- A hero and a heroine to fall in love
- A problem that creates conflict and tension between them and threatens to keep them apart
- A developing love that is so special it comes about only once in a lifetime
- A resolution in which the problem is solved and the couple is united
Point number 2, the problem and conflict must also include the context in which the conflict happens. In providing this context, the reader often learns about new places, businesses, or fields of inquiry, making the story both educational and emotional.
Think of the context as the cup that constrains and shapes the story. We all want to consume goodness that lives within the cup, but the experience is enhanced by presenting that goodness a pretty or interesting vessel.
The goal of this post is to describe several different storytelling vessels that could be used to shape your next romantic story.
Boxers and Briefs
The protagonists include a sports attorney and an injured boxer or mixed martial arts fighter. Lots of room for backstory, contrasting worlds, intrigue, and conflict.
What the Frack!
The protagonists are an oil-field geologist and an environmentalist. They initially square off during a fact-finding meeting run by a state oversight committee. Thrown together during an Oklahoma earthquake, their personal interaction reaches the smoking point and eventually catches fire.
Altering Your Genes
Set amid the raging controversy on human genetic alterations, this story has many potential protagonists including single parent(s) whose child(ren) is/are impaired by a genetic mutation, the genetic purists who believe we shouldn't play God with the genetic code, the scientific team who developed methods for making the genetic changes, and political appointees have their own agenda. Look at CRISPR/Cas9 news articles for more background information.
Three Sheets to the Wind
The protagonists are a crusty marine racing engineer and a female racing captain. The woman is struggling to get ahead in this high-stakes, male-dominated field.
The protagonists in this story are a psychologist and a mechanical engineer. They are part of a team working with Gulf War veterans to develop better artificial limbs. They disagree on the ultimate goal of the project. Should they strive to create a prosthesis that mimics the flesh and blood version or should they push the envelope, giving the recipient enhanced strength and durability? How would these changes affect the injured soldier? Cyborg controversy. Would you be willing to have a normal arm amputated if replacement arm gave you enhanced abilities?
A research librarian takes a historical fiction novelist to task for inaccuracies in his/her newest work. Respect and love blossom during their public/private arguments. The couple find they have more in common than they initially thought.
The Woollie Womb
With the recent sequencing of the woolly mammoth genome, there is an increasing desire to bring back these extinct animals. The protagonists are a genetic engineer and a large animal zoologist specializing in elephants. To bring back a woolly, the embryo would have to be carried in an elephant womb. This could have disastrous consequences for the host. Heated arguments turn into another kind of heat as the story progresses. Follow the link for more information. http://bit.ly/2xlKAPO and http://bit.ly/2xW5Pov
Well, there you have it-- seven settings for building your next romance story. Let me know how you like them.