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Monday, May 04, 2009

Romantic Growth in Christian Romances

By Jennifer Hudson Taylor

When Christian romances were first released, sometimes the romantic growth didn't progress or develop organically. There were so many restrictions on what characters could and couldn't do that it was hard to spot their attraction and love for each other. All of a sudden at the end, the hero is asking her to marry him and they are in love. It leaves the reader going, "Uh? When did that happen?"

Even if the hero and heroine spend a great deal of time together, they can't just--bam--be in love. There is a process. It doesn't happen overnight.

A romantic plot has to be developed just like any other plot. The good news is that the CBA market has really come a long way in relaxing some of the "rules" it started out with. In a Christian romance, the faith growth will need to develop right along with the romance growth, but appear seamless and natural.

Here are the main stages you will want to show in your story and the synopsis.

  • The First Meeting -- This is the first time the hero and heroine meet face to face.

  • Establish Faith -- Show the faith level of each character. This can include a flaw in their faith or a goal regarding their faith.

  • Attraction -- Show the attraction between both characters. If you are using both POVs, be sure to include a scene that shows the attraction from both POVs. Do this through sensuality, not sexuality.

  • Faith Change -- Show the growth that each character is starting to experience in their faith and how it relates to their building romance.

  • Establish Likable Traits -- True love isn't based on attraction alone. If it is, then it's lust, not love. However, true love can be birthed from attraction. It's the catalyst that can get things going in the romance direction. Then establish three significant traits that the hero and heroine admire and like about each other in addition to the attraction.

  • The Admission of Love
  • -- The characters realize they love each other. This may be internal knowledge that they've kept to themselves or it may have been expressed to each other in some way.

  • The Darkest Moment
  • -- This is where it looks like everything is falling apart and impossible. Their faith is challenged and it looks like they won't be together.

  • Resolution
  • -- This is where all the problems are solved, the faith growth climaxes to what the characters have learned, and it is clear that they both love each other and will be together. It's the happily ever after ending.


    Hi Jennifer -

    Thanks for the excellent Romance tutorial. I've seen bits and pieces of this around the Net, but you've pulled it all together in a nice, quick-reference package.

    Susan :)

    Great concept Jennifer. But this is more fact than fiction. Growing in love and with another person is a faith walk... God's true test of our ability to love one another, to make ourselves vulnerable, to be hurt and to forgive.