and honored you’ve visited my blog and read my post. :-)

Today I’m recommending two books. The first is Paula Hawkins book, Girl on the Train. I read it and enjoyed it, though not as much as Stephen King’s book, The Dead Zone. I've but The Dead Zone on my "to re-read" list, and not just because it’s a terrific book. It's also timely.



That’s it! I’ll talk to you again tomorrow. In the meantime, good writing!

Word count so far: 19,454
Word count for today: 1,300
Total words this month: 20,754

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