A Few Ways to Make the Romance Better

My mind has been on romance lately. Partly because that one holiday is coming up, and party just because. There are millions of songs and books and movies on this, and my recent challenge has been to come up with a love story that's somehow unique. After all, no one wants to invest themselves in these characters if I don't even care about how they end up, right? If they're bored, so is everyone else. So I've come up with some simple methods to keep in mind while I'm writing. Ready?

1. Give them an obstacle, something that keeps them from being together.

We all can't resist those star-crossed lovers. I think pining for someone is part of the process. It builds the anticipation, the need, the want. It gives us those scenes where the characters teeter on the edge, drawn to each other despite everything that's telling them it's impossible. Some good examples of this? Jace and Clary from The Mortal Instruments series. Rose and Dimitri in the Vampire Academy series. Tris and Four in the Divergent series. And do I really need to mention Edward and Bella from that one book none of us have heard of? Obstacles equal pain, longing, determination or devastation, and a hunger for more. 

2. Give them flaws.

I know I say this in all my writing posts. Flaws, flaws, flaws. Honestly, I think it's a character's most important aspect. You've probably come across the perfect cheerleader in a story, or the perfect student, or the perfect athlete. White smiles and perfect bodies and bland personalities. In other words, boring. This applies to romances, too. Couples - especially young couples - fight. They struggle. They make bad choices. No one has a case of instant, perfect love. Those flaws are what make things real. 

3. Make those steamy scenes... steamy.

99.9% of the people reading your book aren't going to get hot and bothered by, say, He lowered his face, coming closer and closer. She held her breath in anticipation. His smell was intoxicating. Then... he gave her a peck on the cheek. Whew, someone turn on the air conditioning. I almost couldn't handle that, it was so intense. Uh, no. Come on. Give these poor lovesick people a wall to slam into, make the rain come down, give us a glimpse of unrestrained passion. I may be going a little overboard with this, and for that I apologize. It's late and I've had quite a bit of coffee.

Good luck with your literary romances!