Writing Romantic Relationships That Will Have Your Readers Rooting For Them
Guest Post by KT Mehra.
KT Mehra knows a thing or two about writing from her own experience, not only as an author but as a supplier to writers and authors of fine stationary, in particular fountain pens. Not only that, she is digital savvy too.
Back in 1999, KT and her husband Sal started a small web company to create websites for local businesses and provide internet access. They both had a passion for fountain pens, and one day KT, in an excess of enthusiasm, ordered far too many from a pen company. Just for fun, she decided not to return any of them and instead asked her team to design an e-commerce website to sell the extra pens.
To everyone’s surprise and just like that, the website came together quickly and was an instant success.
KT believes that in the modern digitally saturated world, it’s more important than ever to stay true to your thoughts and create something tangible. In that spirit of creation, she feels that something as elemental as putting pen to paper is ever more essential.
Despite offering a digital tool for authors, we couldn’t agree more!
Develop a romantic relationship that your readers will engage with and root for.
Most of the romance novels you love so much use certain secrets to hook their readers in and keep them engaged.
Learning the secrets to create such compelling romance novels will help you perfect your characters’ love story.
The best way for your readers to relate and root for your relationship is for you to make it realistic and dynamic. To build the foundation of any great love story, you need to have a few things down first.
How your characters met
It is essential to write how your characters met in detail, and a good idea to show the events that led up to that meeting. For most genres and especially for romance, it is important to focus on authenticity and realism here. There should be a natural, organic reason your characters met and for the circumstances that brought them there in the first place. This does not necessarily apply to category romances in the Harlequin or Mills & Boon style.
What are their personalities and romantic interests?
It is so important to map out your characters personality and interests, not to mention their romantic interests and past. Character building is important in every genre, but, to me, it’s one of the defining factors for a gripping romance. Discover what makes your characters tick, and their past romantic relationships that may determine their feelings about love. Both characters in a romance should have an outer drive to push the plot forward and an inner layer or issue to give them depth. Think want and need.
What connects your characters?
What’s that one thing that they can both relate to? Once you know their personality, find something that they both share. Whether it’s an interest, a shared experience, a similar want or need, or anything at all. The definable quality that they share should be something that makes your lovers feel like they aren’t alone in the world. Including this will help your reader relate more and build a solid foundation for your romance novel.
The Three Cornerstones of Attraction
What physical features attracted your characters to each other? Is it their soulful eyes, body, or even a haircut? It can help to pick out a specific aspect of the body or face that a character can be attracted to in the other, be it the clavicles or the way they chew their food.
Different people are attracted to a variety of personalities. Your characters should feature this intuitive connection that ties into their chemistry with each other.
Develop characters that are fun and share similar traits that make their interaction effortless and exciting. Quite possibly the characters don’t recognise this shared connection until quite late in the game, the audience will be way ahead of them.
Also, consider the idea of opposites attracting. The cat and dog scenario can be very entertaining, with two potential lovers so at odds that they think they hate each other, while they are actually on the road to falling in love,
The need to connect with someone on a different level that is not just physical but also spiritual is as important in stories as in real life. A deeper reason for the mutual attraction than merely striking eyes or a shared interest goes to show that your characters’ relationship is based on something stronger than looks or fun and games. A credible emotional bond between your characters is a great way to build the relationship past an infatuation or fling into a stronger, more powerful romance.
How To Create Conflict and Tension To Grip Your Readers
Creating conflict in any story is important. It keeps the story alive and the readers engaged. It also depicts what happens in real life, making your romance novel a bit more realistic. Incorporating conflict and tension in a relationship can be done in two major ways.
Differences in Goals and Personality
Both characters in your romantic relationship could have different goals that they want to achieve. You can use these divergent goals to introduce the element of conflict. They may disagree on the goals themselves or just the methodology in which the goal will be achieved. The idea is that their goals conflict in some way to create tension or conflict. For instance, the goal of starting a family could be one person’s goal but the other might not be open to it. Another example would be one of the characters having the personal career goal that may require them to move away from the other. Creating characters with conflicting desires is a great way to grip your readers.
Find something that is keeping your characters from their happily ever after. There has to be a strong force that keeps them from simply getting together. Without this force, there is no story. This could manifest itself in a physical obstacle that stands in the way of the relationship, for example a parent, a social or economic barrier, or even war.
The obstacle could also be antagonistic. Some villainous power is at work, creating hindrances that keep the couple from recognising the truth about their love for each other, or simply keeping them apart. Antagonism is defined by the purposeful and deliberate desire to thwart the protagonist’s want. Usually this is personified in a baddy character, but conceivably the antagonism might be more abstract.
The other form of obstacle is within the characters themselves. Their inner flaws are blinding them to what is obvious to the audience – that these two belong together. Will the characters recognise their respective shortcomings or errors and see what they really need? Thus triumphing over their internal problems and learning to be a better person?
Create intense obstacles in your plot that leave your readers wishing for the couple to get together and rooting for them to overcome their problems.
Sharing personal experiences, long walks, and road trips can be a great way to introduce the aspect of intimacy between your characters. To give them a chance to get to know each other, you should find reasons that arise out of the plot to throw these two characters into a shared space (not necessarily a physical space, but a way they communicate). Consider writing some private dialogue between your characters to create more intensity in the relationship. These dialogues could include writing letters by hand with a pen or pencil, long walks on the beach, or deep conversations under the stars.
What to Avoid
One of the top things to avoid is having both your characters feel like they instantly fell in love without it making dramaturgical sense. You want to slowly build up to a loving relationship. Even if one of your characters becomes infatuated right off the bat, the other should not.
Avoid instant-love by developing your characters’ personalities and by focusing on characters with depth and dimension. Even though this does not apply if you are writing in certain genres such as category romances, where it isn’t meant to be realistic, it is always a good idea to avoid coming off as too cheesy or forced. Utilizing the tips in this article, you should be able to avoid a trite or hackneyed plot, and worst of all, bland characters as much as possible!
To write the perfect love story, you need authentic characters, genuine attraction, and oodles of conflict. Give your characters the right meeting circumstances and ensure they have real chemistry. Introduce some conflict or tension that keeps your readers on their toes, and you have a best-seller just waiting to happen.
For help with developing authentic characters, obstacles, and a great plot for your romance novel, check out Beemgee.
Header photo by Mayur Gala on Unsplash
Inset photo by panajiotis on Pixabay
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