Writing romance

The romance between Isabel, the main character, and Luke, a handsome Changer who doesn’t disguise his interest in her, is the secondary plot of my new book.

I already know why Luke likes her. She helps him out during a stormy night when she could easily have turned him in. Not everyone would have done that, and he never forgets her for it. Ironically, she doesn’t recognise him when they meet up again. Also, he keeps seeing the real Isabel behind the mask she puts up. He sees how kind, loving and gentle she is.

What I can’t figure out is why Isabel likes Luke.

She thinks he’s attractive, yes, but she doesn’t do anything because of that. She suspects that he might be after her for power and connections; it’s a case of ‘Do you like me, or do you like what I can give you?’ There’s also the fact that Isabel really does not like Changers at this precise minute, and with good reason.

One thing there won’t be is what some reviewers call ‘instalove’. It’s when two characters decide they are completely and utterly head-over-heels in love with each other at their first meeting. A lot of YA reviewers really don’t like that, and I can see why. But on the other hand, these characters are teenagers. In Teen Wolf, Scott is smitten with Allison from the first moment he sees her and to be honest, that’s a pretty realistic reaction for a sixteen-year-old. (The only problem is he happens to be a werewolf and Allison’s family are werewolf hunters. Oh dear.) And to be honest, love at first sight does exist. But judging from reviews, YA readers and reviewers might not thank you if you have it in your book.

The romance isn’t the main plot, but unless it’s done right, it’s going to fall flat. But hey, you can’t please everyone who reads a book, can you?

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2 Responses to Writing romance

  1. Senna says:

    Writing romance in general is difficult, whether it’s the main plot or otherwise.

    Basically, if there’s another genre associated with it (like action or drama), you want the romance to feel like it belongs. (e.g. don’t do a mushy-gushy romance in the middle of a raw, powerful action sequence, unless that’s the mood whiplash you’re going for)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve always had a hard time with understanding why “she” likes “him”–understandably, I should think, because hey, I’m a guy! This was a weak point in my writing some years ago, because I’ve always loved romance in a story, and I’ve always wanted to write it. And, to top it all off, my main characters always turn out to be female!

    One day, after struggling with this problem, I asked a female writer of mine (who is gay, so she can write some hella-good romance) what I was missing. She then explained to me that women are just like men, only slightly different in one aspect: the way they choose their mates. Men choose their mates based upon certain visual criteria (as do women, though to a lesser degree), and their perceived attitude toward life and the man himself in general. Women look toward the man’s capabilities as a provider and his ability to keep her and their progeny safe. All of this is directly related to the man and woman’s perceived social value, as they see each other.

    Caveman logic aside, I believe that this (very, very boiled down version of our) conversation could help you (as it has helped me many times over) come up with a reason Isabel falls in love with Luke. The attraction is almost never a conscious decision (in good fiction, that is), and is almost ALWAYS based upon our instinctual needs in a mate.

    Let’s look at your reasons why Luke is attracted to Isabel: A) she helped him when she didn’t have to, probably at risk to herself in the process. B) the fact that she helped him out when no one else would have sticks with him more than just a random kindness would have. The fact that he sees her for who she really is, even when she tries to hide it isn’t a reason he would love her, but a direct byproduct of his falling for her. So, boiled down, he loves her because: she is a good person who supported him in his time of need, This supports both of the criteria I stated earlier. On a side note, I’d like to point out that you don’t want to dismiss offhand the fact that (I’m guessing this is the case) that your MC is attractive as well. While that may seem shallow, it *is* an important part of getting a male to notice a female. Shocking, I know, that I would be so crass, but hey: it is what it is.

    Now, why would Isabel fall for Luke? You’ve mentioned that he’s handsome, so good, you’ve got the first element there: she’s noticed his body. Next, you have to get her thinking about his body in more than a, “Hmmm, not bad…” kind of way. If he catches her off guard one morning when she knocks on his door and he hasn’t put on his shirt just yet, it may surprise her into checking him out. She might even have a naughty thought or two before she stops herself and forces all such thoughts out of her head. Only, when has that ever worked? In the back of her mind, that little niggling thought of how nice he looked without his shirt would be gnawing at her, even when she tries not to think about it. She doesn’t like his kind, after all. So what happens next? He does something so completely heroic (again, to her surprise), like maybe saving her life in an unexpected attack wherein she would have been killed had he not taken the arrow for her or whatever. And then she has to nurse him back to health! See where I’m going here? I could go on and on and on, but I think this reply to your post has already achieved “ridiculous” status, and I’m gonna shut up and hope that this helped you out!

    Liked by 2 people

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