I borrowed some books from a friend recently, not knowing too much about them. So far they have all been Christian romance. I’ve discovered that they all have a formula (I haven’t read this genre in a while so I forgot it existed). Here’s how to write the perfect Christian Romance novel (*please read this with your best sarcastic glasses on…):
1) Set the story in your hometown or pretty close. That way you don’t have to make up places to go on dates. It’s makes the story seem more “real”.
2) The girl in the story needs to be between 29 and 32. This allows her to question God about her marital status- make references to Paul’s single life throughout the story. It’s way more dramatic to have the girl be turning 30 in the story- that’s a bigger milestone.
3) The girl is very career driven and doesn’t have time for dating. This will later set up a distraction in her life when she meets “Mr Right”.
4) Make sure there is an instance attraction to the man she meets- add a characteristic that turns her off a little so that she tries to unconvince herself of her attraction.
5) The man must pursue her for marriage from the moment he meets her, you only have so many pages to develop the story and get them engaged. With the page limit in mind they get to “know” each other incredibly fast and usually that is solved by feeling that they have known each other forever.
6) In his heavy pursuit, he must discover some kind of trust issue she has. This shouldn’t develop from past relationships/experiences but from something her mom/grandma has taught her about men- this of course would be the only reason she is still single. Maybe if she had a good relationship with her mom and her mom was never hurt by men- then she’d be married. He works extra hard to break her shell.
7) Throw the phrase “Christian duty” in the story occasionally. Example: “You’re just being nice to me because it is your Christian duty.” (I don’t know if I’ve ever used that exact phrase to anyone- have you?)
8) Once she realizes that she does love the guy (the guy always knows from the moment he saw her), they have no more problems and he’ll propose shortly afterward.
9) That of course is the end of the story- life is perfect once you get the ring.
I personally haven’t had a friend that has ever been through this situation. Every single person has a different story- whether they got married at 21 or 31. I had a friend in college say that a woman’s lust is to meet her prince charming- something that we have built up in our heads as someone who will actually ride up on a white horse and save us. And it’s no wonder where that idea has gotten in our head- Christian romance novels (and romantic comedies- way more on the secular side but I almost had to ban those movies from our dorm room in college). We all know it’s fiction- but sometimes it’s hard to remember that.
So since I read five pretty short books that made me feel like I was reading the same thing over and over again- maybe I’ll move one to something a little more stimulating and less predictable. Any suggestions?