Let’s Talk about Writing Romance

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(image not owned by me)

Recently, I had a discussion on another writing site about writing romance. In the past and even today, I’ve noticed some writers have a tendency to look down on romance writers. Now, I know romance isn’t for everyone, and I respect that. However, I feel like due to recent popular books (cough 50 shades), and maybe books from the past, I don’t know, but writers seem to believe romance is nothing but love and sex. Yes, I know that romance has been beaten to death with clichés, similar plots, and dry characters, but I feel that romance is still important today.

In life, for most – not all people – finding love is still important. Pairing off, finding a life partner and starting families is still a big goal for a lot of us today. With romance stories, essentially we are writing that story. I feel like that is one reason romance will never die, and why it’s so popular. Everyone has a romance story to tell, and romance writers just enjoy bringing their own versions to the world.

I will agree, though, some romance books are cringe worthy and make me wonder why I spent two hours of my life reading the book. Sometimes, it’s like a watching a bad movie, where you think, dang, I just wasted my life.

For me, I prefer romance books that have more substance than just romance itself. I find the best romance books feature amazing subplots. Subplots that focus on character development, their own themes about humanity, and further expand on other characters besides the two lovers.

Clash of Tides may have a strong romantic plot, but the overall story is about one woman’s struggle to rise above what she is – poor and a black. My other subplots include:

Racism

Making tough decisions when growing up

Finding the best path in life

Strong ties of friendship

Family loyalty

Dealing with parents who abandon you

Letting go of the past

These are just some examples, but I have a lot more. Often I wonder if I didn’t include the other subplots well, but that is something I’ll worry about during the rewrite.

Overall, my goal was to bring more awareness to romance books. One of my favorite books with romance is The Anita Blake Vampire Hunter series.

This blog post is already going long, so I’ll hurry it up. While at first glance it seems like another vampire book (mind you, I strongly disliked Twilight!) it’s not. The Anita Blake books are about friendship, corrupt businesses, morality, and dealing with our inner demons. In fact, I’ll say that most of the books have a great balance between romance and action. The other characters – besides the two lovers – get a lot of speaking time and focus.

I know some, if not most romance books are just love and sex, but not all of them =) I hope you remember this blog post next time you see a romance book. There may be more than meets the eye. 🙂

Whew! This is my longest blog post yet. Please let me know your thoughts! I love reading everyone’s comments.

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12 thoughts on “Let’s Talk about Writing Romance

  1. Romance is hard to write, because it is so easy to bungle. So many cliches and rushed events and such. But if done correctly, it’s awesome.

    If one wishes to write a romance, have some character development. Make readers care about the couple (and their friends and family). Otherwise, it’s not good.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Yes, thank you for saying this! Romance is hard to write, and it’s even harder to break away from all the cliches when we do write it. I totally agree, make the romance story more than just sex and the couple. Make the readers feel something for everyone, and have additional subplots readers can relate to. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I think people seem to think of romance novels now days to be erotica, which in my opinion isn’t the case. They are very different genres and deserve their separate titles. As I’ve said before, I like romance stories that have great character development and a relationship between the main lead to be more that just physical. I read romance for the plot twists between the couple and the tension as I wonder if they’ll end up together. 🙂 Anyway just my humble opinion once again. 😀
    Also, I love the picture you used, I love period/samurai/romance anime/manga. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, I totally agree with you. I like reading romance for the same reasons. And thanks, I like period, samurai romance anime too. This picture is from an anime I recently watched called Hakuouki. It was really good and had great character development. Each of the guys had their own unique story and personality. I really enjoyed it.

      Like

  3. Definitely not all of them. Books like Twilight (teen friendly romance) and 50 Shades (basically a bad form of BDSM porn) are dealing with abusive relationships. If you move beyond the surface, that’s what’s happening. People like romance for the simple fact that it’s a feel good experience. You know, experiencing love for the first time.

    That said, I couldn’t agree more. Often the books with the romantic undertones (or, in other words, the ones where the plot is driven by something other than the romance) the book becomes much more “real”. That’s one of the reasons I label my books as adult urban fantasy romance. They are each driven by forces outside their control, but along the way, they either find someone or that relationship is put to the test. And I say adult, because, well, I don’t write porn or graphic love scenes, but they’re detailed enough to know what’s going on. If I’m reading Anita Blake, or Night Huntress, I want to see those love scenes in more detail. But so many fail to do so. They tell just enough that things are about to start and then…. All is done. Big whomp for me. So just like you said, when I write my books, I’m dealing with things like childhood abuse, the PTSD that came with it, the discovery of a world beyond our own, coming into your own and embracing the new you, finding family amongst friends, racism, bigotry, good religion and the intolerant kind, “monsters” like the abusers, the sociopaths and psychopaths, and so on. To me, these types of underlying themes makes for a great story.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You make a good point about the simple feel good feeling. I actually thought about that when I was writing this blog post. Yes, by expanding on other subplots, you add more realism to the story and it’s easier for readers to relate to. When I write romance, I know the character’s goals won’t be solely focused on the love interest – there is way more to life than that.

      Now, I understand wanting to write graphic love scenes. That’s how I feel about Clash of Tides. I don’t write porn, but I do write graphic scenes so readers know what is going on. For that reason, I call Clash of Tides New Adult, and not Young Adult.

      I couldn’t agree more with what you said about the different topics to cover in romance. Thanks for sharing, Sarah. You are a writer I really look up to^^

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I attempted to write a romance + action story long ago XD
    It was hard to mix them along with the progress of the characters (including people around them) haha. So I abandoned it for now.
    Will continue it once I have a good idea.

    Liked by 3 people

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