Discussion: Romance in Stories


#1

Hi There Episode Community,

I wanted to know peoples thoughts on Romance in stories.

For me, if I was so inclined to read a romance story, I’d most likely peruse the romance section of the app. I can see thought that other genres can be mixed with romance. However, I would never “expect” it to have romance, or expect it to be the main plot line of the story. In fact, I may actually be a little disappointed if I was reading another genre and the main focus seemed to be romance. Although, so long as the other aspect of the genre was being fulfilled, I could get on board with it. I also get that drama can be primarily romance driven.

My question is though, can a story be enjoyed if it has little to no romance, when it’s not categorised as a romance story? I so often see (and have had it numerous times myself) fan mail asking if there is a love interest, asking if a character can be a love interest, asking why there is no love interest etc etc. If these questions were being asked in a story categorised as romance, I may understand. In other genres however, when an author has decided to write another plot line, it baffles me why sometimes people demand romance to be added.

I’m also curious on peoples thoughts towards a love interest in the story and how they look. Do you need to be able to customise the love interest within a story to enjoy it? Again, I can kinda see if the story is being played as a “you” character, you may find it more appealing to design them, although personally I couldn’t care less. But when you’re reading a story with romance, can you still find it enjoyable if the love interest is designed for you, by the author, especially when you’re reading about a character that is not being played as you.

All views are welcome here. I’m just very curious about peoples thoughts on this.

Much Love,
AM x


#2

Something that I feel like a lot of writers fails at, is making likeble love-interests. I don’t mind romance stories, but when every story on the shelf has the same predictive plots & characters. I really just ignore it.

But something that personally really annoys me is that the other shelfs are all just filled with other bad romance stories, which rarely actually have much of its purpose to do. Like really? When I go to comedy. I expect comedy. Not a romance, with only some few jokes. Like people goes to the shelf to find different stories, but no. Most of the stories on these shelfs, are all just stories where romance seems to be the main Plot


#3

My favorite genre is comedy, but I also like romcoms. Not the ones that are romance stories with some weak joke in every 6th chapter, but the ones where the main focus is comedy and there is some romance aspect as well. (Yeah, I barely find any stories like this, but still…)
I like customizing my love interests, but it doesn’t bother me if I can’t. I’m rather interested in the personality of the characters than the way they look…


#4

“Can a story be enjoyed if it has little to no romance, when it’s not categorized as a romance story?”
Why yes, of course! It goes without saying :smile:

I do understand the feeling of thinking two characters would have good romantic chemistry if the author just so happened to guide them towards each other. But it also baffles me why some people demand romance to be added to a story that was clearly not intended to be that way. In the end, it’s the author’s story to tell, not the reader’s. As long as it’s a good story and doesn’t cause any damage to anybody.

It might be easier to get immersed in the story and “fall for” the love interest if said love interest looks ideal to the reader, especially in a visual novel. But I know appearance isn’t everything and personally, if a love interest is interesting and really well-written, I’ll “fall in love” with it eventually, regardless of whether I got to customize it or not.
…Unless they look like a beaten zombie, because looks do matter to a certain extent.
Each reader has its balance between appearance and personality when choosing a love interest, in visual novels and in real life. So I feel giving everyone the choice to customize their love interest is the safest way to go for an author who wants to please their readers and get them to quickly engage in the fictional romance.

Regarding the Romance genre in general, I prefer it when the romance isn’t the main focus of the plot. I prefer genres like Adventure, Fantasy, and Thriller with some romance here and there. As long as it’s well-written, I’ll give it a go.


#5

This happens to me a lot, I dont like writing romance, but at the same time feel pressured to include romances :frowning:


#6

This is something that makes me sad. I suspect a lot of authors feel this way and feel the need to add romance. It’s one of the reasons I asked this question. Writing romance doesn’t come easy to me, but I love telling stories, yet it can be disheartening when you get so many questions asking for it. I guess it’s why there are so many romance stories, supply and demand 🤷
For me as a reader, I like new things and just want to be swept up in a great story, whatever the premise of it is.


#7

@FallenAngelNight13 @amepisode It is pretty discouraging :frowning: Something I tend to do in one of my stories where I have two characters that could technically be together if they “chose to” is make them have a discreet “will they, won’t they” dynamic (usually through witty banter) which I already decided will end in “they won’t”. It’s not romance, but it’s actually pretty fun to write and gives the illusion of a romance between the characters. Maybe that’s why readers don’t complain as much about my story not really containing romance compared to other non-romance stories. It can feel like a compromise, so it all depends on how much you let your readers control the outcome of your story.


