I spend a lot of time analyzing things. My brain considers that fun so sometimes I just indulge it. I make lots of lists in my computer. Like:
Things I always find in romantic suspense.
Things I always find in women's fiction.
Things I always find in category romance.
I know. I'm insane. Or maybe I just love lists. But the truth is every genre has "things" that show up somewhere in the story.
In romantic suspense...there has to be a love interest. LOL (Otherwise it would just be suspense.)
But there also has to be an evolution or escalation of the story.
A struggle between the protagonist and the villain.
A few kisses.
Maybe a sex scene.
A scene in which we know the hero has fallen in love.
A scene where the love interest is in jeopardy. (Alone or with the hero...at some point one or both of them has to be in jeopardy.)
Threats to life and limb.
Deaths of other characters.
I could go on and on (because there are a lot of great things in romantic suspense) but I don't want to because I want you to think about your genre, or sub-genre, and come up with your own list.
Because when I tell you to write a could, might, must and should list for your story -- before you start writing -- so that you have fodder for your outline or the book itself...how can you write the musts if you don't know what they are?
Do you know what readers LOVE to see in your genre...Do you know what things you can put in to spice up or change up the things they love to see?
For me, manipulating those things, switching things out, changing things up, amplifying others...that's the fun of storytelling. Giving readers what they want but with a twist...
And you can't do that unless you know what they want.
So today...make your own list. What do you see in nearly every book you read from your genre? What do you WISH you'd see? (Maybe that will be the thing you put in your book that shoots it over the moon!)
Add to your list as you think of things or observe things that had passed you by in your first go round...and maybe that will be the observation that helps you write a book that goes from good to great!