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  1. Douglas Rumbaugh
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    Douglas Rumbaugh Member

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    Writing Romance

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Douglas Rumbaugh, Feb 11, 2011.

    I'll be very 'ad rem' with this post. Basically I am nearing the point in Contact where I am about to introduce a female character who is to gradually become the love interest for my main character (Jonathan Taney). I want this 'romance' to happen, it could do both my plot and my character development a lot of good, and also perhaps make the story a bit more interesting...

    Here is the snag though, I am downright horrible at writing romances. I could use some advice on that front so I know what to do with it and how much I should let it seep into the plot. I don't want to let it 'overpower' the story's message, but at the same time I want its effects to be noticeable and influence the decisions of my characters.

    In addition to advice on striking up a balance, I could use information on how to actually go about writing it, thoughts, dialog all that stuff. I don't want to come off as incredibly corny, which I fear I will do. That and I don't have any real life experience on that front to draw from, so I'm truly ignorant.

    Should I go out of my way and pick up some books that have well integrated romances in them? If so, do you have any suggestions?


    That's a lot of questions to drop at once, sorry about that. But I hope that drawing on the experience of everyone here can help me get over this hurdle. If all else fails I could always drop the idea, but that really isn't something I am keen on doing if I can avoid it.

    Vale,
    Douglas
     
  2. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    Make sure both of your characters are independent, intelligent and self-relient even though they are in love; I hate seeing characteres who lose their capability for independent thought and turn into unassertive wimps simply because they're in love.

    Make sure dialogue is realistic. Think about whether your friends, coworkers etc really talk the way your characters do.

    Avoid purple-prose descriptions and cliched phrases.
     
  3. VM80
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    VM80 Contributing Member Contributor

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    What genre are you writing?
     
  4. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    My advice is to make both characters attractive to you, make sure they are attracted to each other, then let them show you what they want to do.

    Remember with the scenes you have five senses, what can you smell on the hot breath of the soft lips, whilst you listen to the wind rustle in the trees etc Also this is one occasion where showing is much better than telling, work out what they can do and how they can stand etc
     
  5. ador
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    ador New Member

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    Quick, smart wit verbal spars usually lends to an exciting flavour to the to-be couple. I would recommend getting Susan Elizabeth Phillips's "Natural Born Charmer" as example. You will not regret it. SEP is the only writer I know who can get away with anything. Corny and cheesy included! But that's due to humour. Her writings are smart and funny. And charming.

    One other thing about romance, the characters involved should be in each other's presence a lot so readers can follow their chemistry better.
     
  6. Douglas Rumbaugh
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    Douglas Rumbaugh Member

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    Thank you all for the advice.

    Oh, and I am writing a Science Fiction to answer VM80's question.
     
  7. Manav
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    Manav Contributing Member

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    Yes, you should, but avoid romantic novels where a tall, dark and handsome guy falls in love with a blond girl. I think you should watch some good sci-fi movies. What you are saying happens all the time in those movies. The chars may have a romantic history (twister) or none, romance revives or happens as they go through an ordeal together. They fall in love not because they are attractive people, the emphasis should be that they fall in love because each find out the inner qualities of the other through their actions in those difficult situations they faced. Of course, doing that also means achieving your aim of romance not 'overpowering' the sci-fi plot.
     
  8. KurtistheTurtle
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    KurtistheTurtle Member

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    An alternate way to doing this is to have the main protagonist seem completely uninterested and bored with the love interest -- preferring to spend time with her friends and/or family -- when they're secretly writing love letters and placing them to be found. It adds a different layer for the characters to interact and explore each other, plenty of opportunity for suspenseful moments and a possible resolution filled with passion.

    Or that's how it plays out in my head :p
     
  9. Warrior Poet
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    Warrior Poet Member

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    I guess you've asked the right question here. I'm infamous for epic fantasy romances. I've been fascinated by love since I was like eight, but funny thing is I'm not girl crazy. I can count the number of girlfriends I've had on less than one hand. I mean genuine love here.

    Of course, they should be attracted to each other physically. But before you write a romance, make sure that you know what love is, and that you truly understand it enough to write about it. Of course your perspective will always be changing, but if you don't have a truth about love that you're going to share with us readers it'll degrade into either erotic or meaningless cliche.

    What's love? Answer it before you get started. I can't see your age on your profile, but it looks like Carl Sagan is your favorite author. That means your perspective on love is probably going to be far different than mine! Disagreeing with me is fine, obviously. But follow the worldview you're pouring into the story to its logical conclusion. What does it mean for love, and does that match reality?

    It's ok to not be great at romance. Everyone starts somewhere! But are you adding the love story just to have it, or to really be an important part of the story? There have been plenty of good sci fis with no romance at all.

    One example of a really good SF writer who also seems to know all about warm breath but is clueless about love - Jeffrey A. Carver. Entertaining stuff, but I skip over "streamy" scenes. I really can't stand them!

    As for the actual writing part, use all the writing techniques you know. Try and use some poetic techniques too. Some alliteration and cleverly placed iambic meter can go a really long way.
     
  10. w176
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    w176 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Read romances. Watch romances. And talk about romances with people in real life.

    Another thing you can do is brake down romance into smaller sub themes:
    • Sexual attraction
    • Vulnerably
    • Intimacy
    • Nervousness
    • Attraction/rejection
    • Flirting
    • Fights
    • Friendship
    • Sense of coming closer
    • Doubts
    • Etc....

    Allowing you to work on smaller aspects of the whole thing. Each by itself easier to pull of then the whole thing.
     

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