I’m back with another How to in my How to write series.
So I’ve been thinking and I’ve been reading a lot of Romance Episodes lately. Sadly to my knowledge, they have all been a bit lackluster in the romance department. I’m a sucker for anything with romance in it even if it might be non-existent.
The problem with a lot of romances in Episode is that their character are only stand in’s for Mary Sues and John Does. Let’s not make M.c a “pathetic romance novel heroine" let actually make a real human being with Flaws and feelings! The same thing goes for John Doe. He also need to have FLAWS!
Mary Sue seems to be a blank map of a character so that the reader can easily project themselves into her position in the story and live through her experiences and have their own story with John Doe.
When I read any work of any Author on the App big or small, I read it for the characters. If the characters are interesting, I don’t care about how boring the plot might be. For me, it’s not about the dramatic action that happens in the story, but more about how the characters are changed by whatever happens, no matter how much the plot is action packed or not action-packed.
But I’m ranting too much so let get on with the reason I am making this post.
I have said this million’s of times to millions of people your character are nothing if they are not believable.
Romance is all about chemistry, that is, it’s about the reaction. A good romance story is like a good comedy, the entire thing is about the build-up to a punchline except that the punchline is a kiss. The key to a good joke is timing and it’s also the key to a good romance. You build the set-up to the payout and then time the emotional climax so it hits in a way that is unexpected and relieves the tension. Sometimes you surprise people. Sometimes they can see it coming. The trick is figuring out how much you can ratchet up the anticipation without fatiguing the audience.
For all those that believe this statement: Romance is about the conflict - the forces or events that hinder the couple from being together and living happily ever after.
This is not true in the slightest!
You don’t need conflict or something hindering people from getting together to have a good romance.
A good romance is about showing how two characters work together and work well. They can do this in the midst of a conflict against something, and the story of how they got to that point can be a good one and part of that, but the romance does not end with them being together, it doesn’t stop with ‘and then they were together,’ and the best stuff can definitely be after that point
People don’t always spend forever to get into each other. Sometimes they get together fast, then work the kinks out. Sometimes they circle each other and by the time they’re formally together, it’s already a great merging. Whatever the case, the romance doesn’t end when they get together, and the key point is the chemistry of what they’re like when they are together. The anticipation stuff? That’s what you put in where you get brief moments of ‘what they’re like together’ while they still aren’t together yet and don’t sync up like that too regularly, which can be quite fun, but don’t confuse it for the important part.
The important part is having two characters whose personalities, together, make a great whole.
If you’re just starting out, your best bet is to start with what you know and work from there. Your story will have a much more stable foundation if it’s rooted in reality, but a good foundation isn’t much without walls and windows and doors and roofing. It is, however, absolutely critical if you don’t want it to all fall over, regardless of how you pretty it up.
You can either build your base on a relative handful of real-world knowledge or a lot of theoretical research and investigation. Both are valid, but if trawling Wikipedia for hours is not your thing then a great way to get a good story started is to think about a powerful or significant experience in your life and use the memory of that, the emotion, the details, to make your foundation.
Food For Thought:
Jessica Khoury: “It’s important to keep your romantic scenes real by throwing in a little awkwardness, a few innocent mistakes–especially between teen characters. The awkwardness of a first kiss can be sweet and special and will heighten the believability of the scene. It reveals a vulnerability in characters that’s endearing and relatable.”