Writing romance… what’s the trick? by Mandy Baggott

I’ve always written romantic stories, ever since I was old enough to know what romance was. For me there is nothing better than creating two characters who, despite their personal conflicts and all the situations they face that keep them apart, are destined to have their happy ever after. But how do you do it? How do you write an authentic romance?
Get to know your characters… I mean REALLY get to know them

No character can fall in love unless the writer knows who they are and what motivates them. You need to know your characters inside out before you can let them (and their bodies!) loose with their counterpart on the page.

Be genuine

Love at first sight is rare… but it does happen. Give your characters authentic scenarios, real life situations so their meeting and relationship is as plausible as it can be. Of course it’s fiction, you can make it a little dramatic, but the best romances are ones where the reader sighs and remembers something like it happening to them… or wishes it would. Life isn’t perfect and neither is love… even in book form.

Enjoy the moment

If you find yourself cringing a little at your characters’ first kiss, then you haven’t written it right. It should feel natural, not forced, just like that perfect coupling of your own dreams! If you’re not enjoying the connection between your hero and heroine, then chances are the reader isn’t going to enjoy it either. Relax! This is an important moment to savour! If it reads like an instruction manual for flat-pack furniture start again… until it flows.

Keep it real

What’s keeping your hero and heroine apart? It has to be something that has to be worked at getting over, not a simple misunderstanding that could be resolved if only they would have that conversation. Internal conflicts not external ones are the best source for this. Has the heroine been burned in love before and can’t trust again? Is the hero absolutely married to his business because he’s had a taste of redundancy and can’t take his eye off the ball for a second? Real issues will help readers connect with your characters and your story.

Bedroom door open or closed?

This very much depends on what you feel comfortable writing and what type of romance book you’re aiming for. If you plan to write the next 50 Shades or Sylvia Day then you are going to need to keep that bedroom (Red Room) door wide open, but if you’re writing a more humorous chick lit novel then you might not need to go into details. We’re back to the flat-pack furniture instructions again. If you feel like you’re writing a point by point instruction guide to practicing baby-making, then take a breath and decide if a sex scene is what this book really needs. If you feel uncomfortable going there with your characters, then this has a chance of showing in your writing. There are lots of other ways to build the tension and the sexual chemistry without necessarily getting your hero and heroine skin on skin.