Is the slow process of falling in love enough of a plot?

by Karen

Question Hello! I’m writing a book about a rape victim and her budding relationship with her neighbor. They had a really rough first impression with him accidentally entering her apartment and her threatening him with a sword over it. They decide to never speak again but end up having to talk in various situations and slowly get past it and became friends and are now developing feelings for one another. They're college students and have other things going on in their lives besides each other but the plot mostly revolves around how their relationship evolves. I plan to have the climax be the heroine having the courage to tell the hero about her experience and they get together. I also want to end it kind of bitter sweetly with the heroine still not being completely cured of her trauma despite being able to fall in love again. My Question is: Is this enough of a plot? I've been doing research and I see that most romance stories have something that keeps the hero and heroine from being together as the main conflict or an external plot going on in the background like a crime investigation or goal they're both pursuing, but most of what happens in my story are very mundane situations. I’m worried I will bore my readers but I don’t want to overshadow my main plot of the heroine's road to recovery and her relationship with the hero with an extra plot line thrown in for drama.

Answer: Not all romances rely on strong external plots. Many romances are gentler, less adrenaline-producing reads that put
the arc of the main character's inner conflict in the foreground.

The majority of romance readers are women, and for this reason romance often crosses over with women's fiction, which focuses on more everyday concerns and struggles that women typically face in their lives (as opposed to genre fiction which is more outlandish). In addition, there is a genre sometimes called "gentle reads" which tends to deal with real life situations without a lot of heavy drama. Gentle reads also appeal to a mainly female readership and can be blended with romance.

You should look at the lines put out by the major romance publishers. Here's an article to get you started...

You will see that there are categories and subgenres designed to fit all interests. Look for the ones that sound like a fit for your book. Read a few to get a feel for them. Their readership may be yours, so it is worthwhile seeing how they hold the reader's attention.

Of course, you will still want to have a solid structure that will engage the reader, but it doesn't have to revolve around life threatening situations. Emotional turning points can be just as effective with romance readers. From your description, I see you already have some of this in place, from the relationship's rocky start to the black moment.

Also, you clearly have an obstacle to this relationship -- the main character's past trauma which gets the relationship off to a rocky start.

So I don't see a big problem. Just make sure, when the manuscript is finished, that you approach the right publishers.

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