On the surface, writing romances in fiction looks simple. All you have to do is write, with a flourish of your pen if you so desire, ‘He loved her, and she loved him.’, and by your authorial power so it comes to life! Except we all know that doesn’t really work, does it?
Yes, you can indeed write that sentence in your work, but it does not automatically create a romance that will seem believable or ‘real’ to your readers. Love is an emotional state that’s easy to put into words, mainly because we have a short, simple word for it, but can be difficult to have properly supported through character actions and reactions. No matter how difficult it is, though, we authors must try our best to get that romantic chemistry across or else the love we say is simply an informed attribute of the characters, one of those nasty things that leads to the breaking of the reader’s suspension of disbelief.
As love itself is no simple emotion, creating that sense of love between two characters has no easy guidebook, no quick checklist to draw your readers into the notion of that love’s reality. This is complicated by the (hopefully) complex characters you all ready have running around in your world. No two people express their love in the same way and, even if two people are in love, their relationship can falter or even shatter if their beliefs and expressions of love aren’t compatible in some way.
To create a relatable and believable romance, you have to start with the characters you want to put together and think about how they see the concepts of love and relationships in the first place. No, they don’t have to see eye-to-eye or be perfectly identical. Part of the fun of writing and reading about a relationship comes from the hurdles and the challenges as two people discover each other and the give-and-take of the relationship.
Avoid, if you can, the ‘whirlwind romance’ or, at least, be realistic in terms of the aftermath of said romances. Love is rarely an ‘at-first-sight’ thing and what may seem like a perfect couple at first can run into turbulent times in the near future (watch Frozen if you haven’t by now). Even ‘love-at-first-sight’ couples that stick together often have to go over plenty of rocks in the road ahead to true romantic bliss. Don’t be afraid to present realistic challenges, real emotion, conflict, and drama into your written relationships! Even the mildest, most compatible couple fights.
‘Familiarity breeds contempt’ is a bit too strong of a saying, but it’s not entirely untrue. Very close couples, when they do fight, tend to be able to sting their significant others the hardest, simply because they know where to hit. They are just as quick to come back together, though!
Really, the core, key component to keep in mind at all times is to ensure that there is some connection, some chemistry, between your romantic pairings and then to show that chemistry. Avoid constant protestations of undying love, especially in narration, and focus on actions and interactions that show that love, then make sure those interactions aren’t out-of-character.
Do you have any more tips or thoughts about writing romantic chemistry? Feel free to drop it in the comments! Until next time, good reading, good writing, and good luck!