Thursday, February 11, 2016

How to Write Really Terrible Romance

Happy early Valentine's Day! I personally love Valentine's Day. Not because I'm with anyone (single as a pringle, ya'll. While we're on this subject, why the heck is "single as a pringle" a saying? Pringles are not single. They're all stacked together in a tube that's too small for a hand to fit inside. It makes no sense.) Anyway, I love Valentine's Day simply because everything is pink and red, I can experiment with my makeup and use multiple shades of pink (including my hot pink matte lipstick. Yaaas.) and because I can wear a lot of hearts (and I rock hearts.) ..And because I'm going to Mongolian Barbecue with friends and we get free cheesecake with our reservation. But that's not the point.
My point is that Valentine's Day is on Sunday, which makes today the perfect day to talk about a very important element in literature: romance!
I could spend all day telling you how to write good romance. There are tons of different approaches to take; some of which I'm still learning. So, I'm going to utilize this post to tell you how not to write romance. I'm going to tell you how to write terrible romance!
Please don't take my advice ;)



1. The gushier, the better. There's nothing better than couples in romance who make their affection for each other extremely obvious. Be sure to describe their billions of kissing scenes in tons of detail. Your audience would love to know exactly how it feels when someone's tongue slides into your protagonist's mouth, so be sure to provide lots of detail and vivid description. Also, make your couples describe their love for each other in paragraphs using lots of metaphors and analogies all throughout the book. That's a surefire way to make your book a hit.
2. OR, make their love non-existent! If you don't like gushy, don't worry! Your readers will also love it if you claim two characters love each other, and then make them have no romantic interactions between them! There's nothing better than couples who don't kiss, hold hands, or show affections. The colder, the better!
3. Everyone loves cliche characters. Hey, overused just means it's a trend and you should jump on that, right? Right! You could use the classic Damsel in Distress meets Prince Charming, or maybe Shy Nerd Girl and Popular Boy, or even Little Miss Nobody and Football Star separated by the status quo and Football Star's girlfriend, Hot Model Cheerleader! So many options!
4. Pointless love triangles are the best! Need a little extra drama but don't know what to do? Toss in a love triangle! Even better--toss in a cliche love triangle! You could do Broken Heroine in love with both Loser Boy and Mr. Dreamy, the Guy Best Friends both in love with their Best Girl Friend, or even take it up a notch and do Unpopular Girl in love with Popular Boy but secretly loved by Nerd Boy!
5. Have your characters describe each other's looks in detail. All. the. time. After all, detail and description are good, right? So use a lot of it! Have your character note the color of her boyfriend's eyes in every single chapter. Make her notice the "sexy stubble" on his chin or the texture of his hair as often as possible. Repetition is good--it means your audience will never forget what your characters look like!
6. Kill half of the couple at the end of the series. The audience will never see it coming! Spend your whole first few books building an incredible story with a great plot and realistic characters. Make your main couple's relationship bloom and grow and strengthen over the course of the stories. Make their love so amazing that your readers give them ship names and draw fan art of their future children and then BOOM--kill one half of the couple in the last book! Make the goodbye between the two lovers be really sad and heartbreaking to the point that your readers will sob into pillows. Or, better yet, don't give them a chance to say goodbye! Kill one of your characters and let his/her girlfriend/boyfriend find out later when there's absolutely no chance for closure or goodbyes! Your audience will LOVE you and consider you a writing GENIUS!

Unfortunately, I've seen all of these points in books before. Sometimes even in my own writing! (I describe my protag's boyfriend's eyes way too much. I didn't realize how often I did it until my beta reader pointed it out to me!) Don't get me wrong though--these points aren't always necessarily bad. Sometimes, you can take what I've mentioned here and actually make something good come out of it. Love triangles aren't always annoying or bad, and sometimes you can actually get away with killing half of a couple (if it's justified and not a pointless death shoved in the book to get a reaction. That's a no-no.)
But for the most part, all the stuff I talked about above are key elements for a terrible romance! Don't overdo it. If you want to write good romance, keep it subtle and sweet, and make it feel real. You'll have readers creating ship names for your characters before you know it.

"Let all that you do be done in love." - 1 Corinthians 16:14

6 comments:

  1. Gotta say, pointless love triangles are totally my favorite! (haha just kidding.) Hope you enjoy your Mongolian Barbecue.

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  2. Honestly, I could probably spend all day with a guy and not notice what color his eyes are. My sister hates me.

    "So I met a cute guy today."
    "Really?? What did he look like?"
    "He was, um...um...cute, I guess?"

    :)

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  3. Hahaha, I love your post! I was laughing the whole time. But seriously, all of those points are the exact reason that I've always hated romance in books. It never seems to be done right! I've been reading your blog awhile, and love it! I just finally decided to comment. :)
    ~JT

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  4. Amen to this post.

    Also, remember to always make the couple straight, and preferably both of them white!

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  5. The way the female half of the party is always noticing how muscled the male half is, how much she wants to run her hand through his hair, etc., etc., etc... it is stupid.

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  6. An unpopular opinion of mine is that people should write a lot less romance (don't hate me people). How come the girl says she doesn't want a boyfriend but gets one at the middle or end of the book? Why can't she stay single throughout the entire novel?

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