Stary Writing Academy III: Combining Danger and Romance, Create Your Romantic-suspense

Ace Author Club
6 min readOct 24, 2021


Billionaire Romance is one of the most popular types of stories all around the world. When it comes to billionaire romance, there is a Cinderella story involved. However, in the new era, as a new era of women, female readers have a deep understanding that it is not right and should not put all their hopes for happiness on a man with money and leisure. Then, the romance story is developed in various sub-genres. Many writers tried to add suspense elements to billionaire romance, and romantic-suspense became a trending one.

What is a Romantic-Suspense Novel?

Romance Writers of America defines romantic-suspense as, “Romance novels in which suspense, mystery, or thriller elements constitute an integral part of the plot.” In short, it is a category that merges romance and thriller/suspense. Billionaire’s world is full of fortune and desire, which is also never short of suspicion, betrayal, deceit, revenge, and murder. The powerful combination of danger and romance, catering to different tastes of readers, can make everyone reap the beautiful experience of love from reading, and also the charm of suspenseful thrillers.

Writing Tips for Romantic-Suspense Stories

1. Create Suspense Atmosphere and Contrast

(1) Don’t Give Away Too Much Too Soon

The key about this tip does not to let readers know about the truth when they should not, and leave it till the end. Keeping readers guessing about the truth is the motivation that attracts them to keep turning pages.

As the suspense movie master Hitchcock once said: “The difference between suspense movies and ordinary movies is: in ordinary movies, the audience does not know that there is a bomb hidden under the table, and then the bomb will suddenly explode; while in suspense movies, the audience knows that there is a bomb hidden under the table, but until the last moment they still do not know whether the bomb will explode or not. Only then will the audience’s heart flutter along with the situation of the characters in the movie.”

(2) Design Contrasts to Create a More Exciting Reading Experience

The rhythm of a suspense novel is tension, relief, then tension again, then relief. It just likes a rollercoaster that can stimulate readers to release adrenalin and excitement about the story. Before creating a climax, it is important to let the audience relax, brew the latent horror premonition, create conflict through stress. The pressures will be released after the problem is solved, but then a new problem appears noiselessly.

When it comes to the romance part, the trick is the same. The ups and downs of the romance part in a romantic-suspense can be synchronized with the suspense parts. The romance part should carry the readers on a rollercoaster journey full of love, infidelity, betrayal, and heartbreak. If the story only brings positive or negative emotions to readers throughout the whole story, it will be boring.

2. Let the Twists Come by Surprise

For readers, predictability is boring. If readers can tell how the story ends by only reading the blurb, there are no surprises, especially for suspense stories. Twists are readers’ favourites. As a writer of romantic-suspense, creatively conveying twists is a must. When the twist occurs, make it different and unpredictable, and more importantly, make it resonate.

As an example, the hero of a story was arrested for killing his girlfriend, and he described her murder in his own words. However, on the day of the trial, someone pointed out that he did not even know the victim so that he was innocent! Then, two more characters came over to the courtroom to turn themselves in, one of them looked exactly like his girlfriend…

3. Don’t Forget to Add Romance into the Story

In addition to suspense, romance is also the main storyline of a romantic-suspense. The relationship between the main characters can change with the process of solving cases. They may be strangers at first, but the chemistry sparks between them begin to appear as their time together continues. Then new conflicts and new difficulties might arise which leads to a crisis in their relationship. These experiences strengthen their relationship. In this way, romance and suspense are not separate but complementary. And the hero and heroine together in physical and mental proximity with the plot developments.

Photo by Tirza van Dijk on Unsplash

4. Put the Protagonist in Danger

Without danger, there is no fun, without danger, there is no sparkle. The sense of crisis is the key for readers to continue reading a story. Especially for romantic-suspense. This sense can be seen both in the danger of the case as well as in the crisis of the relationship. The conflict can be romantic as well.

For instance, the heroine’s mother was killed, then she had a car accident and lost her memory afterwards. She forgot everything including her boyfriend and left the country. Her boyfriend holds a grudge against her for not saying goodbye. When she steeled down in a new town, she noticed that a man was stalking her and someone was watching her. Until one day, she received a phone call from an unknown number, a male voice sounded…

In this case, the heroine’s crises are one after another. The constant crises would keep the readers in a tense atmosphere and wonder what would happen next. Thus, readers would not give up reading the whole story.

5. Leave a Cliff-hanger at the End of a Chapter

The cliff-hanger is probably the most type of chapter ending.

(1) End a Chapter with a Question

This technique would make readers cannot help to read the next chapter. Because nobody does not want to know the answer to a question. They always desire to seek the solution to the question and they can only find it in the next chapter.

(2) Put a Beginning at the End of the Chapter

Having someone or something arrive at the end of a chapter is an excellent technique that an author can use to compel a reader to continue reading. If readers liked everything that came before, they would be left with the sense that they will like the things to come. Something unexpected at the end of a chapter suggests a new beginning. For example, the hero has just settled things with his wife. The story seems to be a happy ending. Then there might be a knock on their door and a voice that says, “Sir, this is the police. Can we talk to you?” Now, here is the hook of the new chapter.

6. Ensure the Logic is Meticulous

Meticulous logic is a must for an excellent suspense story. It requires the author to think about the direction of the whole story at the very beginning, set reasonable ambushes will, in the end, have logical explanations. Usually, the deeper the ambush, the more impressive it can be. If you have a suspense idea, be sure to outline it first, so that with the story written, the logic chain will be complete, and will not leave too many bugs.

USA Today bestselling author Maureen Smith says, “There is a reason why the genre is called romantic-suspense, not suspenseful-romance. The romance must come first. Achieving the perfect balance between the two can be tricky. Unlike other fiction genres, you’re straddling the fence between two readerships.”

For more details about the romantic-suspense, please check the Stary Writing Academy III Courses. And if you want to connect with more than 80,000 writers all over the world and share your ideas about how to create a great romantic-suspense, don’t forget to join the Stary Writing Academy Facebook group!