When romance writers create a Happily-Ever-After tale, there has to be more to the relationship than simply LUST between the hero and heroine. As many a woman has discovered in real life, lust doesn’t last forever. (Shh, don’t tell my husband!)
Whether you are writing an Erotic Romance, an Inspirational Romance or anything in between, you need to deepen that relationship to make the ‘forever’ believable. Here are some of the elements you can show to convince your readers.
The hero is great with kids; we'd all want him to be the father of our children.
If there are simply no children around, you can fake the same message by having the hero be kind to dogs, cats or assorted other animals, particularly if they’re injured.
The hero protects/defends heroine from her enemies.
The hero's actions are mentally heroic; he is a truth teller and/or has integrity in spite of possible negative repercussions to his own life.
The hero has the ability to have fun, or enhances the heroine's sense of fun.
The heroine empathizes with the hero's past, his problems, or his possible future; she senses his emotional needs and wants to fill them.
The hero and heroine share either common interests or values, or both, often in spite of apparent or superficial differences.
The hero intuitively understands and meets the heroine's needs, both emotionally and in a sexual way (at the sensual level appropriate for your book). (Remember, we’re talking fantasy here.)
The hero talks to the heroine, revealing more of himself than he ever has before. That makes him vulnerable.
The hero admires/respects what the heroine does/is, and lets her know it, either directly or through his actions.
The heroine learns from others that the hero is a worthy person.
In terms of personality or emotional strength (not in a materialistic way), the hero/heroine provides what is lacking in the other.
The hero puts the heroine first and is willing to sacrifice something important for her - and she will sacrifice for him.
While all of these elements lend themselves to one or more scenes, they don't have to all be in every story. Nor can you simply throw one or two in just for the fun of it.
Every element in your story must be integrated and evolve from the characters and plot.
But keep in mind your readers want to believe this relationship you've created will last forever. Give them good reasons to keep the faith--and your book.
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Books that leave you smiling from Love Inspired:
Montana Hearts, 12/2010
Big Sky Reunion, 5/2011