Wednesday, November 18, 2015
Jash's Writing Tips: Writing a Romance
So this post isn't about the Romance genre as a whole, but having romantic storylines in your story. However, feel free to use any tips here to help you write a story in the Romance genre.
When looking at writing a romance, you should take major inspiration from couples around you. See how one couple can function one way and another a completely different way. To me, romance is infinite and there is no right way to do it. Only the way that is comfortable to you.
One of the things in a healthy real life relationship is that each person is different. They can function as one mind in two bodies, but they are still independent of each other. If they were to break up they would go on. It may be hard, but their life doesn't end because they are not together anymore.
Same as with a fictional couple: just because they are no longer a couple doesn't mean their stories end or that their stories aren't important any longer.
I have seen a decent relationship in a roleplay get thrown down the shitter because one end of the relationship stopped being a character. She had turned into part of her love interest's story with no real self of her own. She was a complicated character who suddenly got turned into someone who depended on her 'better half' for all her strength.
This shouldn't happen in a romance.
Bella Swan, of Twilight fame, was a poor character partially because she depended too much on Edward Cullen. There was nothing interesting about her so seeing them together wasn't interesting at all. Both sides of a relationship need to exist on their own.
I think that is why I can multi-ship: I see each character as an individual and so can just mix and match. I can put Tobias with Rachel just as easily as I can with Marco because all three are their own people. With their own thoughts, feelings, and stories.
So make each person in your romance have something unique to bring to the table.
If you're not writing a story in the romance genre then you shouldn't feel any of your romances are the end all and be all of your story. Just because a story involves a romance doesn't mean it has to completely revolve around it.
Sometimes romances can be a useful distraction or a way to better to illustrate a point.
Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles has a romance between John Connor and Cameron. With the romance between John Connor and Cameron, the differences between human and machine are better explored. But the show isn't all about them, there is lots more that it covers. There is the confusion of time travel, trying to stop Skynet, and lots of other interesting sub-plots.
The Hunger Games has a love triangle between Katniss, Gale, and Peeta. Instead of drawing away from the trilogy, the love triangle helps to express the themes of the series better. So your romance could do that.
Remember that romances can be as deep and compelling as any other thing in fiction.
Oh, and if your romance involves an aromantic or two: please don't repeat the whole 'you need love to truly live' cliche. Some minorities need serious representation.
Yes, you heard me right. Fade to blacks can be used in such a way that can be very erotic without being too descriptive. A version of 'less is more'. You just need to build up sexual tension and you don't need every single detail (though don't feel bad if you just have to write detailed sex scenes).
All you need is a reason to care about the romance and the characters. If the romance isn't central to the plot of your story there is even less of a reason for the sex scene to be detailed. The best use of words will be to let your readers know that they had sex and quickly move on to more important plot points.
In most cases, when I'm writing a serious story I'll go with fade to black. My purpose isn't to show a sex scene but to show the romance. In The Dawning the fic starts out with a detailed sex scene which makes it a rarity in my serious writings. In Inbetween: The Darkening sex scenes are merely fade to black.
If you still want to have mentions of what went on during your fade to black sex scenes, you can always put some descriptions after the fact. Such as your character's body being extremely sore and slight mention of rough sex.
Not everything needs to be painstakingly spelled out for the reader. And there is no need to write a detailed sex scene if it makes you uncomfortable.
Hell, if you don't even want to do a fade to black and want readers/viewers to know your characters had sex: just have that fact mentioned with no further details.
All of Jash's Writing Tips