Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Isn't it romantic...

Tip of the Day: want some more tips on writing romance. Check out this site at Writing World

As a reader, romance to me is as important to a book as a character or plot. So as a writer, I’m always trying to create a compelling romance component in my books.

With each book, I’ve learned that romance is more than just throwing in a guy, having an instant connection based on looks, and then expecting readers to love the romantic connection right away. Sure it helps like Kate said that everyone roots for a romance between characters, but good romantic tension builds just as much as character growth or a plot.

There are a few things I've done in the past that have helped with my romances:

  1. Give the characters a common interest. The reader needs to feel like they belong together. Sure they can be opposites, but something still has to attract them to one another.
  2. Give them an internal and external conflict preventing them from coming together at first. Either parents that don't get along (Romeo and Juliet), a secret (such as in I’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have to Kill You, Cammie can’t tell the boy she likes she’s a secret agent), or you know, ones a vampire or something else.
  3. Create a Romance Arc List/Outline: just like with characters, I always complete a romance arc of some kind. For my last book, all it was was a bulleted list that showed each phase of my character’s relationship: how they meet, what kept them apart, what brought them together, and finally how they resolved their issues and ended up together (because I’m a happily-ever-after kind of girl). I usually write out this outline/arc list after my first draft is complete and keep it on a white board right in front of my face as I make edits in subsequent drafts. But I think if planned properly doing this before could save yourself a lot of hassle (::hint hint:: to myself).
  4. And finally make sure all the characters in your romance are likable. I’m a sucker for the bad boy and most often the boys in my books have bad-boy characteristics. But I sometimes forget I have to show the reader their good sides earlier on in the book, so everyone (including the heroine) can fall in love with them as much as I have.

There’s several more tips I'm sure I use, but I can't think of them now. So I’ll leave it at those four things, since I know Deena, Tina, and Lisa are going to have more awesome suggestions to writing romance in the next few days. Stay tuned people. Don’t you want to see how Lisa managed to write such awesome romance involving a ghost? I know I do!!!!

And Happy Early Valentine’s Day.

--Emily, Miss Querylicious


Kate Fall said...

Sigh. I need to write something for older teens. This sounds so fun.

I think this is a great list, Em. I've read a few books this year where I just don't like the main love interest. He can be a bad boy but he has to be the good guy, if you know what I mean.

DeenaML said...

Yes! I need to work on making my Vietnam love interests less geeky and less criminal. :)

Emily Marshall said...


Yes writing for older teens is fun!! And yes, having some redeeming quality about the person is important, isn't it?

Deena, sounds good. Although a little geeky-ness can be good too!

Kristina Springer said...

Em, you should teach writing classes- you always have such good tips. I've never even thought about making a romance arc list.

Lisa Schroeder said...

Wow. This is a great post, Em. YOu are so right - romance does have an arc. I've never thought of that, but it's true. And I think the pacing of that arc is really important.

Emily Marshall said...

Tina, you should see me try to explain writing to my weekly writing group. Sometimes its scary. I'm much better at writing it down.

Lisa, I think once I figured that out it seemed to make more sense to me.

Christina Farley said...

Great ideas. My instructor reminded me last week that the readers have to like all the characters in some way even if they are bad. So it's interesting that you mentioned this.