How to write a romance when that's your worst genre

I’m currently writing a romance novel - along side my main work of course - but romance is my weakest point. Ironically enough because I’m somewhat a hopeless romantic in real life. Nonetheless, I want to make it as realistic as possible, any tips/tricks?

Romance is of course all about emotions and feelings, so I think it helps to channel real life feelings to make it realistic. If you’ve been in love, use that as inspiration. If you’ve had really romantic feelings/fantasies about someone, use that.

Your thoughts may not work with your character, depending on their personality, but it gives you some place to start.

Other than that, are there specific parts you know you struggle with? Tips and tricks for writing romance is kind of a broad ask, so I don’t really know what to suggest :joy:

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No those are great tips! I think what I’m struggling with the most is the interactions, if that make sense. It’s a long burn type story where you know the characters like each other but they don’t know it yet. I’m a very touchy, lovey person so my romance interactions get written as such. If I were reading as a third person, I’d think my characters were all in love with each other, and I don’t know how to…avoid that.
Not a bad problem I just don’t want my main couple to seem forced in the end.

Write whats real to you. Realistic is objective.

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I mean, facts dude.

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Read romance (preferably published authors) until you find your absolute favorite book, and read that book twice over, slowly, take notes. I do the same for every genre that I feel I’m weak at. There is no shortcut to writing besides reading enough and reading from the best to know how it’s done.

I used to think I’m not interested in action scenes too, and when I had to write it, the perfectionist in me made me look until I found a writer who could write action to change my mind and I read him maybe 5 times until I learned how.

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same!! Big romantic here but I suck at writing romance

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If you can’t draw from personal experience, then you need to consume more of the romance genre from a writer’s perspective. Books, comics, television shows, movies, etc. Study the tropes, what works, what doesn’t. Learn how to pace the romance development (usually what ticks me off about romance is the pacing). Pay attention to body language and dialogue.

I have so many fictional ships that the romance formula is just…embedded in my head now. And of course, I can draw from experiences of my friends, family, etc. And my own love life. That gives it the realism a lot of older readers will appreciate. But there’s nothing wrong with writing an unrealistic / idealistic romance either. We can all appreciate a fairy tale every now and again.

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To start, like @Siennafrost and @gtgrandom suggest: read at least 10 romance stories (and include 2 or 4 ‘cheap’ ones, like the Harlequin series). It works great to get an idea about all the different things you can do with it.

Facts. Okay.

So (write what you know), that’s your start position. What would be your strong points in romance? You wouldn’t cheat, you would like diners with candles and wine in little restaurants, and you would like a boy who defends you against a street robber (just examples).

Now you get robbed, there’s one witness, you cry for help and… he does everything wrong (he shouts that you should save yourself, he’s just minding his own business and doesn’t want to be the robbers next victim, but the robber goes after him and leaves you alone, something like that). You have to pick him up and ask if he’s okay, help him to go to the police, and he’s afraid but you give the perfect description so the cops can go after the robber.

“something” happens between you and Robbie, and you have more contact. He’s scared and timid, so you tell him to stand up for himself and ask someone out. He wants a try first and asks you. You go to a head-bang rock concert because those guys give free entrance tickets. He’s doing everything wrong…

Do you get the idea? Romance is you, the character that you know all about, and you put yourself into strange, funny, dangerous, unusual situations, and then you write yourself out of it. And you’ll need a co-star who will help you to shine, who’s exactly what you don’t look for and in the end it turns out okay for both.

Did this help?

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Ohh so you want to write leading up to the romance but you’re worried you’re going to make it too obvious?

Yeah!

that makes sense yeah, that’s actually great advice!

Romance is just like any other genre of fiction: make it interesting. You do that by picking characters who can act, by putting them in nice situations, by letting them do all sorts of things. Usually, it takes characters who have some things in common, but more important are their differences (and how they deal with it).

My only advice is: don’t write a story “like everybody else does”. Make it original. And what’s more original than using your own experience with romance in one of the characters? You’re unique, and that’s very original, and you know yourself good enough to come up with a great story.

Thats actually a really nice addition, thank you.

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I would definitely read some romances then, or even watch movies or TV shows where the leads don’t know each other yet.

It usually starts off small with teasing, flirty comments, maybe one of them touches the other person’s arm, standing close, etc. and then escalates from there. A looot of getting to know each other as well. But I definitely see your concern - if you write them too touchy from the beginning, it’ll seem out of place.

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Probably the best thing for you to do is to read and watch romance. Here are some of my favorite romance books (I’ll list them by category):

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before (1/2/3) (Rom-Com)
The Way You Make Me Feel (Rom-Com)
Eleanor and Park (Classic)
The Edge of the Universe (LGBTQ)
We Are the Ants (LGBTQ)
What If it’s Us (LGBTQ)
Fangirl (Classic)

Romance Movies:

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before (1/2) (Rom-Com)
La La Land (Musical)
A Star Is Born (2018) (Classic)

Good luck with your book!

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