Friday, June 01, 2012

A Date With Kate - Royal Romances


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 Romance
Royals 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.

1.         Period
-           What period are you setting this story in

-           What would be the conventions of royalty at the time

-           Inheritance/primogeniture?

-           Modern day – what relevance           

2.         Prince
- How did he get to be a prince?

- Did he inherit direct?

-By conquering a country?

-A Sheikh?

- 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?

3.         Princess
             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

4.         People
-  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.

5.         Personalities
       - 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?

6.         Protocol

-How will  H&h meet?

- How will they continue to meet?

- If they split up how will the non-royal contact the other?

- bodyguards?

- 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?

7.         Privacy

        - 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?

8.         Press/Paparazzi

            - Invasion of privacy

            - Force the relationship before it’s ready

9.         Photos

       - 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?

10.       Publicity

      -  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

11.       Power

          - 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.

12.       Place

    - 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?

13.       Pressure(s)

- Which one will feel them most?

- Each will feel different ones depending on their personality

14.       Priorities

  - The simplest thing changes because of who one of them is  royal

  - Duty vs desire

    - The need to have a child – an heir?

15.       Passion

      - 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.)

17.       Palace

   - 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

18.       Pride

   - 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

19.       Privilege

     - be careful what you wish for

   -  is privilege always welcome, always enjoyable?

20.       Pomp

  - 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.
You can find out all her latest news on her Web site or her blog.

6 comments:

  1. This is fabulous thank you. Food for thought!!

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    1. Hi Mary! I'm glad you've found food for thought here - that was the idea!

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  2. Oh wow - there's a lot to think about here. Thanks for sharing this!

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  3. Hello Tora - nice to 'meet' you here. I'm glad you too find lots to think about in this - there's a lot to think about in writing a royal romance - well in writing any romance!

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  4. This is great! All these questions have really got me thinking about my story much more deeply, how to take it to that next level.

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  5. Great post Kate. A lot of those questions can be adapted to other non royal situations. Power and privilege do have their down sides. Mind you I do have a sudden urge to write a royal story now. Who wouldn't want to make up a whole country if they got the chance?

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