Writing ship-able couples


Here are some tips for writing relationships your readers can get behind:

1. Give them reasons to click

  • The two characters must have things in common – a hobby, a philosophy, a background. There has to be some element that connects them.
  • Your readers will root for relationships in which the characters fit together better than they would with others.
  • Also, make their traits compatible. Have them share some characteristics or have their strengths and weaknesses be complementary. Is the one hotheaded? Maybe the other keeps their cool well in situations of conflict.
  • There are endless possibilities. Just make sure there’s a reason these two people like/love each other.

2. Have them be vulnerable in front of each other

  • Personally, this is the best way to get me to love a couple.
  • Have them share secrets, open up about their feelings and tell each other things they haven’t told anyone. Have them cry in front of each other and comfort each other.
  • This can be taken to a whole new level by having them understand the other’s emotions even without speaking and already offer comfort. Keep in mind that this will probably only be possible with long-established couples.
  • And having them open up is also a great way for them to discover all the things they have in common/love about each other.

3. Build up the tension

  • I cannot emphasise this enough: DO NOT MAKE YOUR COUPLES GET TOGETHER TOO QUICKLY.
  • One of the best elements of a romantic subplot (or even main plot) is the tension. Your readers want to see the pining! They want the build-up.
  • And no, I’m not saying that you should introduce endless, petty obstacles. That can become tedious and appear forced.
  • Just give your characters time to sort through their feelings. Make them fall in love slowly. Have them be unsure. Insert SOME obstacles/conflicts.
  • Have them almost kiss a few times. Not all the time. Too many almost-kisses can become frustrating. But you should throw a few in there.
  • And, if you feel comfortable with it, add some sexual tension. Have them notice each other’s bodies and imagine what they’d like to do to each other (that sounds more explicit than I intended 🙂 )

4. Write a healthy relationship

  • This could just be me and my rejection of unhealthy romances, but I will not root for abusive relationships.
  • Have your characters be kind to each other, support each other and truly care for each other.
  • If your characters are constantly putting each other down, physically/emotionally abusing each other or going against the other’s wishes, they’re not in a healthy relationship.
  • A great way to write a healthy relationship whilst still maintaining the tension, is to have the conflict in the relationship be external. Instead of having the conflict be due to internal struggles between the two characters, have obstacles enter from outside.
  • Your readers should want them to be together and for that, they should be good for each other.

5. Have their friends/family see their chemistry

  • I find it beyond adorable when two characters are still figuring out their feelings for each other, but the fact that they’re perfect for each other is crystal clear to everyone around them.
  • Have their friends tease them about the relationship. Have family members ask after the them. Have their loved ones conspire to get them to admit their feelings.
  • If your other characters are rooting for them, your readers will probably do so as well.
  • Plus, this means that the chemistry between the two characters is so strong that it’s obvious, which is always good for an exciting romance.

That’s all I’ve got for now. If you have any further questions about writing OTPs or any other aspect of writing, feel free to message me or pop me an ask.

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