free the pen, a blog for writers

August 8, 2011

Three Tips on Writing Romance

Filed under: Uncategorized — freethepen @ 3:52 pm


Writing romance is not as easy as it seems because writing romance is similar to describing why we love chocolate. So why is writing romance so challenging? I think writing romance is challenging because we not only have to portray the hopes, wishes and desires of the heart but we face the daunting task of resolving the struggles in the love of two people either falling in love or trying to stay in love. And don’t we each dread that our hearts might be broken if we can’t make things work out?

Readers of romance enjoy being teased to open their hearts hoping all the conflicts will be resolved and love will conquer all. But too often writers of romantic novels struggle to add every detail of a sexual encounter believing sex is the same as romance. This approach
often sucks the life out of the fantasy we want to feel as romantic, feel the operative word here. Writing erotica in which sexual and explicit details abound, is not romance. Romance is seductive, enticing, playful with an innocence of purity. It begs the heart to open with trust and willingness.

Give your characters a unique slant on what is romantic for them. This will round out and add to the power of the relationship between your characters. What leads to romance for one person might not be the same for another. For instance, finding a red rose on a doorstep after a difficult day might be romantic for one person but another may feel romantic when a spouse buys tickets to a play, is taken to a fancy
dinner by their busy husband. True romance, no matter what the content, opens the heart and fills it.

Here are three tips to strengthen romantic scenes:

  1. Create a mood: A good romantic scene opens the heart and makes the reader melt before anyone takes off clothing. When someone
    pays attention to what is important it is romantic because it inspires intimacy. Open the heart, make a connection so the reader will feel romantic too. Ever see a fountain with colorful lights lit against the night sky? Ever hear yourself saying: “How romantic!”?
  2. Stop the mind: When selecting words to describe romantic scenes, try stating romantic feelings through similes-but not too many
    of them. One or two will do the trick because a simile takes the reader out of the literal and drops him/her into a world where the senses take over. Romance is a full-body experience.
  3. Create a union: Readers want to know that love will change unhappiness to happiness and the ordinary to extraordinary. It is what
    drives us to create romance again and again.  Readers want to feel joined to something bigger than them. Loving unions offer hope when something bigger than the two people involved evolve from their connection.

Writers write best when they write what they know. What does romantic feel like for you? What makes your heart unlock? Write those feelings out in great detail. Then give them to your character.

Until next time keep the pen free and moving,


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