Hello! I have a problem when writing romance stories. I can’t seem to develop my characters so they realize they love each other because I feel as if I should rush their love to make the story less boring (for example, I have my characters kiss in early chapters). I really would love to develop their love in a non cliché way, but also find a way to not make my readers fall asleep or give up on the story. Any advice?
One of the first things you learn as a writer is that stories have to have a plot. Otherwise you’re just writing about a bunch of unrelated events, which will never hold the reader’s attention. If you’re writing a plot-less romance, the entire story depends on the payoff of the couple getting together, which is why your story feels boring until that happens. Even romances need to have a plot and sub-plots to tie everything together, wether it’s erotic romance, historical romance, contemporary romance, paranormal romance, or any other. Take Jane Austen’s classic romance Pride & Prejudice as an example: It’s mainly about the slow-to-bloom courtship between a young woman (Elizabeth) and a man of higher social standing (Darcy). Both must overcome their misjudgments about the other before they can realize their true feelings. However, Elizabeth and Darcy don’t get together until near the end of the story. There’s only romantic tension between them prior to that, but there’s never an opportunity for the reader to get bored, because their relationship is built-up through several intertwining sub-plots: the unfolding courtship between Darcy’s friend, Bingley, and Elizabeth’s sister, Jane; Elizabeth’s deft escape from an unwanted marriage proposal and her fascination with the troublesome Mr. Wickham; the sudden removal of Mr. Bingley from Jane’s life, and the unfolding truth about the familial connection between Darcy and Wickham, which comes out after Wickham runs away with another of Elizabeth’s sisters. The sub-plots create a framework to support all of that romantic tension and development between Elizabeth and Darcy, and also keeps the reader interested the rest of the time.
So, aside from your characters falling in love with each other, what else is your story about? What conflict might create an interesting backdrop against which the romance can unfold? What sub-plots could create some interesting obstacles to keep your couple from getting together for awhile, creating opportunities for romantic tension and feelings to evolve?
Also, you may want to read some of the posts in the romance section of my master list, as they talk a bit about how to develop a romance over time so that you don’t have to rush it. 🙂