I’m a sucker for a good love story. Whether it’s in a book, film, or TV show, I just can’t seem to help myself. I’ve encountered a lot of fictional romances over the years, some that made me swoon and others that made me roll my eyes (or resist the urge to gag). But lately, I’ve become more aware of just what it takes to write a romance that makes readers swoon.
You see, romance is so much more than candlelight dinners or passionate kisses. It’s more than reciting poetry or making love. In order to write a romance that really gets readers in the heart, you must develop a relationship between your characters that is authentic, deep, and raw. You must go beyond physical attraction and cute romantic gestures. You must reflect upon what it truly takes to love someone, such as trust, devotion, sacrifice, and putting another before yourself.
I’ve spent time analyzing several of my favorite love stories to try to figure out what it was about them that made my heart flutter. I’ve made a list of my observations, which I’ll be sharing with you in two parts. Keep reading for Part I, and check back next week for Part II!
Ways to Write a Romance That Makes Readers Swoon
1. Cute & Memorable First Meeting–Everyone loves a good “How did you guys meet?” story!
2. Rocky Beginnings–Consider having your love interests start out as enemies, disliking each other, or not trusting each other. This allows for more growth in the characters and creates more tension.
3. Similar Backgrounds/Common Interests–Give your love interests some common ground so they can bond and develop an understanding of each other. Maybe they both grew up in foster care, or enjoy the same hobby.
4. Complimentary Personalities–How might your love interests’ strengths and weaknesses balance each other out? Maybe one has a temper while the other is patient. Or, maybe one is a martial arts master while the other is a clever intellectual.
5. Taking Care of Each Other–Give your love interests opportunities to see to each others’ needs, or to put the others’ needs before their own.
6. Protective of Each Other–Give your love interests opportunities to defend each other against danger, or to stand up for each other in a social situation.
7. Respectful of Physical Boundaries–Don’t let one love interest pressure or coerce the other into moving further physically in the relationship than what they’re comfortable with. Show that if one isn’t ready to move further, the other is respectful of their decision and willing to wait.
8. Learning Quirks and Habits–Everyone has them, though you don’t often realize it until you begin to spend more time together. What might your love interests find endearing or annoying about each other?
9. Learning Likes and Dislikes–When you get to know a person, you become familiar with their tastes. If one of your love interests decided to surprise the other with coffee, would they know what to order for them? Or if they went on a trip and bought a gift, would they know what to pick?
10. Thoughtful Surprises–Have one love interest surprise the other with something they said they enjoy or said they had been wanting. It not only shows that the love interest listens to and remembers what the other says, but that they are always thinking of them.
11. Learning to Trust–Can your love interests trust each other to keep a secret? To be honest? To be faithful? To not abandon each other? To not play games with or break each others heart? You must first trust someone before you can become vulnerable with them.
12. Being Vulnerable with Each Other–Revealing secrets, emotional scars, pain or tears, insecurities, fears, flaws, mistakes, embarrassing moments–the things we would normally prefer to keep hidden–these all require vulnerability. Sharing them strengthens the bond between the love interests. A first kiss or confession of love are also acts of vulnerability because there is a chance the feelings might not be reciprocated.
13. Rescuing Each Other–Whether it’s the guy saving the girl or vice-versa, everyone needs help sometimes, and when you love someone you don’t abandon them. Though modern trends might say otherwise, I think it’s fine to have a guy rescue a girl. I don’t think think it shows the girl is weak, but rather, it shows the guys cares enough to risk himself for her.
14. Learning to Depend on One Another–This is especially challenging for stubborn, independent, or proud characters, but as a couple your love interests need to learn how to accept each others’ help and work together as a team. They might have to learn that it’s okay for someone else to do something for them, even if they’re capable of doing it themselves–and acts such as these might even be how a character expresses their love.
15. Comforting Each Other–When one love interest is upset, the other should be there to console them and help them through the situation. Someone who truly cares will share the pain of the person they love, and will hurt because they hurt.
That’s all for Part I, stay tuned for Part II coming next week!
What is it in a fictional relationship that makes you swoon? Tell me in the comments below!