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8

Sexual tension occurs when two characters are attracted to each other, but where becoming a couple is impossible for one reason or another. For that reason, how you depict it depends on what the obstacle to their happiness is: Do they hate each other? Are they too dedicated to their cause to take time for love? Are they oblivious to their feelings? Are ...


8

Off the top of my head-- If the romance is indeed a *sub*plot, keep it that way. Don't let it take over and become a central plot thread, which is easy to do. It should complement the story, not distract from it. I think romantic dialogue is the easiest place to accidentally cliche yourself up a wall by getting too serious. "Never let go!" Don't do it. As ...


6

What you need to do is define the relationship between the subplot and the primary plot. In other words, you need to know what role the romance subplot is playing in your story. Almost any relationship will do (and you can use more than one), but knowing what you're aiming for will help you write the right thing, and put the focus on the right places. Some ...


6

One way is to allow yourself to write a crappy first draft and then fix it in editing. A lot of authors go that way. They just keep writing, not looking too much at what they've written in previous chapters. Their editing work then turns into gold digging where you grab a bunch of muck and rinse away a lot to find the golden nuggets that gets to be ...


5

There's a good thread on this over at Absolute Write - http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=184551 The general consensus there seems to be that there is definitely a limit on how explicit YA sex should be. They suggest going for the more 'poetic' approach rather than an explicit or erotic one, and I think that makes sense. ETA:I didn't ...


5

Here's a great article by Mette Ivie Harrison: How To Write Romance (in Fantasy), published in OSC's Intergalactic Medicine Show. I think it's particularly appropriate to your question because it focuses on romances as subplots, romance combined with other elements. Harrison starts out by rejecting "category romance" and obiquitous mishandlings of fictional ...


4

Do you want to piss your readers off? No? Then call a tragedy a tragedy, a drama a drama and a romance a romance. This question is all about customers' expectations. You can call your story a romance and end it in disaster. But be prepared to disappoint a lot of readers (also be prepared for their reviews). Of course not all readers expect a romance to end ...


4

A and B meet. A and B fall in love. Optional: A and B enjoy snugglebunnies. Obstacle gets between A and B. A and/or B overcome obstacle. Omnia vincit amor. (since it was requested that I turn this into an answer)


4

If the POV is Jennifer's, we are getting her perspective, as if we're riding on her shoulder. Whether we get her thoughts is up to you, but if this is from Jennifer's eyes, then no, we cannot know his name until he gives it to her. So you have to describe him the way she sees him: an Indian man, a short man with skin the color of coffee beans, a tall man ...


4

I often think of what Ira Glass says in this video about the gap between your work and the work that you admire. Here's the quote in text: Nobody tells this to people who are beginners. I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make ...


3

In our real world, couples almost always have sexual tension right before they are both certain that the other one wants to get physical. It's also a struggle when it's inappropriate for the two to have a sexual relationship so each person tries to deny the attraction. I remember being a teenager and this guy kept "accidentally" bumping his hand next to ...


3

Try and include a bit of wit between the characters. Provide moments in your story whereby, there is a display of short and concise, witty one-liners. These are bounced between the characters like a tennis match, back-and-forth between the two. To think of it abstractly - imagine a point scoring system, if one provides a short, succinct and humorous ...


3

Another way to add interest is to create a situation in which the heroine's reasons for refusing to consider the hero are tied to her own personal issues. For instance, in Muriel Barbery's The Elegance of the Hedgehog, the protagonist (a lowly concierge) hides her brilliant mind from her upper-class employers because of deep-seated fears that are based on ...


3

A classic take on this from the Bard is Much Ado About Nothing (I also recommend this wonderful filmed version, which stays fairly close to the text). Beatrice and Benedick both swear they will never marry, are not interested in relationships, and are certainly not attracted to each other. They preen and posture and announce and declare, but when their ...


3

I'm not well versed in romance novels, but I did run across this stuff while I was researching for a game I was writing. So while I can't tell you anything about origins, I can tell you some pretty basic stuff about the heat/sensuality system. That's what this is called, in case you want to look it up. First and foremost, this system is not standardized... ...


