Monday, March 3, 2014

The Kissy Stuff

Personally, I love romance in a story. I don’t often read strict romances but I like my stories to have an element of them. When they don’t I’m often disappointed. It’s like the perfect flavor for a meal is missing, leaving the remainder bland.

When I’m writing my own novels I want to include romance. The problem is that I really, really struggle with it. How to do a meet-cute. When to have it heat up. What kind of physical aspect to have, if any. What’s more frustrating then asking all these questions is answering them, then reading over the finished draft and discovering they all fall flat.

I’m an action writer. I’m my best when things are happening at as fast a pace as possible. That means that my characters often struggle along behind, getting their exposition and building up in spurts. I’ve been working to change that and nothing is as big a struggle as writing their love scenes. It’s like character building and character driven to the millionth degree. I mean, for heavens sake, I’m married to a man I adore. You’d think that I’d be able to replicate the experience on paper easier then something I’ve never experienced. No, car chases and sword battles are easy, a first kiss is hard.

Right now I’m taking my advice from the greats. Reading my favorite romantic books, watching my favorite movies, and trying to channel the romance as directly as possible. At first I avoided this approach because then I’m relying on someone else’s story to create mine. I don’t want that to be my strategy forever. For right now it’s effective in ways that everything else I’ve tried haven’t been. I guess it’s like training wheels for my plot skills. One day when I’m a skilled enough writer they’ll come off.

So what are your favorite tricks for writing romance? Or is there something else you find particularly tricky? Any tips are completely welcome.


  1. Hmmmm....honestly, I just write what seems most organic. I don't worry about "meet cutes" because outside of rom-coms people typically don't meet in any remarkable, cute way. They are in a class together, or happen to work together. They go to the same gym and have been talking for a while when suddenly one of them gets a little flirtatious. They go out to bars with the explicit purpose of meeting people, and there's nothing cute about it, just walking up and saying hello.

    As far as progressing the romance, it all really depends on how heavy the plot is based on romance. If it's one of the main points, obviously there needs to be a progression that follows the progression of the plot. Meaning it'll pull through with ups and downs and lingering what-ifs nearly to the end, just like the main action. But if romance is just a minor subplot, it can be fast and intense, slow and steady, somewhere in between. There needs to be development, yes, but it is such a minor part of the story, just something that is *there* so the pacing and everything is a bit less important. Make any sense?

    As for how much heat, if any, to write? Write each scene at different levels: very chaste, getting warmer, and so hot you'd die if your mother read it. Just to get the practice for writing it. The more you do it, the more organic it becomes and the easier it becomes to decide what is right for each scene.

    /novel-length comment.

    Maybe I should have just written my own blog post in response. :)

    1. Possibly, but that was some excellent advice! I really appreciate it. I think my problem is that my story needs hear but I feel uncomfortable writing it. I guess practice really does make perfect. Also if this shows up as a blog post someday I won't mind!