Plotting a Romance Subplot, No Experience Writing Romance

The title says it all. I’ve got a fantasy book that I’m trying to plan out. I’ve got the start and the end, but the middle of the plot sill eludes me. It’s about two boys who lived and died and were reincarnated in a garden, which they end up burning down.

Just… any advice for making a believable romance subplot would be super appreciated.

Wish I could help, but I don’t really plot anything out. I just let it happen.

If you’re going to have a romance subplot, I’d definitely take a closer look at the characters and their relationship, then go off of there. Like figure out what attracts them to each other, figure out how each one helps makes the other grow, how they play off each other, possible conflicts (whether they stem from their relationship or are obstacles that might get in the way), and then how all those things in turn will affect the main plot! You do want to make sure that the characters have chemistry and that the subplot is still helping move the story forward (rather than bogging it down or taking over), and since I’m a big planner this is usually how I do it!

However, I do think that the best way to write a romance subplot is to make it as natural as possible, so like @oliviarose85 said, you could also try and let it happen, then determine all the things I mentioned above afterwards! It’s your story and your characters, and if you’re trying to make a romance subplot there should be something there, so I’m sure it’ll be great!


I usually approach romantic subplots from the point of view of ‘what can these characters give each other and what can they teach them’. Both characters should have their own character arcs and development, neither existing for the other, so you need to work out where the relationship fits in in the context of their journeys.

As an example, in my current work, my character A is dealing with issues surrounding identity and belonging, while character H is dealing with issues around regret and redemption. H gives A a shoulder to lean on and the comfort of belonging that A hasn’t had before, while A gives H stability and shows H that everyone can change and that everyone has choices. All in all, this creates a situation where their relationship helps both characters grow in their own directions and as these characters move closer to development, it creates conflict that both of them have to go through.

Other than that, deciding on their dynamics is helpful (do they banter a lot? Are they reserved? Do they bicker or are they the types that blow up every once in a while?), also, the pathway of their relationship development (do they go from close friends to lovers, or from strangers to lovers? Both will rely on different aspects to draw each other closer and in different orders.

Of course, sometimes plotting things out isn’t for the best. Your characters might grow together pretty naturally. Play it by ear if you want.

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Romantic subplots definitely need to hit a few beats within your overall plot. I’m actually writing a blog entry about this later but the beats can be summarized as:

  1. The Meet-Cute

-Small romantic gesture

  1. The First Kiss

-Second romantic gesture

  1. The realization of Love
  • A big romantic gesture
  1. The First “I Love You”

  2. Test of Love

  3. The final “I Love You”

The romantic gestures and even the beats don’t have to be in any particular order, though I think this order makes the most sense. The important thing is the build up and romance is believable. I wrote a whole fantasy story with a giant complex plot and had to go back to make sure the romance met all these beats. It really helped me overall, and I hope this helps you as well. ^ ^

This is actually really helpfull

I’m not sure i have any particularly helpful advice but that sounds like a pretty cool story :smile:

Thanks. I hope it will be, when I finally manage to plan it out. :sweat_smile:

I think your best bet will be to flesh out a chapter of what you envision to the best of your ability. While it’s still a draft, utilize the time you have to edit the chapter, read it aloud, get a feel of it. Find a romance movie you life and try to mimick the love between those characters in your own characters.

I’m big on romance because I simply love love, so I think about it and write about it as much as possible. One thing I can tell you though, is that people in love always notice the small details about the people they’re in love, so use that to your advantage.