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Tips on writing love stories?

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Wed Oct 26, 2011 1:42 am
eddykins says...

Hello! Long time, no see!

I'm planning on entering NaNoWriMo this year (for the first time! :shock:) and I'm breaking out of my niche by writing a love story. In order to prepare I've been trying to research the genre and learn the basics, but I have a bit of a survey question just to get some opinions:

What creates a good love story for all of you? What do you look for in characters and relationship development and all that jazz?

Thanks! Any help is much appreciated! C:

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Thu Oct 27, 2011 1:19 am
JabberHut says...

Hi, Eddy! 8D

I don't really have anything besides personal input since I do read some romances. Someone might come along with hard evidence to backthemselves up. But anyway! Enough jibberjabber.

I think, when writing a love story, remember to keep the relationship real. I find a lot of writers stick to the cliches and then move really fast because they want to get to the good romantic kissy-lovey-dovey-mushy stuff. There's a lot more to a relationship though, and if you can show that in your story, then the reader will become more attached to the relationship. You know that feeling when you just know two certain characters are going to be together or they *should* be together 'cause they'd make such a great couple? I love that.

And also, even if it's a love story, there's still some conflict that brings them together (or apart) and which ultimately builds upon the relationship. The two met somehow, and they usually go through something together. Maybe one of the people go through something which affects their feelings for the other. Anyhow, conflict is something to remember lykwoah. We still got to give the story some meaning to it!

Aaand. That's all I've got right now. But that's really all I think about when it comes to stories: characters and conflict/plot. If you've got those rock solid, then it should all fall into place!
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Thu Oct 27, 2011 1:38 am
Carlito says...

Biggest thing: it needs to be believable. Just like with any other story, the events and characters have to make sense. Love is great, but it doesn't happen over night and it isn't always sunshine and rainbows and happy endings.

One thing that's really helped me write romance stories is drawing from personal experiences. Have you been in love or been in a relationship? If not, ask a friend, family member, someone, anyone about what it's like. Obviously don't copy exactly what happened to you or someone else, but use the feelings/mood/situation to inspire things that will happen to your characters.

I sometimes have a hard time reading love stories because they get very repetitive and very cliched quickly. Some stories that get very old:
1. The "Cinderella" story - the poor damsel in distress that's not very attractive or cool in any real way and then magically meets Prince Charming (aka a guy that's totally out of her league but just happens to find her awkwardness endearing) and lives happily ever after (same thing applies for the opposite of this, the amazing girl falling for the awkward boy)
2. The "Savior" story - the girl has been through some terrible tragedy in her life or the boy has and then the other "saves" them from this terrible thing and makes everything peachy and okay
3. The "Opposites Attract" story - they have nothing in common or hate each other for some reason and then grow to love each other.
I'm sure there are others but these are the ones that jumped immediately to mind.

Now, there's nothing wrong with writing one of these stories, it's just up to you to make it original and interesting and not cliched and like every other story like it that's already been written.

Back to making it realistic.

I just finished reading a story where a boy and girl date for a couple of months, fall in love, are going to be together forever, etc. but then the boy kills someone and will be in prison for the rest of his life and can't be with the girl. This should have been heartbreaking, but it wasn't. Why? Because everything happened too quickly out of nowhere. There wasn't enough "before" time. They were apart, they liked each other, then they were together and in love. As the reader, I didn't have time to want them to be together and root for them, they were just together. Their relationship didn't grow, it was just great. So when it ended, it wasn't as sad as it could have been.

Just like with any story, you want your readers to root for your characters. They need to go through struggles and challenges and conflict the same way any other character would. For me, the part where they fall in love is way more exciting then reading about the relationship itself. The whole "I like him, does he like me", interpreting conversations, interpreting facial expressions, wondering if it's going to work out, etc. There's a lot of conflict and suspense here and, as I'm sure you're aware, conflict and suspense are key elements of a good story. Some of my favorite romantic stories are my favorites because I was rooting for the characters so much and I wanted them to be together so bad and once they finally got together it was like "Thank you!"

Once the characters are together, they still need to go through conflict and challenges or it's going to be a boring story. Happy ending or sad ending, it doesn't matter, but have a direction from the beginning. With that, it still needs to be believable. If it's going to be sad and they're going to break up for some reason, it needs to be a real reason. The reader doesn't have to see it coming (and I think it's almost better if they don't to add to the shock and heartbreak) but needs to understand why it happened. If it's going to be happy and they're going to stay together, they should have a solid, likable relationship.

If you want more inspiration or tips, read some romance. After you finish, think about if you liked it or not. If you liked it, why? If you didn't, why? What did you think of the characters? What did you think of their development? The progression of their relationship? The ending? Did it make you feel anything? If it did, what, and how did it do that? Analyze it and then apply that to your own story as a what to do, what not to do sort of thing.

Let me know if you have any questions or if something didn't make sense!

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