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Author Topic: Romance?  (Read 3371 times)

Offline Lyz

Romance?
« on: May 24, 2011, 04:53:00 PM »
So, I don't know about you folks, but I have come to the discovery that I'm fairly inept at writing anything that has to do with romance, and having it being taken seriously. Yesterday, I was given a prompt to use two characters and describe a kiss between them.

I took two of the characters from the story I've been working on, and then spent the next 950-some-odd words /working up/ to the kiss. I feel like this is just way too much.

Those of you who have written romance into your stories... Is it one of those things that you get better at as you go along? Because I'm finding it incredibly difficult to even get started with it, let alone continue with the scene without blushing furiously. :\
Elizabeth Mace Giosia. Call me Lyz. 29. Leo. Fantasy Faction Staff Member, Reviews. Owner of Giosia Photography and Stoneheart Cosplay

Need a review for your novel? Email me at emgiosia@gmail.com!

Offline knittingknots

Re: Romance?
« Reply #1 on: May 24, 2011, 05:12:47 PM »
I felt very, very awkward at writing romantic, intimate moments when I first started to...but I assure you, that the more you do it, the less uncomfortable you get.  Now I'm known especially for that in certain fanfic circles...but boy did I feel awkward and self-conscious at first.

One thing that can help is to study-read a bunch of writers who write these things in ways you like...you don't exactly want to copy them, but they'll build mental pictures in your head of how it can be handled.  That's pretty much what I did, then wrote my scenes my way.

Offline Lyz

Re: Romance?
« Reply #2 on: May 24, 2011, 05:37:35 PM »
I felt very, very awkward at writing romantic, intimate moments when I first started to...but I assure you, that the more you do it, the less uncomfortable you get.  Now I'm known especially for that in certain fanfic circles...but boy did I feel awkward and self-conscious at first.

One thing that can help is to study-read a bunch of writers who write these things in ways you like...you don't exactly want to copy them, but they'll build mental pictures in your head of how it can be handled.  That's pretty much what I did, then wrote my scenes my way.

Thanks! That's a good idea. I'll be honest, I've never actually read a book that would be considered romance. :\ I've read books with romance in them, but not where it was three-quarters of the plot.

Anyone have any good recommendations for romance? Fantasy ones, especially. :)
Elizabeth Mace Giosia. Call me Lyz. 29. Leo. Fantasy Faction Staff Member, Reviews. Owner of Giosia Photography and Stoneheart Cosplay

Need a review for your novel? Email me at emgiosia@gmail.com!

Offline Autumn2May

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Re: Romance?
« Reply #3 on: May 24, 2011, 05:40:09 PM »
I felt very, very awkward at writing romantic, intimate moments when I first started to...but I assure you, that the more you do it, the less uncomfortable you get.  Now I'm known especially for that in certain fanfic circles...but boy did I feel awkward and self-conscious at first.

One thing that can help is to study-read a bunch of writers who write these things in ways you like...you don't exactly want to copy them, but they'll build mental pictures in your head of how it can be handled.  That's pretty much what I did, then wrote my scenes my way.

Thanks! That's a good idea. I'll be honest, I've never actually read a book that would be considered romance. :\ I've read books with romance in them, but not where it was three-quarters of the plot.

Anyone have any good recommendations for romance? Fantasy ones, especially. :)

I'll ask my sister.  She is a HUGE romance buff. :)

Offline Dan D Jones

Re: Romance?
« Reply #4 on: May 25, 2011, 05:57:23 PM »
First, what do you mean by "romance?"  Your description of the kissing-scene prompt and the responses this point seems to be primarily concerned with sex and its precursors, and not with romance.  Is your issue purely with writing the descriptions of the physical contact involved or are you having issues capturing the emotional intensity, etc. of any romantic scene?  It would be much easier to offer some possibly-helpful advice with more specificity as to what aspect of writing the scene gives you trouble.

If you'd like (and you're brave enough!), post your scene on the Work to be Critiqued board and ask for specific feedback. 

