When I decided to try my hand at paranormal romance, I knew I’d have to learn everything I could about the structure of a romance arc in order to tell a successful story. In every place I asked for recommendations on romance craft books, the top answer was always Romancing the Beat. It’s a slim volume but wasn’t terribly expensive in paperback, so I bowed to the collective expertise and bought a copy.

This book is short because it is packed with all of the necessary information for crafting how to force two (or more) people to fall in love with each other in a way specifically targeted to keep readers invested. It was hard to resist the urge to highlight pretty much every sentence—this book doesn’t waste time with filler. Hayes breaks down an interesting formula that leaves plenty of room for creativity while also explaining why each of the steps is integral. She offers suggestions of how to employ them that can be tailored to any external plot/subgenre while also reaffirming the differences between writing a compelling romance and writing a compelling story that happens to include a romance facet.

As someone who is tackling a specifically queer romance project, I truly appreciated that Hayes breaks the formula down by “H1” and “H2” and specifically states that these terms designate gender-neutral protagonists.

You can officially add my name to the list of those who will immediately recommend this craft book to anyone interested in developing romantic storylines.

Rating: 5 (out of 5) stars
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