I’m actually in the process of writing a novel, but I’m having a hard time getting the characters together. At times, it seems like the storyline kind of interferes with any chance to get them together. Do you have any advice on how to write a story with a romantic element?
It’s not always the easiest thing in the world, admittedly. In my books, I kind of like to leave the romance either to the beginning or middle of the story and just kind of allude to it through the body of the book. What I mean is, have the two characters forge a relationship before or in the middle of the main adventure. If your novel is fast-paced where there is no downtime, it may be a good idea for them to start off together and then have their relationship grow throughout the story.
This is more personal preference, but I don’t typically like stories where the relationship begins at the end. There is an old anecdote… that’s been mocked in several action movies; “Relationships based on intense experiences never work.”
Again, it’s an anecdote, but a pretty accurate one from what I’ve observed. This is just my opinion, but if you want a romantic element, don’t end on that note. It’s contrived, cheesy, and really doesn’t draw an audience in.
Since I’ve given you some do’s and don’ts, there’s another one I feel like I should bring up. This is something I see all the time in modern literature, tv, and movies and it really drives me insane. Do not write a story where the obvious ‘breeding pair’ has several close calls where the almost get together, but either one of them backs off or has second thoughts… more than once, and then another character comes in and interferes, only to disappear once his purpose has been served.
This is relationship drama and, while a little bit of it is okay, prolonging your story this way will annoy readers very quickly. This can be considered a form of baiting and readers don’t tend to like that very much.
Create a Dramatic Relationship, not Relationship Drama. What’s the difference? Well the opposed to what I wrote above, a dramatic relationship is one that responds and evolves due to outside stimulus, but remains strong. That’s really what you want if you’re going to draw people in.
So I went off on a bit of a tangeant there, and I apologize for that. Really all you need to do is create two likeable characters and let them work through things together. Create two characters who either compliment each other or work well off each other. Do that, and you’ll be just fine.
Hope this helps!
Readers, do you have any advice for Marylou about adding a romantic element into a fast-paced story? Let her know in the comments.
Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.
I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.
I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.
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