3

Close male-female relationships that aren't romantic are challenging even in real life, let alone fiction, but they do exist. Assuming the pair isn't related, neither of them is gay, and they're relatively the same age, your readers will begin to long to see them together, just like their friends in real life would be likely to do. One way of dealing with ...


3

I have and have always had many close female friends. I don't see what's so special or "difficult" about these relationships, they function just like any friendship I have with a man or boy. If you want to write about a male-female friendship, then just write a male-female friendship. No, I don't constantly wonder wether or not I would like to have sex ...


3

In her writing book Plot, Ansen Dibell discusses the technique of mirroring characters - two characters who are alike in many ways, and different in others. This gives you a "compare-and-contrast" effect, where the contrast between the two characters naturally creates significance and tension. This excerpt via Google Books has a lot of the section. She gives ...


3

I'm not a romance writer, but because I hate orphaned questions, I can offer you a link which I found interesting. (Well, you probably know it.) http://www.writing-world.com/romance/ It's not a book, but articles from different authors to the subject.


3

Avoid killing/raping/otherwise injuring the love interest (particularly a female love interest) just to create manpain in your anti-hero. Avoid making the love interest a plot device with no other background, characterization, or purpose than being a Love Interest. Avoid making the love interest a helpless pawn who has to be rescued all the time.


3

(Anti)Heroes are romantic by nature. They perform heroically, passionately, in order to attain an ideal. I think the issue you might be facing here is not one of writing, per se, but of psychology. You're probably judging your character. You presume that because he uses 'harsh' methods, that must be his sole definition. He can't like cake and pie? Coffee ...


2

There is no hard set rule, and the boundaries are constantly expanding. Tender Morsels deals with incest, molestation, gang rape, abortions, and many other extremely adult issues. But it does so with implications and metaphors more often than gritty details (don't get me wrong, the book is amazing). So many of the issues could be glossed over by a reader ...


2

If you want real rivals, why make one of them "wrong"? As an exercise, why not try to make both of the romantic rivals "Mister Right", just in different ways? For example, one of the more interesting aspects of the early 90s Winona Ryder / Janeane Garofalo romcom "Reality Bites" is that a good case could be made that the corporate guy (played by Ben Stiller) ...


2

Your novel should be as long as it needs to be. Not shorter, not longer. Too vague? Well, that's writing ;) Honestly I think we already answered this question, but I can't find it. To summarize out of my head: A novel starts around 50,000 words. That's a widely accepted figure no matter what genre you write in. Write, don't care about word limits. If you ...


2

Tough question--especially if you've never experienced that type of thing. You might get quite a few suggestions here. My own conclusion is to say that, by the end of the book, the reader wants them to get together: they have earned each other's love, respect, and admiration. There are thousands of literary and cinematic examples to help guide you. Whether ...


2

In a typical romance, the usual conflict is that something is keeping the lovers apart. It could be family, competing obligations, character flaws in the lovers, initial distaste for each other, cultural views of who is allowed to love whom, natural disasters, or any other conditions or events that keep them apart. The story is usually about how the lovers ...


2

This is a double themed story (anti hero versus the bad guys, anti hero vis a vis the girl), There are two conflicts that have the potential to get in each others' way. The more time/energy that the anti hero spends chasing the bad guys, the less time and attention for the girl, and less likelihood of winning her. And vice-versa. The story can be analyzed ...


2

A man crying is not unrealistic. From what you've stated here, there are two emotional stressors acting on him: the rejection from the woman he's in love with and the discovery that his dead wife cheated on him. Find more beta readers. Seriously. This level of emotion is reasonable, given the character's temperament and what's happened. Now, that being ...


2

This is, of course, the way most aspiring authors start. Many will never get beyond Chapter 1. You might try a short story or a sample first chapter onto a public domain fiction review site. Critique Circle is a trade and publish opportunity to show your work to other people anonymously. It's divided by genre, and "Chick Lit (I never liked that name) and ...


2

Writing is similar to exercising. You should start by writing some short stories, perhaps just even a page or two, then work on gradually increasing your story length. You'll build endurance and confidence as you finish some smaller stories. Make sure that you get some feedback on your stories from a third party, such as a friend, significant other, or ...



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