Many publishers with Christian fiction lines are willing to look at submissions from unpublished authors. Unfortunately, they end up sending rejection notes for most of these manuscripts. This usually happens because newer authors fail to realize how important it is to follow the genre guidelines. Here are four elements that editors will likely expect to see in an Inspirational love story.
Third Person Point of View
Most editors for category Christian romance are looking for stories written in third person point of view with the hero and heroine’s perspectives separated by scene breaks and chapters.
Deep POV has also become quite popular these past few years. This type of writing gets inside the character’s heads without using first-person narration or italicized thoughts. It’s a technique that relies heavily on the five senses in communicating the hero/heroine’s perception.
Dialogue tags are often avoided in Deep POV, as are certain verbs that distance the reader from the character by implying the presence of an omniscient narrator. This includes words such as felt, observed, watched, noticed, and wondered.
Alone Time For the Hero and Heroine
Avoid the tired cliché of giving the hero or heroine a best buddy who calls attention to their better attributes. Instead, have the main characters learn about each other first hand while spending time together. Focus on the heroine’s emotions as she watches the hero do something kind or generous. Show the hero admiring the heroine for some special strength or tenderness. Make them talk and act together and provide them with an interesting backdrop.
Focus on the Present
Painful issues from the past can be an effective obstacle for keeping the hero and heroine apart, but the focus needs to stay on the character’s current relationship as much as possible. Having one or both of them dwell too much on a past romance will only draw attention away from the burgeoning love story. So if the hero or heroine is still hurting from a divorce or broken engagement, it’s best to use that experience as a sharp contrast for their newfound feelings of trust. The reader will want to see how this new relationship heals their old wounds.
Emphasis on the Positive
The cliché love-hate relationship has been used in romance novels time out of mind. But this kind of scenario is likely to fall flat in the Christian category romance novel. The characters need to have conflict but they shouldn’t have an abundance of negative and resentful thoughts about each other. Don’t just have the characters sniping at each other for no reason. Instead, try to make each disagreement progress their relationship in a positive way. Petty arguments need to lead to deeper conversations and revelations in order to forward the story.