You Can Write Amish Romance Novels Even If You’re Not Amish!

Would it shock you to know that the majority of Amish romance novels are written by non-Amish authors? Further, the "bonnet fiction" audience is mostly evangelical Christian women. The bottom line is a stable of non-Amish writers are catering to millions of non-Amish readers! So, if you’ve been reluctant to write Amish novels, just give yourself permission to get started!
Where Should You Start?
Start by reading five or more Amish romance novels by Beverly Lewis, Wanda Brunstetter or Cindy Woodsmall. These are the top three authors of Amish novels. If any "bonnet rippers" are on your bookshelf, that’s even better. We suggest that you read each book twice. First for enjoyment of the story and next, read it like a writer. Highlight interesting passages, watch for Pennsylvania Dutch language and take notes when you find facts about the Amish lifestyle. In other words, study Amish novels as if they were non-fiction reference books. Consider them your textbooks. Of course, you wouldn’t dare copy another author’s work verbatim. That would be plagiarism. It would also take the joy away from your journey.
Why you should Include Pennsylvania Dutch Words
Scattering Pennsylvania Dutch language into your story helps readers immerse themselves inside the Amish community. For example, savvy readers of the "buggies and bonnets" genre expect to hear an Amish child say denki rather than "thank you". Your publisher will also thank you for interspersing enough Pennsylvania Dutch language to lend your Amish romance novels authenticity. Refer to your textbooks (novels). Some contain a Pennsylvania Dutch glossary. Alternatively, check the internet for "lists of Amish words".
Getting to Know your Characters
Generally, Amish romance novels highlight a young female (protagonist), who quickly falls in love with an Englisher (non-Amish). The conflict is their religious beliefs vs. long-lasting relationship. Your first order of business is to name your guy and gal. Here are a few examples; many are found in scriptures.
Female Names: Rachel, Rebecca, Sadie, Sarah, Hannah, Emma, Mary, Martha and Miriam
Male Names: Jacob, Eli, Aaron, Mark, Samuel, Dan, Roy, Levi and Lloyd.
Common Surnames: Miller is prevalent in the Amish settlements in Ohio and Indiana. Yoder, Schrock, Hershberger and Troyer are other common last names. Stolzfus prevails in Pennsylvania communities. Others are Zook, King, Fisher and Lapp.
Name your characters and get to know them. It takes time to explore their potential. Your aim is for the reader to experience emotional responses to your character’s plight. Your protagonist yearns for her forever man to come along and sweep her off her feet. But, when he appears in Englisher clothing, a long inner-struggle begins. How can she remain true to her Amish roots when her heart knows "he" is her forever love? Here is the crux of Amish romance novels.
Your heroine is faced with three possible choices: leave the community where she has lived all her life; explore his converting to Amish or give him up. During the pursuit of her desire, you must make her suffer. You must uncover her hidden secrets that drive her decisions. By the end of the story, she will be a different person.
Write the Story
You can write Amish Romance Novels even if you’re not Amish! Write the story that only you can write.
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