It’s June 1st and here in the UK it seems like there is only one topic of conversation – The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee – and this weekend – plus the Bank Holidays that follow it – will be crammed full of events andfestivities to mark the occasion. There will be parades, carriage processions, a river pageant, a concert . . . Royal watchers will have a wonderful time with all ceremony, the pageantry, the clothes, the coaches . . .
The ‘royal romance’ is a popular theme in category romance writing – and of course the glamorous royal weddings last year - William and Kate - Albert of Monaco and Charlene - have added to the interest and fantasy appeal of these stories. But writing a royal romance needs a special approach. You have to consider so many extra things – details and complications that will add to and intensify the conflict and the emphasis of the story.
Last year Mills & Boon asked me to run one of the workshops on writing a royal romance and as it seems to me that there is even more interest in the idea of royalty and their love stories (see the current Santina Crown continuity) I thought I’d mark the Jubilee Weekend by sharing the special ‘20p guide To Writing Royal Romance’ I created for that workshop. It might give you something to think about if you’re watching all the festivities – or having a street party. Or perhaps those of you who are going to use the long weekend to do some writing of your own will find it helpful.
Whatever you’re doing – have a great weekend!
20P Guide to Writing Royal RomanceRoyals are just people – men and women.
They are subject to the same emotional pressures as the rest of us.
Together with some additional pressures that come from who/what they are.
- What period are you setting this story in
- What would be the conventions of royalty at the time
- Modern day – what relevance
- How did he get to be a prince?
- Did he inherit direct?
-By conquering a country?
- Was he a second son ‘the spare’ who never expected to inherit?
-How did he come to be the heir –death/abdication/rebellion?
HOW DO THESE MAKE HIM FEEL?
Was she born a princess?
- A princess by marriage?
- Known she’s royal from birth?
- Just discovered that she is royal?
HOW WOULD THESE MAKE HER FEEL?
How does it change the story if:
Hero is a Prince – heroine is an ordinary girl?
Hero is a prince - Heroine is a princess?
“ “ - of an enemy country
“ “ - of a friendly country?
“ “ - a marriage of convenience?
“ “ - a dynastic marriage
Heroine is A Princess – reverse the above
- Royals are just people who are subject to the same emotional pressures that everyone else has.
- But they also have some other pressures that come with being who they are and the position they hold.
- some people will enjoy the position of royalty
- some will hate it
- oldest child bred to be king/queen responsible, dutiful – needs lightening up
- or a second so – the ‘spare’ who needs steadying?
- what sort of heroine would they need?
- and vice versa
How will this affect their relationship?
-How will H&h meet?
- How will they continue to meet?
- If they split up how will the non-royal contact the other?
- How would the ‘ordinary’ person feel when involved in all the protocol? Scared, lacking in confidence? Rebellious?
- How will the royal help them – or not?
- They will need privacy to continue/develop/deepen their relationship
- How will they get this?
- Only behind locked doors?
- How will this affect their EMOTIONAL JOURNEY?
- Invasion of privacy
- Force the relationship before it’s ready
- stylists - team of them to create the right image (both male and female)
- But what would they look like without those stylists to create that image?
- Life under a microscope The smallest action is watched and interpreted
- Publicity can push one into making a move when they don’t want to
- A modern day Royal?
- A historical king?
- A sheikh
-‘Lord of all he surveys’ - expects to be obeyed How people handle power is a real sign of who they are.
- The country you create to set the story in
- What sort of a country?
- Sheikh and the desert?
- Historical reality – make it real!
- an invented country – still needs rules/customs/climate. Etc etc
- Does the environment drive them apart or keep them together?
- Which one will feel them most?
- Each will feel different ones depending on their personality
- The simplest thing changes because of who one of them is royal
- Duty vs desire
- The need to have a child – an heir?
- Obviously it needs to be there
- but where can they consummate their relationship?
- Is it expected that a Prince would sow his wild oats?
- Will Princess need to be pure?
- Scandal if they are found out?
16. Parents (his and hers)
- what are the royal family looking for in a bride/groom?
- How much influence to they have on their child and his/her choice?
- Will they welcome a ‘commoner’?
WHY? (well, you knew I had to bring in that question at some point.)
- A beautiful place? Or an antiquated fortress
- Luxury or a frighteningly alien way of life?
- along with the pleasures of luxury there are the constraints, the lack of privacy
- Royal pride in who they are
- Pride in history
- Pride of the non-royal – not wanting to be bought/ and to stand on their own
- be careful what you wish for
- is privilege always welcome, always enjoyable?
- The ceremonial and the ritual –
- Always having to behave
- Always being on show
Kate’s latest novel The Devil and Miss Jones was out in Mills & Boon Modern Romance in March and in Harlequin Presents Extra in . She also has a reprint of Bedded By The Greek Billionaire in Greek Affairs : In His Bed out now.