Offline Lyz

Re: Romance?
« Reply #5 on: May 25, 2011, 06:38:25 PM »
First, what do you mean by "romance?"  Your description of the kissing-scene prompt and the responses this point seems to be primarily concerned with sex and its precursors, and not with romance.  Is your issue purely with writing the descriptions of the physical contact involved or are you having issues capturing the emotional intensity, etc. of any romantic scene?  It would be much easier to offer some possibly-helpful advice with more specificity as to what aspect of writing the scene gives you trouble.

If you'd like (and you're brave enough!), post your scene on the Work to be Critiqued board and ask for specific feedback. 


I'm sorry if I wasn't clear enough, before. :\ Let's see if I can fix that:

The prompt I was given was definitely more driven toward the physical contact and descriptions thereof. When I wrote the scene, I managed about 900-some-odd words of lead up to the kiss, talking about the feelings and such. The emotional part is the bit I seem to be having the easiest time with; it's definitely more the physical aspects of writing a romance scene that I'm having trouble with.

:shrug: I'm not ready to post this on the forum, just yet; I feel like it's too rough. Plus, there's about 400 words of back-story that are completely unnecessary when the scene is actually read along with the rest of the story... So I need to do some cutting and editing to make it fit. :) But when it's ready, I'll be sure to post it.
Elizabeth Mace Giosia. Call me Lyz. 29. Leo. Fantasy Faction Staff Member, Reviews. Owner of Giosia Photography and Stoneheart Cosplay

Need a review for your novel? Email me at emgiosia@gmail.com!

Offline Funky Scarecrow

Re: Romance?
« Reply #6 on: May 25, 2011, 09:05:55 PM »
The problem with kissing, from a writer's perspective, is that they're a nightmare to write in great detail, because as a physical act a person's response is entirely dependent on the emotional connection to the person it's being shared with it. A kiss can be warm, tantalising and brain-shatteringly arousing if you want the person you're kissing or, equally, it can be damp, embarrassing and uncomfortable. The other problem with describing kissing in great detail is, not to put too fine a point on it, there are many different schools of thought as to what constitutes a good kiss. Eyes closed or eyes open? Open mouth, closed mouth, start closed and then open or begin closed then and open and close repeatedly throughout? Tongue, or no tongue? Flickering tongue, or an epic wrestling match between slippery mouth serpents?

You could describe what is, to you, the most knee-trembling kiss imaginable and the first five people you show it to (excluding the person you're currently sharing kisses with, of course. There's bound to be some agreement there ;)) are all instantly turned off, since you've just described the exact kind of kiss they hate. With... (I'm being as delicate as I can on a PG13 forum)... other physical acts, there's some common ground across almost all people; things that, while maybe not a given reader's favourite thing ever, are at least not something unpleasant to imagine happening to their own body. A bad kiss, though? Total mood killer. And what constitutes "bad" is wide open to individual interpretation.

There's a very good reason why you'll find physical descriptions of sex acts in books far more easily than you'll find physical descriptions of kissing.

As an example, I'm going to throw together a couple of extremely short vignettes, one of which describes the kiss itself and the other of which describes instead the reaction to that same kiss.

Quote from: Funky Scarecrow's Guide to Awesome Kissing
...I kissed her, then, and to my surprise, she kissed me back; at least, she didn't push me away. Our lips brushed together, softly at first as we found our way around each other, then firmer and with more pressure as we faded further into the moment. I opened my mouth slightly and she responded, her tongue sliding gently into my mouth and finding mine; as we would part for fractions of a second to breathe in, we would leave our tongues behind, teasing each other with the tip before plunging back together, each of us eager to feel the other's breath in our mouth and to feel the wetness of the other's lips pressed to our own...

Some of the ladies reading this will now be swooning; some of the men will be experiencing... confusion, urges you've never felt before for another man, especially one who you only know from words on a computer screen and that's okay; I'm flattered, dudes, really I am. I kissed the everliving daylights out of that girl. Her grandchildren will be born with memories of it. The sheer heat generated from all your reactions will ensure the avoidance of total entropy for at least a thousand extra years at the tail-end of the universe's shelf life...

On the other hand...

