Nov 24 2011
One problem when writing romance in books is how to show it. Everyone knows of the basic ways: hugs, kisses, and obviously getting into bed. There are dozens of different ways to show it. You don’t need to rely just on the basics.
Shyness: Even a hardened, tough as nails character might have difficulty putting their feelings into words. In real life, sometimes even a suave jock has trouble asking out a girl. This can be manifested through stuttering as well. In the character’s mind, the stakes might be considerably higher than simply taking out the bad guy. Sure, defending the city is important but not nearly as important as fulfilling his or her dream of getting the object of affection.
Holding hands: This helps connect the two people for the first time (usually). You are connected to someone and in a sense it helps you know the other person is always there. It can also be seen when teams do the hand circle and touch one another. It helps everyone feel connected. In romance, this is no different. However, you can add in running fingers over the other person’s hand. Try that in a team and see the looks you get.
Caresses: This is probably one of the more flagrant signs of affection although it can also be accidental. A good example is running fingers through someone’s hair. It is a very simple action but it gives the touch from the other person. Touching someone on the shoulder or arm is also an effective way to show it. Touching the leg though tends to be seen as negative. Why? Because usually there is only one reason for doing that – getting the other person into bed.
Looks: “Their eyes meet across the room, an instant chemistry between them.” This can be rewritten as looking at a person, looking down, then looking back up. It signifies to the character that this person is looking at him or her and no one else. This goes back to the old adage that eyes are the window to the soul. You can tell more about a person by looking at them in the eye than looking at them anywhere else. It gives a sort of vulnerability both to the person doing the looking and the one being looked at. Add extra points if the character looks away with a slight smile. A connection has been made.
The best thing to do is to write your signs of affection based upon what you could get away with in public. It keeps your writing clean and more importantly – it builds the suspense. Sure characters can romp around after the first meeting but building to that point makes the readers appreciate it more.
Danielle Kazemi enjoys having her characters fall in love almost as much as putting them in mortal danger. Check out her writing blog.