I am writing a romance and I’d like to know some advice for things to avoid or things to do in the story. It starts with the main character feeling unlovable and lost in life. I don’t want it to be a cliche, but I also want it to be memorable. Do you have any suggestions for me?
I suggest publishing it because as a proofreader I love it a lot, hehe.
But seriously, you’re on a - very - good way, dont worry.
Did some research and here i have some tips:
Show how characters’ backstories and personalities affect their relationships
One of the reasons why instant attraction between romantic leads feels clichéd is that the connection doesn’t feel earned. In life it’s equally common for the beginning stages of a relationship to be full of uncertainty and confusion.
Romance characters’ personal histories shouldn’t be entirely absent from the story. To create a sense of how your characters’ pasts affect the present, think about:
- Templates: Parental relationships often shape people’s ideals (or, in the case of toxic relationships, fears) when seeking out a romantic partner. How might characters’ primary romantic fears and goals tie back to the templates they’ve been given?
- Past romantic relationships: A character recently out of a hurtful relationship could spring into a rebound relationship to forget, or might be closed to any new romance. Think about the motivations driving your characters’ romantic behaviour and create a visual diagram of the causes and effects that drive them
Learn how to write a romance novel using flawed (rather than perfect) characters
Remember, Mary/Gary–sues are not wanted, the MC and LI need to have some flaws to make them both interesting and realistic.
Example character flaws that could create challenges in your fictional relationships include:
- Anger management issues
- Emotional frigidity
- Oversensitivity or its opposite, lack of sensitivity
- Hyper-critical or judgmental tendencies
- Jealousy and insecurity
- A dominant or submissive personality (if either cause frustration for a character’s other half)
- Narcissism or lack of confidence
Make obstacles to your characters’ romance interesting but believable
Let’s face it, a simple romance story, where MC and LI meet, already falling in love, getting married, the end is boring, add some obstacles, but not too much uneccesary drama, it needs to match with the plot to keep your readers come back for more. Avoid romantic obstacle clichés such as the go-to soap opera favourite: Random cases of amnesia.
Define your protagonist’s romantic interests
Now before you create the love interest, first get to know your main character and find it helpful to first understand what they need in a relationship. Once you’ve gotten to know your protagonist, you can begin crafting a love interest who will challenge, aid, encourage, and maybe irritate them in ways that make the connection between them apparent.
Thank you very much for the advice! Can an obstacle be that my character is extremely inexperienced with romance, social cues they need to follow, and a sabotaging bully?
You are welcome
Sure, although it is kinda cliche, you can make it special in your own way, since it’s in the plot
Moved to Help and Advice section of Writing chat.