I belong to a writers group that meets once a week. There are usually twelve of us, eight women and four men. Four of us are published in novels and two in literary magazines.

A couple weeks ago, one of the men curled his lip at me and with a condescending voice said, “It’s no wonder you can crank out a romance in a few months. They’re so predictable. I mean, once you learn the formula—boy meets girl, boy looses girl, boy gets girl back—they’re a snap to write.”


“Have you ever written one?” I countered.
“No, I’d never lower myself.”


I reined in the desire to jump across the table and coil my fingers around his throat.


So, dear readers and talented authors, do you feel romances are based on a formula? I’d like to know. And, if so, where the heck is my copy?
Amazon Buy Link: 
Nurse Rachel Dennison comes to Texas determined to prepare her new patient for a second round of chemo. What she isn’t counting on is her patient’s twin brother, Storm Masterson. Despite her initial attraction, Storm has two things Rachel can’t abide: a domineering personality and a fiancée.
Half Native American, with the ability to have “vision dreams,” Storm dreams about Rachel for three nights before her arrival. Both are unprepared for the firestorm of emotions their first chance encounter ignites.
Yet, ultimately, it is Rachel’s past—an abusive, maniacal ex-boyfriend—that threatens to keep them apart…and Storm’s dreams that bring them together again.


  1. LOL, love that you said you had to reign yourself in. Obviously that person was not a romance reader and just generalized the genre. Every romance book is different and not all have a happy ending. So Mr. grumpy pants, pffffffft on your theory of romance books,


  2. Love people who can’t write a romance or haven’t ever read a romance know more about romance books than I do. I have been reading romance novels for 33 years. All romances are different. But Mr. Nose-Out-Of-Joint is correct that all books have a formula. A beginning when we met the characters, the middle and the end when the author wraps up the story. It is the journey the author takes me on that is the reason I read my books.

    jrobe10689 @

  3. LOL, Chris said it well, ALL books have a formula. As a writer myself of (mostly) romance novels, I kind of feel sorry for the “snobs” who won’t lower themselves to reading or writing romance. They are walking through life literally wearing binders and missing out on so much around them; and as writers they are missing out on a wonderfully popular market.


  4. did you at least curl you lip back at him. what arrogance. I agree with Chris also. every book starts with a basic formula. it’s the journey that makes the difference. he reminds me of the same snobs that curled their lips at ebooks. so who’s behind the biggest trend now? ummm.

  5. sucks, forgot my email addy

  6. Val, thanks for commenting. Yes, I’ve found non-romance writers are more snobbish and boring. But romance writers are warm, genuine, helpful and delightfully interesting.

  7. Chris R…YES, you’ve got it. We writers love taking readers on a journey of emotion and senses. We craft our sentences to create that magic carpet ride of words to propel our readers into the folds of the book and the worlds we’ve created. Thanks for your insight.

  8. Chelle, how right you are. I wish I knew a way to take their blinders off, but some are permanently embedded, I’m afraid. Thanks for commenting.

  9. Larion, gee are we supposed to put our email addy on our comments??? Major duh, here.

    But back to your delightful comment. Your observation about folks making snobbish generalities about romance are akin to those who poo-poohed eReaders. Short-sighted, aren’t they? I love my Kindle.

  10. Ugh I hate that condescending attitude. I think writers with little imagination will use a formula. Everyone else will write from their heart.

    User1123 AT comcast DOT net

  11. I abhor the idea of “formula” writing but it shouldn’t be confused with plot mechanics. Plot lines or story maps, whichever you prefer, are necessary or books just wander all over the place. Few authors have ever gotten away with that…It’s my opinion that people who dislike romance novels just haven’t found the right one!

  12. I think there’s a difference between a formulaic story and a predictable one. I read a lot of romances and like them all because of the stories and characters. I will even enjoy a predictable read if the characters are distinct. I have read similar stories but never where it was the same or felt the same. I think each writer give their stories their own touch and I really like that.

  13. I hate those assumptions some people make!

    Robin D
    robindpdx (at) yahoo (dot) com

  14. I really do not like when someone says formulaic because no author has a mathematical or scientific way to write a book, its creative energy that gets the words on a page. I respect how hard authors work to get the great works out there.

  15. Having a formula does not mean you lose imagination, or creativity. ERB’s Tarzan, John Carter of Mars and other books shows that…and there are plenty more. It goes all the way back to Homer’s Iliad and Oddessey.

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