1. Bronteluv
    Offline

    Bronteluv New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2016
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    1

    Romance How to write romance without sounding typical.

    Discussion in 'By the Genre' started by Bronteluv, Aug 7, 2016.

    Hello everyone. I'm having trouble making my short romance stories sound believable. They come across without spice. Any suggestions?:confused:
     
  2. jannert
    Online

    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2013
    Messages:
    7,781
    Likes Received:
    7,295
    Location:
    Scotland
    Hi there! Nice to have you on board the forum. There are several accomplished Romance writers here who will probably jump onto this thread, and will probably be quite a lot of help to you.

    I'm not a huge reader of Romance, but I've read some, and I certainly like love stories! (Even when they go wrong or end unhappily.) Finding a love partner for life is one of the things that motivates a lot of us, even some who claim to detest the idea. It's an area well worth exploring. It often encapsulates our hopes for what might come to us, our fears about screwing it up or missing out altogether, and the hopes and fears that can be overwhelming when we think about long-term happiness with a particular partner, flaws and all. Lots to go with here, isn't there?

    What do you think is unbelievable about your stories? Do you feel that your characters have been done before, many times? Or that the romance bubbles along too easily and predictably? Are you trying to fit your stories into specific genre requirements, or are you just trying to write love stories in a more realistic vein? I'm not sure what you mean about lacking spice. Can you expand on this a bit, so we have a better idea what you're trying to work out?
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2016
  3. Bronteluv
    Offline

    Bronteluv New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2016
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    1
    Hello. Thanks for responding so quickly. What I mean by spice is, that certain "grab" factor. That way of painting a clear realistic picture of the plot that would cause the reader to want to read beyond the first fifty pages. And...I think that's great that I've come to the right place for help.
     
    jannert likes this.
  4. jannert
    Online

    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2013
    Messages:
    7,781
    Likes Received:
    7,295
    Location:
    Scotland
    Are you deliberately writing within the genre, or within the requirements of a particular publishing house? That will restrict your approach to some extent. However, readers of genre Romance are usually looking for a certain formula to be fulfilled (such as a happy ending), so repeating a type of story might be a good thing rather than a bad thing. Are you trying to get more spice into your story itself, or find a way to get more spice into the promotion of your story?

    By spice, do you mean some sort of unique twist—either to characters or the plot itself? One that's obvious from the start? Of course the quickest way to achieve that is to turn some aspect of your story completely on its head, and see what happens. Your handsome romantic man? He's not actually handsome at all. In fact, he's not very physically attractive. Your female is shy and not sure of herself? Nope. She's bold as brass and always makes the first move. And the second. The two meet on a romantic cruise, but they are both single? Nope. They are both single, but they meet on a cruise that goes badly wrong. The ship is laid up in a miserable port due to all sorts of trouble, while they wait for 'rescue.' Everything is ruined...? Play around with taking one aspect of the story that you feel is predictible and turn it on its head. And see what happens.

    I'm also wondering what you mean by 'short' Romances. I guess I thought you meant short stories, but now you've mentioned the first 50 pages, I think I may have got that wrong. What's the length you are shooting for?
     
  5. cutecat22
    Offline

    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2014
    Messages:
    2,431
    Likes Received:
    1,060
    Location:
    England
    Or you could look at it from a different angle.

    Do you read a lot, and if you do, have you ever found that perfect story, the one that you would happily read over and over? If not, then why don't you be the one to write it?

    Writing for other people is great, but writing for yourself is even better.

    What grabs a reader? Something that makes them ask question. Humans are nosey parkers, give them something to think about. Why can't your characters be together? What's wrong with them? What do they fear? What's holding them back? And what are they going to do about it?

    An author friend of mine wrote a book about a relationship between a Jewish woman and an Egyptian Muslim man which was all about shouldn't/can't but are going to.

    Good Luck! x
     
    Cave Troll likes this.
  6. BayView
    Offline

    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2014
    Messages:
    5,593
    Likes Received:
    5,078
    I think the two basic understandings you need to have in a romance are A) a really strong, compelling reason why these characters should be together and B) - a really strong, compelling reason why they can't be. This sets up the central conflict in the story.

    A) should, in my opinion and reading taste, be more than love and certainly more than lust. The most compelling romances, for me, are those in which the characters are complimentary in essential ways. She gives him strength, he gives her compassion. Neither of them has been able to move beyond a past tragedy in order to love again, but their shared understanding of pain allows them both to move on. Whatever. We should want them to be together not just because they love each other, but because they need each other (and no one else would do).

    B) is always nice when it ties in with A), but it doesn't necessarily have to. The primary conflict in romance can be internal (like the "move beyond a past tragedy" example above) or external (like @cutecat22 's example of Jew and Muslim). And the problem can sometimes be solved (like if characters were held apart by warring families but the characters' love caused the families to reconcile before anybody stupidly killed him or herself with a knife or poison!)) but sometimes won't be solved but simply given less importance because the A) elements are so strong (the happy couple isn't likely to solve the Arab-Israeli conflict, but they can find a way to live together once they let go of it themselves).

    And A) and B) need to be properly balanced, A) just a little bit stronger than B). If A is too strong, there's no real conflict - a couple that's perfect in every way but they happen to live in different towns? Move. Problem solved. We don't need a book for that. If B) is too strong it can be impossible to come up with a happy ending that readers will be able to believe in - like the recent kerfuffle about the Nazi concentration camp officer and the Jewish prisoner.

    There are lots of options, obviously, but for me, at least, it helps to look at romances with this basic structure in mind. If your story lacks spice, I'd examine your use of these two elements to see if they're working for you.
     
    jannert, Laurin Kelly and cutecat22 like this.
  7. cutecat22
    Offline

    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2014
    Messages:
    2,431
    Likes Received:
    1,060
    Location:
    England
    ^^

    Exactly what @BayView said.

    The only way you can get away having a couple who are perfect but with just one problem, ( the "they live apart, move, problem solved ..." scenario) is by having enough conflict outside their own little bubble for them to contend with. This could come in any shape or form, and not necessarily from family. They could both be spies sent to assassinate each other (already been done a-la Mr and Mrs Smith).

    @BayView I love how you explain things - I go all around the houses and still don't manage to fully explain what I'm rambling on about! :)
     
    BayView likes this.
  8. Laurin Kelly
    Offline

    Laurin Kelly Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2016
    Messages:
    222
    Likes Received:
    218
    As usual, @BayView has said everything I would have except 100 times more succinctly.
     
    BayView likes this.
  9. theamorset
    Offline

    theamorset Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2016
    Messages:
    221
    Likes Received:
    68
    Location:
    midwest
    I usually just add a barfing dog.
     
  10. Bronteluv
    Offline

    Bronteluv New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2016
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    1
    Wow!...I'm greatful for all the input. It's a little intimidating. Just so there's no confusion, I dont claim to be a professional @ writing; mearly a beginner. So, this is great that I can receive a vast amount of input. I consider my art in a very raw state. I would love to give an example of it. I just have to figure out how to get it from my desktop to my phone. Once again, thanks.
     

Share This Page