Advice from the Archives: Making ‘Working Together’ Work For You

This week on Advice from the Archives we’re talking about how to make ‘working together’ work for you! This fabulous post comes from the 2011 ‘Behind the Scenes’ blog series – enjoy! 

Heroes and heroines working together is a cornerstone of romance – the forced proximity allows for an amazing build-up of tension, plus invaluable insight into your hero and heroines’ true characters.

BUT! – Office romances are also something we see an awful lot of in our series, and it’s a scenario we’re always looking to be rejuvenated and refreshed.  So this week ‘working together’ is under the Romance HQ spotlight…

To begin with, the Romance HQ hit-list of things to avoid!

– Falling for a fellow employee (boss, equal, whoever) is not a sustainable barrier for the entire romance! The implications of an office romance should definitely be considered (all those awkward water cooler moments if it doesn’t work out…cringe!) but the tension should always come from the characters’ intrinsic emotional barriers.

– Rooting your romance in a mundanely 9-5 world might make it recognizable to your readers, but it’s not likely to give them that escapist buzz they crave – keep those offices interesting!

– Overwhelming professional drive always needs to be balanced by characteristics that make readers understand and appreciate where the character is coming from.

What we are looking for: the top tips on how to make your working-together romances work for you:

– Good office banter is an absolute must – readers want to see your hero and heroine giving as good as they get, in the boardroom and out of hours.

– If your characters are at the top of their professional game, let’s see them in action – show us why we should respect their professional excellence! A genuine vocation also goes down a treat…(this is where Medical romances work particularly well.) People’s job choices can speak volumes about their personality, so choose wisely.

– Don’t be afraid to delve into the specificity of the work and use it to engage your readers – gone are the days of the catch-all ‘business’ tycoon! Just think of the How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days ‘frost yourself’ slogan, or the tights ad campaign in Sarah Morgan’s Doukakis’s Apprentice – these are great examples of using characters’ professions in relatable, relevant and fun ways.

– But above all, it’s all about fresh new takes on the premise! Woman-as-boss (think The Proposal), taking the couple outside the office walls – basically any new spin you can think of to make your office romance as different and surprising as possible! – will be an instant eye-catcher.

That’s the Romance HQ lowdown on office romances, let us know what you think – do you love/hate them, any particular fave examples? Comment below!

Happy writing! 🙂