Nifty Stuff That Ought To Be In Romance Novels

Nifty Stuff That Ought To Be In Romance Novels

Bored with billionaire heroes and heroines who own their own antique shops? Be bored no more! Include these elements in your romance, and watch it catch fire! (Keep extinguisher handy, and always make sure your smoke detector has batteries that work.)

1. A Trebuchet.

The Atomic Bomb of the Middle Ages.

You don’t even have to use it in a medieval novel. Wouldn’t it be hot if the heroine was an engineer, and was building her own trebuchet? And she meets the hero because her projectile accidentally destroys his Maserati, which he has parked in an area clearly marked dangerous.

2. Monster Trucks.

There are NASCAR romances, so there’s precedent for romance and vehicles being two great tastes that taste great together. And Monster Trucks got mentioned on House, M.D. one time. Talk about a cool profession for a heroine! She could be a driver, or she could build them, or own a show. For a paranormal, the hero could be possessing a Monster Truck or be an immortal being who always survives crashes. Bonus if you combine Monster Trucks with a trebuchet.

3. Orangutans.

Orangutan Foundation International.

How about a naturalist who studies orangutans? A radical conservationist? A romantic comedy about someone who is fostering an orangutan rescued from hunters? Bonus if heroine is angry at hero and tells him the orangutan is better looking. Extra bonus if there’s a secondary romance between two orangutans. (She was a circus ape! He had spent his life in a zoo! Could they find happiness together in a Florida refuge?) My friend C. suggested were-orangutans for the secondary romance…I leave that up to your discretion.

4. Buzkashi.

It’s the national sport of Afghanistan. Here are some pictures.

To play, you need a lot of training, horses, and the headless corpse of a goat. Bonus: the best players, called chapandaz, are usually over the age of 40. So make sure to work in a sexy older hero! Women do not participate or even watch, so far as I know, so there’s ready-made plot conflict. And think of the fun you’ll have with research! Be prepared to dedicate years to learning the sport, of course.

5. Peru.

Come to Peru.

If anyone’s read a romance set in Peru, I’d love to read it, too, so drop me a comment.

Four species of camelids, Incan sites, 2900 orchid species, the Andes and the Amazon river and Lake Titicaca. I defy anyone to be unable to make a novel out of all that. Plus, your trip there could be made tax-deductible…hmmm….


Tomorrow’s Snippet Saturday focuses on Dialogue.

About Victoria Janssen

Victoria Janssen [she, her] currently writes cozy space opera for Kalikoi. The novella series A Place of Refuge begins with Finding Refuge: Telepathic warrior Talia Avi, genius engineer Miki Boudreaux, and augmented soldier Faigin Balfour fought the fascist Federated Colonies for ten years, following the charismatic dissenter Jon Churchill. Then Jon disappeared, Talia was thought dead, and Miki and Faigin struggled to take Jon’s place and stay alive. When the FC is unexpectedly upended, Talia is reunited with her friends and they are given sanctuary on the enigmatic planet Refuge. The trio of former guerillas strive to recover from lifetimes of trauma, build new lives on a planet with endless horizons, and forge tender new connections with each other.
This entry was posted in research, romance novels, writing process. Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to Nifty Stuff That Ought To Be In Romance Novels

  1. Lynz Pickles says:

    I would so read those. Well, maybe not the monster truck one. But the others! Though if the immortal, monster truck-driving hero was a were-orangutan, I might be willing to give the trucks a try.

  2. Victoria Janssen says:

    Or a were-orangutan who plays buzkashi!!!

  3. Elise Logan says:

    Peru. Oh, the options… because I needed more plot bunnies. lol.


  4. Alex Draven says:

    I, um, actually have a very short were-orangutan story … there's sadly no monster-truck, though.

  5. Victoria Janssen says:

    Alex, I proclaim you today's Winner. You don't actually win anything, you just Win at Life.

  6. Nif says:

    I forsee an attachment problem with the orangutan fostering plot. Baby orangutans spend YEARS clinging to mom. Constantly clinging. Not so conducive to romance for the designated parental substitute.

  7. Victoria Janssen says:

    Woo-hoo!!! More plot complications!!!

  8. Francesca Hawley says:

    I love the trebuchet destroys Mazarati plotline. Did you ever see the episode on Nova about siege engines? It was awesome – especially when all the engineers put on kilts (regimental style) then mooned the camera. Some very nice booty, I must say… What were we talking about? ;-)

  9. Savanna Kougar says:

    No, not the Maserati. Though, the trebuchet would be a heck of a lot of fun… didn't some farmer hurl a cow with no damage to said cow?

    Monster Trucks… hmmm… does a semi-truck used as a battering ram in an underground extraterrestrial facility count? If so, that's in my latest release.

    Nope, the Orangs are out. I don't do monkeys or apes as good characters, villains, pests, okay. However, the llamas would be great. Or, anything that has to do with Peru and its ancient/mystical heritage.

    Buzkashi… I read a novel as a teenager about the Buzkashi starring some cruel prince dude and a woman who was considered a witch, who got pregnant by the Prince at the very end of the novel.
    I've made up horse sporting games for my stories that are similar and very different.

  10. Lynz Pickles says:

    So, basically, my immortal monster truck-driving were-orangutan has mommy issues? Okay, this book officially just changed from category-length to single title. (Now I'm off to read Alex's story, and I totally second Victoria about winning because of it.)

  11. Nif says:

    Giggling over Alex's story. Agreed: he is full of win!

  12. Minx Malone says:

    I could totally see a heroine who drove a Monster truck! I would read that for sure.

  13. Victoria Janssen says:

    Francesca, I MUST SEE that trebuchet episode.

    Savanna, now I have to find the buzkashi book.

    Lynz, glad to be of service. *heh*

    Minx, you could WRITE one…. *wheedles*

  14. Kat says:

    Dude! Buzkashi is totally in Putney's SILK AND SECRETS. (Sexiest headless-goat competition ever!)

  15. Victoria Janssen says:


    Of course, I read that book about ten years ago…

Comments are closed.