#8

I think Episode readers want romance so much because this is what they originally came to Episode for. If you think of Episode’s target audience, how Episode attracts users and the stories that they choose to feature most, it isn’t surprising that so many readers want to see romance.
Also, I think people like to see a story which mirrors real life to a certain extent or whose main character seems realistic. If your main character is a teenager and your readers are teenagers, then they want to see that character having the romantic thoughts and development that lots of people do tend to have at that stage in their life.
Romance is the mainstream community of Episode in so many ways.
That said… a story should definitely be able to be enjoyed and valued without romance and I think it would be nice if more people recognised this. I like the little loophole that @AllyJay has found!


#9

Personally romance stories are my fave and I would say that a story can be enjoyed without romance but I feel like most of the stories I read we connect with romance so much that I wouldn’t feel as connected without it. :slight_smile:
But if you have a really good plot, I would say that you wouldn’t need it but I tend to stick to stories with love in it.


#10

Well @AllyJay @CordeliaM if readers want romance, then I’m not complaining as such. But I guess I feel that’s what the romance genre is for. If every story was a romance, then we wouldn’t need genres. However, it’s readers that read stories. I won’t change how I write and I’m not saying I’ll never put any romance in my stories (I have some). But was curious on if people thought it was needed to find a story enjoyable.


#11

Personally, romance is one of my least favourite genres to both write and read (although there are some stories which are exceptions), but I do like romance as a sub-genre. A story doesn’t need to have romance for me to enjoy it, but most of the stories that I’ve read do have some element of romance. It’s not something that I look for, though.

I do tend to add romance more for the readers. It’s not something I’m particularly good at writing, so a lot of the time I add it because I know most readers enjoy it (although I usually give a single option too). None of my stories(that show on my profile :smirk:) are romance focused. I could remove the romance and still have a story.

As for the love interest- if the MC is customisable, I like the love interest to be, too (it can be limited or partial, but I do like to be able to adjust certain features.) Maybe that makes me sound shallow lol, but I figure it’s the same as being attracted to certain people/looks in real life.


#12

I think romance is a great, but it’s really cliché most of the time on episode, which is a shame. I think if stories use romance to enhance the otherwise separate theme of the plot it brings a great dimension to their characters and their personalities. If it’s done right it could really make a story great.

Personally, I prefer thriller, adventure and horror, but like I said above, if done right some romance can sometimes really make the story even greater.

If it’s tactful and not overbearing, gonna love it! Otherwise I would say leave it out if it doesn’t serve any real purpose or structure to the main plot line.


#13

Ha ha. Nah it doesn’t make you sound shallow. We all get enjoyment in different ways and from different things :hugs:


#14

Personally, I do like romance stories, but that doesn’t mean a story without romance isn’t enjoyable.
I think they’re actually more interesting to be honest, because there’s so much other themes to explore when you take out the pressure of romance.

I can’t write romance if my life depended on it. I literally cringe at my own stories every time a romance scene comes up, and I’m sure that readers can feel my pain when they read my “romance” scenes. And I often wonder if I should just take it out all together.

I agree with you here. But I think that if there were more genres, stories wouldn’t feel so mis-categorized. I know a lot of people say to put your story in comedy, because it will get a higher rank there, but then that means you’ll be getting a whole heap of heavily romance stories under comedy. And drama is such a broad subject that almost anything can be classified as drama.

But the one thing from all of this that I can’t comprehend is why are people going to your fanmail to tell you what to add in your stories? Fanmail should be positive feedback and encouragement. If people were reading a book, they wouldn’t email the author and ask for another love interest. People complain all the time that authors are “rude” in their fanmail, but I think that sometimes what “fans” ask is pretty rude too so :roll_eyes:


#15

Hahaha I feel you. On one of my stories, someone left me a comment in fanmail saying that they felt the romance was very superficial. I replied “I completely agree” :joy:


#16

So you get complaints if you don’t put in romance, but also get complaints about the romance you do add?
You really are damned if you do and screwed if you don’t.


#17

Well to be fair, I’ve never not put romance in a story although for that story, I had people ask if another character could be a love interest, if there could be a female love interest as well and if there could also be options to remain single. I tried to cater to everyone for season 2 and that’s probably partly why the romance was lacking :rofl: (Well that and the fact that I’m really not good at writing romance.)
Lesson learned. Although as romance isn’t the focus of the story, I hope it’s still enjoyable, superficial romance and all :wink:


#18

Do people say “I third that”? Because I third that :smiley:
I would rather write a 100-page long PhD dissertation than 3 sentences about how I want to kiss someone’s lips.
I Iike adding some romance to my stories, but it’s usually something like: “I’m an idiot, you are an idiot, let’s be idiots together”.


#19

:joy::joy::joy:


#20

Interesting topic for discussion! My feeling is I like romance stories but a story doesn’t have to have romance for me to enjoy it. Many stories I like may be another genre but happens to have a romance in it but it is not the primary focus of the story. My story is like that.

I agree, if it is a story with CC, I’d like to CC my love interest but otherwise I don’t care. Although I admit sometimes if given a choice I may tinker with one or two features I really like in my male characters.