It is near impossible to put into words the emotional roller coaster that one takes when they fall in or out of love. That passionate connection from one person to another has brought about some of the most captivating poetry and vivid writing of our day. It is because of this deep-seeded desire to be made whole by another that we find, even in the grittiest of genres, the presence of romantic love.
This post is by no means a stance on what is or is not acceptable when it comes to writing love scenes. Instead, I’d like to touch on the formula of a progressive romantic relationship. In my own personal experience, I have found that it is necessary to engage in realistic interactions and reactions when it comes to the chemistry between characters.
While there are a vast amount of genres outside of romance, the age-old advice still stands: your main character needs a love interest. Though it is possible to tell a story without any overtones of love or relationships, it has been proven to be a great motivator for many a character. Be it the loss of love, the yearning for love or the protection of love, all can push a character forward.
Because of how essential love interests can be, it is important that the exchange seems realistic. While it may be tempting to simply give only a token nod to the relationship or rush the characters together, doing so is a detriment to the reader’s experience. Having fallen into these pitfalls myself, I have collected some pointers that have helped me create a romantic dynamic between my characters.
Remember that relationships develop in stages. Every type of relationship, romantic or not, goes through a natural progression. No matter if you are writing out the full arc of the relationship in detail for the reader or not, be sure to hit those mile markers of friend, best friend, lover, etc.
Resolve tension naturally and at an opportune time. When an interest between two parties begins to develop past friends, there is a natural tension that builds. The suspense that is created can add to the narrative and growth of a character. What you want to avoid is the pitfall of resolving the tension too early or too late. The sweet spot for bringing the characters together should feel natural.
Imperfections are essential to realistic relationships. Every single partnership has problems, minor or major. These hiccups create a dynamic of realistic conflict and resolution. While it is not essential to highlight these issues at every point in the story, showing that the relationship has flaws makes the characters’ chemistry more relatable.
Have a plan in place for when the characters become official. Once you bring the two characters together, be sure that the story was not solely dependent on the previous tension. You never want to leave your readers feeling as if the characters they just watched come together have now lost their gusto because they have taken the next step in their relationship.
Think about the relationship as its own progressive arc. Be sure that you are taking the time to ask yourself the essential questions when it comes to the romantic relationship you have put into the story. Think ahead a few years. Where do you see them? Are they still together? Did they start a family? Did it not work out or did one of the characters die? While it may not be the main story arc, understanding the romantic flow of your character and their love interest is necessary.
Love shapes the lives of those real and fictional. We all desire to feel that passionate pull of our other half. As writers, we can give readers a glimpse into the indescribable and allow them to live vicariously through the relationship we have created. So take the time to be sure that your romance is realistic, relatable and draws a reader in.
What ways have you found to make your fictional relationships realistic? We’d love to hear from you in the comments!
Now back to our regularly scheduled writing schedule fun!