Silhouette Desire Guidelines Circa 1982
The guidelines from Silhouette written for the Silhouette Desire imprint reflect a wish for innovative, unique stories -- elements that had been largely ignored by category romance up to that point. Authors were encouraged to write fresh characters and plots.
The Heroine: The Desire heroine is a mature, capable woman of 25-32 who has a strong sense of her own individuality and an unshakable resolve to be happy no matter what obstacles she encounters. She need not be a virgin and is definitely not a naive young girl. Rather, she is a vulnerable, sensitive woman looking for a partner to share to the fullest the joys and challenges of life.
The Hero: The hero must be a realistic, believable modern man, one any woman could imagine herself falling in love with. He should be strong, caring, sexy, and warm. He will tend to be in his mid to late thirties.
The Setting: Both international and American locales are encouraged, providing the setting is presented in a romantic and appealing way.
Writing Style: The writing should be extremely sensuous, providing vivid, evocative descriptions of lovemaking and concentrating on the characters' reactions to each other and the sexual tension between them.
The Plot: A Desire book centers on the developing relationship between the hero and heroine. The book should open with their meeting or the events leading up to it and end with their decision to sake a lifetime commitment to one another. The tension and excitement in the book stem from the fact that neither protagonist is certain of the other's love until the end. Each scene must contribute to the process of discovery they're going through. The plot should not consist of a series of chance encounters, coincidences or filler scenes in which nothing substantial happens.
Emphasis: Desire books will emphasize innovative, unique plots, exploring realistic relationships which have been ignored up to now in other romance lines. They should depict the fears, doubts and problems, as veil as the exhilarating wonder, of falling in love. Because Desire intends to mirror the real lives of modem women, marriages of convenience and similarly contrived situations are inappropriate for this line. For the same reason, realistic and detailed love scenes will be possible, providing they are tastefully handled. Sexual encounters -- which may include nudity and lovemaking even when the protagonists are not married -- should concentrate on the highly erotic sensations aroused by the hero's kisses and caresses rather than the mechanics of sex. A celebration of the physical pleasures of love, as well as its emotional side, should be an important part of these books.
Length: 53-56,000 words