Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Love Week-- Day 2-- Is it real?

One of the biggest things I struggle with writing romance/ love in my stories is reality. How do you make love believable?

Certainly, it's not the circumstances. I've read books/ seen movies where the young/hot/gold-digging girl falls for the older/clumsy/poor guy, and believed it. Usually, theirs is a somewhat farcical relationship. But I still believe it, within the context of the work.

It's not the actions. Again, I've seen examples where two people couldn't be more in love, but we never see them kiss, or perhaps even touch until much later in the story.

It's not the dialogue. People never say what they mean when it comes to love, at least not until they know it's safe.

So, how do you make love real for your readers? I can't say I'm an expert. Usually, I cringe away from writing romantically-tense scenes because they always seem forced to me. My characters don't love like I do. So I try to keep that to a minimum and instead focus on other things.

Like what they don't do. What they don't say. What circumstances they don't have. Somebody's fingers clench into fists at their sides because they want to reach out and brush the other's hand, or cheek. Someone starts to say those sweet little words and changes mid-stream to "I. . . want a cupcake." Someone comes home late from work to avoid seeing the other because they can't stand the tension between them.

There are whole scenes that don't happen between my characters that I've written in my head. Whole other possibilities that no one else will ever see; infinite places the story could go if only they'd let go of their inhibitions and love each other. But if they did before they were ready, it would be a completely different story.

I'd like to think I've managed to make the love of my characters more real by doing this, but I guess time will tell.

How do you make the love in your story seem real?


  1. I think a perfect example of this was Jim and Pam on The Office. The first few seasons, we KNEW they had feelings for each other, but it was in their looks, their body language, little hints about how they truly felt.

  2. Definitely something I've shied away from, but there's gonna be some romancey stuff in my WiP, so I better figure out how to make it real (or at least fun).

  3. My romantic storylines tend to be patterned on either other romantic scenarios I've witnessed or romantic scenarios I've been part of.

    A now-cut scene in Callarion at Night mimics a similar conversation my wife and I had at one point, for example. I find myself going back to that interaction quite a bit, in fact.

  4. I agree. Romance scenes are hard --and I usually try to make it feel . . . deeper I guess . . . by what they don't do. Maybe because when the characters are already sitting around telling each other how much they love each other the readers don't have any chance to observe it themselves and can't believe it is much. I also try to illustrate that each character is very aware of the other's presence.
    but then I haven't test drived an entire romance thread on readers yet. Only bits and pieces. I don't know how well my techniques actually work.