Romance novels. They bring a smile on my face. Yes, it’s my favourite genre, but even though I am an avid reader, I can’t read any random romance. Even your favourite genre cannot guarantee entertainment, sometimes.
A reader’s perspective is closely related to a writer’s writing. They go hand in hand. As I was writing my first novel, We Will Meet Again – a love story, I tried to think as a reader, and tried my best to avoid things that I may not like as a reader. I think it worked!
If you are a first-time writer, and writing romance, there are chances that editors and even readers don’t take your work seriously. It’s not to discourage you, but to make you familiar with the fact. I have seen readers dismissing this genre right away. Maybe, they are prejudice against few things (in romance) that don’t go well with their tastes.
What could be those things? Here are some things to avoid when writing romance.
1. Avoid mushy romance
Overly sentimental expressions of love and excessive shedding of tears…this doesn’t work. Life is not just about love and love all the time! Readers seek realistic elements in books.
Sometimes, mushiness comes with insta love concept and flowery language.So, if you are writing romance for the first time, I would suggest you to be realistic. Avoid flowery language. Do not create over-dramatic situations. It’s a love story, not a fairy tale.
2. When sketching characters
Characters are the backbone of a story, so they have to be strong. They must get into trouble like any normal people, and solve their problems. People in love can be independent and decisive. People in love can have some faults. They can act stupid at times. Nobody likes whimpering or ‘too good to be true’ characters. Let your characters act the way normal people act in real lives. Bringing variety in characters helps you to make your story more interesting.
3. Clichés & Cliffhangers
Unpredictable stories are fun to read. But, creating an unpredictable romance is a little difficult (Until it’s a romantic thriller/mystery). Romances are often clichéd. But, you are a writer. Your imagination should be your strength. You may not break the clichés completely, but try using some real life situations to make your writing more authentic and less clichéd.
Also, end your chapters wisely. There are no mysteries to be unveiled, but there should be some cliffhangers that should keep your readers going. Keep the tension intact.
Never ever copy from movies!
4. Forced sex sequences
So, it’s romance; love scenes are unavoidable. But, writing intimate scenes is an art. It falls flat if not handled well.
There are certain stories that demand intimate scenes. If you don’t include some love scenes in such stories, they’d look banal or maybe unrealistic. But, since you are writing romance, it doesn’t necessarily mean you must insert sex sequences. Sadly, many bestselling authors consider it mandatory or find it cool to write sex scenes. Remember, clean and sweet romances work. You don’t have to force such scenes if your story can do without them. It’s not a race.
Keep these things in mind, and of course find your own factors that may/may not work in romance. Share your views.
Author of 'We Will Meet Again'. Freelance writer and editor. Tarang's works have been published in Good Housekeeping India, Child India, Woman's Era, Alive and in a best-selling anthology "Uff Ye Emotions 2". She is a voracious reader, book-reviewer, and an active blogger who blogs at Tarang.
You can buy her debut novel at attractive discounts HERE