Stary Writing Academy III: The Second Time is Even Better — Second-chance Romance 101

Ace Author Club
4 min readDec 2, 2021

There are many sub-genres in romance books. Billionaire romance with suspense elements is called romantic-suspense. Romance that aims to tell a story that one couple broke up for some reason then rekindled their romance after many years is also classified as a sub-genre called second-chance romance.

What is the Second Chance and Second-Chance Romance?

Merriam-Webster defines a second chance as an opportunity to try something again after failing one time. It refers to stories that describe a couple of former lovers who have broken up for some reason and finally reconnect and achieve their happy endings when it comes to fiction. The love story is not always sweet. Sometimes it tastes sour, even bitter. When writing a second-chance romantic story, writers should balance these different tastes — as a result, creating a unique reading experience for readers.

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The Main Storyline of Second-Chance Romance

In general, a second-chance romantic story can be divided into three plot lines.

1. The former lovers first met each other

The first encounter of this couple does not need to be perfect but should be intense enough. The intense connection leads to strong feelings and emotions, such as anger, scorn, admiration, regret, etc., and makes them become unique to each other and cannot help thinking about the other even after a long time. In many second-chance romances, the male character and female character usually meet each other out of the normal way. For example, they had a one-night stand, or they were involved in a contract marriage. Such plots create strong tension between the main characters and give a sign that foreshadows their separation.

2. The former lovers broke up.

As mentioned before, the way that the couple first met has laid danger in their relationship. But the exact reason for their break up can be varied. The trigger might be the huge gap in their background, the misunderstanding made by supporting characters, the disappointment about their relationship, etc. Take forced marriage as an instance. The heroine might leave her nominal husband because her husband still loves his first love, and the person seems not to have now fallen in love with her even for a second. Then her leave, of course, has a great impact on the hero.

When former lovers break up, both the hero and the heroine are hurt. The key is to ensure the emotions surrounding the break-up are logical and consistent with the characters. Then at the moment, they meet again, their reactions would be more believable.

3. The couple meet again and finally fall in love.

The most important problem to solve in this part is to tell how the former couple meets again, compromises with others, and overcomes the difference between them. Whatever the stuff makes them reconciled, they need to grow before falling in love again.

A second-chance romance is a story about love and growth, love and forgiveness, love and healing, etc. The couple needs to overcome the differences or difficulties that made them apart in the past when they meet again. They need to be strong and powerful enough to solve the problems in their life and relationship. Then the couple can finally fall in love for the second time, and the story goes to a happy ending.

Two Examples of the Redeem-Ex’s-Love Story

Getting an ex back is one of the most common plots in second-chance romance. Here are two examples of this plot. If you want to write a second-chance romance but lack ideas, you can start with one of them.

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1. Married Before Falling in Love

As the hero and heroine did not know much about each other, they were forced into a contract marriage. None of them expected to start a romantic relationship in this marriage. But one of them began to have a feeling for his or her spouse. However, the spouse had other plans and finally broke this contract marriage without realizing they had been in love with each other. The path for them to restore their relationship and bring them together again is a tough fight. They need to be honest with each other and face up to their previous mistakes.

2. Standby Lover

A standby lover is also called a backup partner. In such a plot, the main character, a billionaire, first met the other main character because the other was looking for a backup partner. They came together, and the billionaire believed they were in love with each other until the truth was revealed one day. When the billionaire felt discouraged and decided to leave, the other character finally realized his or her true feelings and decided to win back the billionaire.

The second-chance romance can contain diverse themes and background settings. Besides the two examples mentioned in this article, more varied and amazing second-chance stories have been created by writers. For more details about the second-chance romance, please check HERE. Meanwhile, if you want to connect with more people who love writing as you do, you can join the Stary Writing Academy Facebook group now.