Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Turning 10 Big Marriage Fears into a Romance Novel, Part 2

Continuing on with the story premises/concepts started last week, here are five additional ideas for your next romance novel.

The article I used as my basis for this series is “How to Conquer Your 10 Biggest Marriage Fears” by Jane Greer, PhD a marriage and family therapist. See Part 1 for the first five novel ideas in this series. 
"I'll resent him for the sacrifices I've made."
This novel could also use the prompt from last week about forgetting who one is. But this prompt goes further. Resentment fosters revenge often. Maybe you’ll write a domestic romance thriller. Brian and Melissa have been married for a couple of dozen years. Since Brian was an established entrepreneur at the time of their engagement and Melissa was just out of clerking for a Supreme Court judge, they decided that she would stay at home and be the corporate wife helping foster his successful career. He told her that with her credentials as valedictorian at an Ivy law school and her several clerking opportunities, she could always pick up her law career at some future time. But she didn’t. And, over the years, as she read court decisions and trial transcripts she regretted more and more the decision to leave law. Now it was too late. She wanted to get back at Brian for her lost years. And her brilliant logician’s mind finds just the right tool.

"I'll get less attractive with age while he'll get 'distinguished,' leading him to look elsewhere."
Ripped from the pages of yesterday’s headlines, the royal Elizabeth, never a beauty, is besotted with the elegant, erudite Philip. Despite warnings from her parents and others around her, she sets her mind to capturing Philip for herself and marrying him. After all, as future monarch, she has a lot to offer. The years show her to be a pedestrian monarch with little imagination but great heart for her country and her responsibility. Rearing children when one has a full-time job is difficult not matter the job, but when the mother is also mother to a nation, something has to give. More and more parenting duties fall to Philip and as he is limited in the role he plays in the marriage and as her subject, he fills his time in wastrel ways. He hangs out with men who encourage him to get the intimacy he is lacking in his marriage from other sources. Rumors swirl around the royals and Elizabeth confronts him many times about his indiscretions. Increasingly he is critical of his children and Elizabeth. Would being prettier help her with her marriage or are other factors in play?

"Money problems will ruin us."
Champagne tastes but a beer budget. Barb used to tease Dave about that when they were dating. More than half the time, she picked up the tab. But she didn’t mind. Dave was exciting, fun, and very good looking. Plus, he adored her, and after her last several disastrous relationships, Barb needed the self-esteem boost. Even his $50K in student debt didn’t deter her. She figured he’d pay it off with his salary from his social worker job. Maybe if she’d known about the additional $30K in credit card debt she would have hesitated. But she didn’t. And as a computer programmer with a good salary, she figured he made good money, too. Not! Dave and she financed their own elaborate destination wedding and reception because, as Dave told her, “Your parents $5000 contribution can’t give us the wedding we deserve.” It was her dream wedding, and her American Express credit card happily recorded the $40K cost. Barb was shocked that they were turned down for a mortgage after she eventually paid off the wedding. How could that be? Since they maintained separate accounts, she didn’t know that Dave was in arrears on his student loan and that his credit card debt had ballooned to $50K. In a desperate attempt to get more money, Dave was taking kickbacks from suppliers at work. When did Barb find all of this out, and what can she do?

"I'll never be first in his life."
She loved the way he cared for his mother. Widowed when she was in her late 20s, Jack’s mother was his best friend when he was a youngster. They remained close even during his teen years. As an adult, he lived away from his mother for several years since he worked in another state. But as his mother’s health deteriorated, he gave up his dream job and took a lesser position so he could take care of her. Eventually he realized that living with her would make that easier. Jack had never dated much, but when, Gillian, a new associate joined his firm, he fell hard and fast. The decision to marry hinged upon Gillian agreeing to move into his mother’s home. “So sweet,” she thought. “A man who is that thoughtful will be kind and generous to others.” She agreed. Jack didn’t know his mother was jealous of his wife. She didn’t want to share him with anyone and thought Gillian was selfish to marry before she had died. With Gillian she was nasty, snarky, and manipulative. In front of Jack, she was sweet and kind. He never saw what Gillian complained about. In fact, he discounted it because his mother had never displayed such behaviors before. Gillian wrestled with how to handle it. She loved Jack and didn’t want to leave him, but she couldn’t tolerate the atmosphere Mom created. Should she tape some interchanges? Talk to an attorney about a separation? Should she issue an ultimatum: put Mom in a facility or I move out?

"A vice will spiral out of control."
They met in rehab, so Frankie knew that Joey battled demons, the same ones that afflicted her. But they were both clean and committed to staying that way when they moved to a remote rural community in Northern Arizona. Rural, sparsely populated—that signaled safety to Frankie. Less access to drugs increased the likelihood of losing control again. A fresh beginning. Frankie had plans. She’d go back to school and become a dental hygienist. She encouraged Joey to get more training, too. But Joey was a school kind of guy. Instead, he patched together a network of part-time jobs to meet his half of household expenses. Getting full-time employment with their histories was nigh impossible. Frankie found that to be true as well. Graduating in the upper third of her class didn’t mean dentists were lining up to offer jobs. Depression set in for both of them. For Joey, the solution meant dealing drugs. Not using them, he told Frankie. There was money in drugs, and he meant to get some of it. But when was self-control ever one of Joey’s strengths.

So there you are. Five more book ideas. What? Still here? Why aren’t you writing?

I’d love it if you’d share this post on social media. I even made a FB post and tweet for you to share easily. Thanks for spreading the word.

Facebook post: Angelica French gives romance writers five more book ideas based on the biggest marriage fears people have. Check out these story starters at

Twitter: @romancerighter gives #authors 5 more ideas for #writing about the biggest marriage fears at

Twitter: @romancerighter gives authors five more ideas for writing about the biggest marriage fears at


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