So you want to write a love story?
Welcome to the world of romance: The old formula of boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy finds girl will need a bit of a makeover. For the sake of this blog, I am going to stick with boy and girl, but please read that as any mix of gender and make up you like.
What do they want?
And most particularly, what do they want before the story starts, and before they meet each other? What makes a love story a great story to read is the same thing that makes any narrative a story: A character forms a goal and sets out to achieve that goal, but on the way encounters obstacles which, of course, How to write a love story character must find solutions to HINT: In a love story, the character may not at first know they are looking for love.
So you may need a substitute goal to carry the story forwards while your protagonists discover their true motivation. During the course of the story, look at fear, pain, disappointment, betrayal and jealousy.
If your reader does this, then they will understand immediately the attraction that the two lovers hold for each other. And they will get a double thrill when they get together!
Sounds simple, but…erm…Sarah, how do you get a reader to fall in love with a character? Love isn't simple — so ramp up the full range of emotions. When in love, people are moved to achieve huge things. The obstacles confronting the lovers should be massive, and the power of love even greater than that HINT: Two people in love are like wildfire.
Both of the lovers should be melted in the crucible of their love, and so become different by the end of the story. How do they meet? By some cosmic force that pulls them together? Set up their meeting in the story properly, so it is epic!
Action in a love story starts when the fires of passion are lit, and not before, and definitely not after the two lovers get together! So get going straight away with the longing and the wanting; glimpse, meet or hear about the lover to be within the first scene. The building tension, the reader wondering if it will happen, longing for it … anticipating it … Have the reader asking: How will they feel?
What will it be like when they confess their love to each other? How do they first react to each other?
Think all this through, before writing the scene if possible — if not, explore it as you write HINT: Looks are a huge part of falling in love; think about how much you want to include in the story HINT: Use a setting that can trap or isolate your two lovers together. Weather is always a good one for this — caught in a snowstorm, taking shelter from the rain in an empty building, but also any other kind of danger from the outside which isolates the two of them for a sustained period of time.
Then they can get to know each other. Your protagonist and romance character need to ask themselves: Can we live happily ever after?
These inner conflicts can be used to help plot your story HINT: If a face-to-face meeting is not possible — they must at least be thinking of each other. We need to see why they are falling in love. Simple scenes can be used to create emotional impact. Maybe he likes her courage and good sense. Whichever way, your readers need to get to know them and approve of them and feel they will make a good couple HINT: Maybe this can be achieved by introducing a villain.
One of the obstacles that the lovers must overcome is separation. These days with Skype and texts and face-time and all forms of messaging, the idea of separation is a challenge.
Romantic scenes can be full of passion, yet also full of doubt. Vulnerability and awkwardness are attractive: Maybe have a storm raging, a wildfire burning or a house under siege from some outside force.