Sometimes we writers want to add a little something to our writing. Sometimes that added something is fight scenes which I have talked about in my article “How To Add Fighting into Your Writing.” Another element you can add into your stories is the element of romance between two of the characters. One of the difficulties with adding romance into a stories is sometimes the wording doesn’t sound right, or the romance quickly turns into a sex scene. Taking lessons from the early writers, romance doesn’t have to include sexual elements, it can lead to that aspect if you want it to, but romance is so much more.
In of the best ways of learning to add in romance is to read some romance novels and stories. That is actually what I did. There are plenty of romance short stories, poetry and novellas at writing.com, where you can sign up for free. Read some of the stuff there, and you can even ask for help with the writing. I have done that and I have to admit reading what other people have written helped me develop the romance into my stories. When we read what others have written we can see how they word things to make it sound right or to keep it romantic instead of smutty. Talking with other authors can help you learn how they got past the difficulties, and some would offer to read your work to help give you better advice. You can also read some of the classic novels to see how early authors wrote about romance.
When you sit down to write, make an outline of what you consider to be romantic. For example I think standing in the rain or snow in the moonlight is highly romantic, but adding in a character saying I love you adds even more romance. You take what you see as romantic and describe every element of it. Sights, feelings, sounds, whatever you think would add to the romantic atmosphere add it in, and then read through it to see if that is what you had in mind of something romantic to you. You could also ask people around you what they see as romance so you have different ideas to incorporate. Here are a few examples of creating the atmosphere with one romantic idea:
By the time they finished their meal, it was midnight. The moon was full that night in early December. Nathan walked Jenn to her car and held her close. It seemed as if the moonlight was shining down on just the two of them. The sounds of the cars on the highway disappeared as they looked into each other’s eyes. As the snow began to fall Nathan kissed her softly and whispered “I love you” for the first time.
Joel led Cassie along the beach by the hand. She asked where they were going but he told her it was a surprise. She could hear the waves of the ocean crashing against the shore and going out again and she could only smile in anticipation. Joel finally stopped and took her blindfold off. Cassie cried in surprise as she looked at the picnic laid out before them. The moon cast a beautiful glow onto the ocean making it sparkle like her eyes. Joel turned on a small radio which started to play Etta James’ “At Last” and asked her to dance with him.
You can start with something small like that and turn it into a bigger scene. That scene in the snow is from one of my stories is actually something I experience I had. So you can take real life experiences and include them into your stories, most authors add in a little personal elements into their stories like that. Sometimes when you add in personal experiences into your stories it gives it a different quality. When you do that with romance you can make it turn out the way you wanted it to or keep things the way they happened. Come on ladies how many of us would change the outcome of something that would have been totally romantic?
Another you can do is add in different elements of intimacy. Intimacy doesn’t necessarily mean sex. There are can intimate elements of the characters opening up to each other or sharing in a special moment. It could be a small scene or a bigger one. There are different levels of intimacy: sexual, emotional, mental/intellectual and spiritual. You can try to add in some of those elements into the story. You can have one character share a secret that no one knows, like opening up and expressing a deep sadness in their life. That brings the two characters together, adds in a small level of intimacy/romance and makes the readers feel for the character. You can even describe what a character wants from the relationship, almost like the woman wanting to be a better woman for her man or something along those lines. Romance in a story doesn’t have to be this big display, it can be something small and barely there. Romance isn’t always a big display of affection. It’s about expression of love and one’s feelings and you can do that within a story.
You can display the characters feelings for each other in different ways. You can have them remember something, or simply express their love to each other. You can your character leave a little note or something for the other find. You can describe how one character feels for the other, no matter what they are, adding in love like feelings can easily add romance to a storyline. In the novel “Jane Eyre” Charlotte Bronte created the genre of romance and nothing in it was sexual it was all about the relationship between Jane and Mr. Rochester. She talked about their feelings and how they interacted with each other. That is something you can do in your own stories. Here are some other examples:
Rosalyn stood in the doorway watching TJ work out. She was mesmerized in watching his movements. She thought of the first time they met. His smile just brightened her day even before they first talked. His eyes opened a new world for her. Whenever he walked past she couldn’t help but watch him walk away and hope he would talk to her. Then that day came when he said hi to her and made her feel like the only girl in the room. When he first kissed her, her knees melted. Now here they are living together and getting married in a few short months.
I know that doesn’t seem like much, but it has it’s own subtle romance, and subtly can be a good thing in a story that you are going to develop farther and take to a different level. If you want to take it to a sexual level, the romance in the story can focus on their feelings and what brings them to that point. Sometimes when we display the feelings of the characters it enables the readers to relate to them easier. Readers could relate to the feelings and understand why the story progresses to another level. I like adding in some flashbacks like in the example I just gave because it brings back a memory that the reader may not get and adds to the romantic feeling of the story.
Adding romance to a story can be hard for some people. I admit when I first started writing it, it was hard and seemed forced. After you write a few stories and keep trying to add romance it will get better. Talking to other authors about their experiences helps as does writing down what you think is romantic. Adding in your own thoughts and feelings add a different quality to the story. Readers can tell when an author adds in a part of themselves, and sometimes that’s a good thing. One of the best ways to improve writing is to keep trying different things and keep practicing and researching thing. One of the main points to writing is also reading.