Love at first sight; a common trope. But introduce the protagonist to their future love with lack of build-up, the story can fall through.
Red roses and kisses as soft as petals are some of love’s most common cliches.
How can romance writers avoid these writing pitfalls and bring a new type of passion to the pages?
I am a love story writer. My characters primarily fit into a high school to early college age group. I think this range is the best time for love stories to take place. For some, these are when the “firsts” occur. Whereas in middle school, the ages are young, but crushes aren’t exactly foreign. There is, however, (in many households) a lack of independence in terms of curfews, along with not being old enough to obtain a license. Real dates, realistically, happen during the high school years.
In my first novel I wrote, the main characters are high school juniors. I confess to the unoriginal meeting of two characters after one of them moves into the school district. They meet, eyes interlock, and they instantly capture each other’s attention. From this moment, they begin talking and a string of journeys awaits them. In the scenes that follow, there is suspense and drama that rests in front of them that is a lot more original, new, and unexpected for the reader.
Love at first sight may exist to some, but can be a complete hoax to others. Setting aside the conception that love at first sight could exist and be some type of fate, using the trope in your love story is far from ground breaking.
When I tell people that I enjoy writing love stories, the reactions typically revolve around a kind of ignorance. There’s a stigma that all romance writers take love at first sight and run with it and toss kisses and roses across the pages just for the sake of it.
While some stories may do this, it is truthfully far from the case in other romantic storylines.
To avoid the flow of sticking to the basics of love at first sight, add to the storyline, and integrate a ground breaking element(s) to surprise and that aligns with your own writerly voice.
Childhood fairytales conclude in happily ever after, traditionally. In a sense, young minds may believe that happy endings will always exist. As we mature, we realize that this isn’t always the honest case.
Love is not a perfect package. Love has its ups and downs, its wins and failures. Playing off of the struggles and triumphs can assist with believability. Avoid the over abundance of exuberant love by basing the story in a world of frilled happiness.
Fray the lines in other ways by concluding the story on a note outside of happily ever after. Blur the lines for a neutral ending, something readers must infer, or within a key of sadness that hints at future happiness and joy.
We all strive for intimate relationships. Pursuing a relationship as special as such leads to first date gestures and honey-moon phase gifts. While flowers are beautiful and can make any heart flutter, a dozen roses can act as another cliche. A box of chocolates too.
When writing of exchanged presents between characters, consider each person’s desires and personalities. If bouquets, chocolates, and jewelry didn’t exist, what would your characters want to receive from their significant other? Consider this prompt when your character’s next date is booked.