Some of you will have read the above passage and had to fight the urge not exclaim "EEEEEeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeewwwwwwwwww! He kisses like a sexless, passion free automaton. He's a bad kisser. I'm now a worse kisser for having been exposed to his fumbling ineptitude." There's a strong possibility some of you may never kiss again, because you'll be suffering flashbacks to that utterly horrifying kiss that bloke internet described that one time. Each time you lean into someone, your gorge will rise and you'll recoil in meek and terrified shame, mortified that you may kiss as badly as that fella from that internet forum you don't visit any more because of his creepy post about kissing.

On yet another hand (because I have three hands in this lecture. Why? Screw you! It's my post and I want three hands. That's why.)...

Quote from: Funky Scarecrow's Guide to How it Feels to Have an Awesome Kiss
...I kissed her, then, and to my surprise, she kissed me back; at least, she didn't push me away. Our lips brushed together, softly at first as we found our way around each other, then firmer and with more pressure as we faded further into the moment. My head swam at the feel of her, the scent of her flooding my senses and taking away all reason and perception of time passing. We stayed pressed to each other, a million eternities packed into each second, before parting, breathless and shaking, bare moments later...

There. The unnamed girl in my tale of epic tonsil hockey and spit swapping? Still kissed into the middle of next week. But, the only thing anyone can be turned off by in that passage is the florid description, not the actual description of the kiss, since it wasn't really described in any detail. All you as a reader know, is that I kissed her and it was awesome. (Judgement on the skill with which it was described is a separate issue and not important for the purposes of this post.)

The tl;dr version? If it's at all humanly possible to avoid a description of the physical minutiae of a kiss, do so. What one person reads with one hand and a flush spreading across their face, another person will also read with one hand... as they bite the knuckle of the other to keep from roaring with laughter and their face turning purple through suppressed giggles.
I am NOT short. I'm further away than I look.

Offline Lyz

Re: Romance?
« Reply #7 on: May 25, 2011, 09:28:56 PM »
...

This was absolutely perfect. Thank you, so much, for your thoughtful response! You've helped me out a ton with this; I actually think I know where to take the scene.

Thank you, thank you! <3
Elizabeth Mace Giosia. Call me Lyz. 29. Leo. Fantasy Faction Staff Member, Reviews. Owner of Giosia Photography and Stoneheart Cosplay

Need a review for your novel? Email me at emgiosia@gmail.com!

Offline AuthorGuy

Re: Romance?
« Reply #8 on: May 28, 2011, 02:30:10 AM »
So, I don't know about you folks, but I have come to the discovery that I'm fairly inept at writing anything that has to do with romance, and having it being taken seriously. ...Those of you who have written romance into your stories... Is it one of those things that you get better at as you go along? Because I'm finding it incredibly difficult to even get started with it, let alone continue with the scene without blushing furiously. :\

I have been getting steadily better at writing romance in my stories (my third just came out) but I make no attempt at the physical stuff. I've never felt that any of that was necessary to the story. Plus it makes me feel oogie.

Offline betsdavies

Re: Romance?
« Reply #9 on: July 24, 2011, 02:45:16 AM »
Don't know if this helps, but I draw heavily on my various personal experiences.

Offline Francis Knight

Re: Romance?
« Reply #10 on: July 25, 2011, 09:42:49 AM »
I write mostly fantasy romance*. So if it helps:

Read a lot of these sort of scenes. Same as with say worldbuilding, see how others do it well, and not so well. Study. Read, not necessarily romance (I rarely read straight romance. I prefer adventure with romance sub-plot myself), but things with a romantic bent

You don't need to get into the physical, or only skim it - romance is all about the emotion. While it's good to stretch yourself into uncharted waters, that may not be necessary for this particular scene or story. How do they feel about this kiss? (I mean I've written a romance, that did pretty well, that featured a whole four snogs. Only one of those was between Hero and Heroine.)

Remember your five senses - what does everything feel/smell/taste like etc

The anticipation/buildup of tension is always the best part anyway :D


*Technically, anyway. I prefer to think of it as adventure fantasy with a heavy romance subplot.
« Last Edit: July 25, 2011, 09:50:52 AM by Julia Knight »
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