Wednesday, February 11, 2009

How I Write Romance (or Don't You Want Me Bay-bay?*)

*With apologies to Human League

Tip of the day: To challenge your writing skills, try creating a love interest who is someone you would never in a million years be romantically interested in yourself.

The basis for my novels is never romance. Not that love/crush interests don't make appearances in my stories, and not that relationships aren't instigators for novel conflict -- they are! But I think the issue is I'm just not a big romantic. My idea of a good Valentine's Day is one where my manpanion gives me some shoulder squeezes -- something I make him do on the regular anyway.

My current YA WIP, the Vietnam/Mafia Book, does explore what people will do for love, so I'm working on developing my romantic skills.

That said, here's how I write romance:

1) I plunge into my characters when I write, so when the love interest arrives, I use a lot of physical description.

2) Amidst the physical descriptions, the MC conveys how those physical traits make her feel/what she thinks about him.

3) When the love interest begins interacting with the MC, I use lots of dialog -- or lack of -- to show if he's a flirtatious guy, the strong silent type, etc.

4) As the MC and the love interests' relationship develops, I heighten the amount of internal feelings the MC has for the interest -- and heighten the amount of physical contact they make.

5) If I want to portray a lot of romance/super strong feelings, I draw out the kissing/hugging/touching bits into a long paragraph rather than a sentence.

6) "Longing" is huge in teen relationships, so I play that up with the MC whenever the love interest is not around.

I have not yet written a boy MC, but if I did, I wonder if I would use the same techniques to develop a romantic relationship. What do you think? (A good example that does this well is I KNOW IT'S OVER by C. K. Kelly Martin.)

Deena, Miss Subbing for Pubbing


Kristina Springer said...

Wow-- nice list! I would probably just write and then take something like your list and look back to see if I did these things. Awesome!

Lisa Schroeder said...

Thanks for reminding us that "longing" is huge when a teenager. You are so right!! That needs to be there, because teens really get that part of the romance.

Kate Fall said...

Writing the "strong, silent type" of character is tough! Especially when they're not a viewpoint character and you can't fall back on internal dialogue. I'm looking forward to reading some sweet hot romance in your pages!

Emily Marshall said...

You definitely gave me some good things to think about. And I LOVE your suggestion to write a romance for a person you'd never fall for.

DeenaML said...

I really want to write my dual pov book, girl and boy, and try to write romance from the boy's pov. Will have to pick the manpanion's brain....

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