How to Write a Bestselling Romance Novel

“Twilight” sold over 100 million copies. “50 Shades of Grey” sold 40 million. Together, they’ve amassed a fan base of a ludicrous size. What’s the secret to writing a bestselling cheesy romance novel? From the time of the classic novels of “Jane Eyre” and “Pride and Prejudice,” female writers have been following these same steps.

1. The female protagonist has to be plain and just a tad boring. Whether mousy like Jane Eyre or expressionless like Kirsten Stewart’s rendition of Bella, the leading lady has got to be the run of the mill girl. Plus, she probably has little to no experience in love. This draws readers into the novel, allowing them to believe that this impossible scenario could happen to themselves.

2. The leading lady has to have a swarm of attractive boys falling head over heels for her. It could be the military man who is in town for a few months or the werewolf next door. This situation is essentially every girl’s dreams—to be insanely desirable and attractive.

3. The main love interest must be amazingly good looking, spectacularly rich, and ridiculously popular. His singularity, his good looks, his wealth, and his status make him the most desirable bachelor ever heard of in the history of the world. And most of all, he must be unattainable to all women. All women, except of course, the protagonist. This is the Disney princess phenomenon all over again. Girls are left waiting for a perfect, unrealistic boyfriend of their dreams or scorning their current significant others for not sparkling in the sunlight.

4. The main man must also be moody, guarded, and full of secrets. He has to come with a considerable amount of baggage—whether he is a manipulative freak with a penchant for whips or a vegetarian vampire. And of course, he must have a dark past. It could be a psycho wife with a mental disorder or a neglectful mother with an abusive pimp. It just has to cause considerable discomfort and doubt to the leading girl.

5. This romance should be the man’s first, greatest, and final love. He must never have experienced any feelings similar to this sort. It has to be new and radical as well as a pivotal point of his life. His life is changing; he is changing—and for the better. And it’s all due to her.

6. At first, the femme fatale has to believe that the man resents her or even outright hates her. He could carelessly make a comment about how distasteful the girls in her town are or wrinkle his nose in aversion to her smell. In reality, he is madly in love with her despite countless warnings to stay away from him as he is potentially harmful to her health. He will finally realize the extent of his love—the fact that he can’t live without he—only after he almost loses her. And then he will never let her go. He’ll change, he’ll adjust, and he’ll compromise to keep her. She never changes, at least, personality wise. Although usually, she does become more attractive and more desirable. She begins to become the ideal girl she has always dreamed of being.

And there you have it—six easy steps to write a cheesy, romance novel. If you follow these steps, I guarantee you will have a best seller on your hands, or at least a moderately well selling novel. Or, you could at least find it in the library in paperback form next to the rest of the pink covers with the chiseled, buff men with flowing blonde hair of other cheesy romance novels. Although, I can’t guarantee that your writing will improve any.