Archive for the 'Romance' Category

Nov 24 2011

Building Up Romance (Danielle Kazemi)

Published by under Guest Articles,Romance

I provide advice about how to write novels, comic books and graphic novels. Most of my content applies to fiction-writing in general, but I also provide articles specifically about superhero stories.

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.

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6 responses so far

Jul 21 2011

10 Common but Totally Unrealistic Romance Storylines

Published by under Realism,Romance

I liked this list of common but unrealistic romance storylines.


I was not personally familiar with the Angry Kiss, but if anybody tried those shenanigans in real life, he’d probably be registered as a sex offender, fired, and subjected to a restraining order.  As for the Wealthy, Good-Looking Stranger, let’s be honest.  If somebody is wealthy, hot and “single,” he/she is probably a mental case and/or not actually single.  Case in point: Me.  I’m hot*, single and frequently sane, so obviously I’m unwealthy.  What can I say? Writing really is less lucrative than vagrancy.


*On the internet, nobody knows you’re a dog.

32 responses so far

Jul 10 2011

22 Ways Fiction is Usually Different than Reality

Published by under Realism,Romance

Two psychologists independently argue that romance novels are unrealistic and set their readers up for unhealthy relationships. Take Twilight, for instance.   Bella falls for Edward because he’s preposterously good-looking (as she reminds us incessantly), tough (abusively so) and more exciting/unpredictable than the nice guys she knows.  If Bella were your friend in real life, you’d probably beg her to stay away from this unhealthy relationship even if Edward weren’t 50+ years older.  Do you think she’ll have the guts to walk away when Edward starts (keeps) abusing her? Hell no–she wasn’t even tough enough to walk away when he told her to.


I think that fiction authors of every sort frequently bend reality to make their stories more entertaining.  Here are some other common examples.


1.  Fictional dialogue is generally wittier and more concise than in real life.  Most real-life conversations have a lot of idle chatter, but there’s less time to waste in a novel (usually ~80-90,000 words) or comic book (~22 pages).


2.  Across the board, when a character lies, somebody will almost always find out.  A perfectly-maintained lie is not as dramatic as dealing with the consequences of being found out.


3.  By the end of the story, the main character will almost always know everything important.  It’s very rare for, say, a detective to fail to solve the case even though it happens quite often in real life.  (Half of U.S. murders go unsolved).


4.  The story tends to revolve around the main characters and everybody else gets sidelined.  For example, Harry Potter goes off on adventures and saves the world because nobody actually running Hogwarts seems to have any idea about the nefarious plots unfolding there each year.  (Don’t even get me started on the Ministry of Magic).  In contrast, I really liked how the TV show Dexter handled this–Dexter is a serial killer with a day job as a police lab tech.  Instead of passively benefiting from incompetent authorities, his coworkers are competent enough to pose an obstacle, so he sabotages them to keep himself safe. For example, he frequently delays investigations by planting evidence to implicate plausible suspects.

4.1.  Authority figures are useless, unless they’re the main characters.  It wouldn’t be a very satisfying horror story if the victims could just call the police, right?  So authority figures (like the police in any kind of story, parents and teachers in young adult fiction, the army in alien invasion stories, etc) will almost always be useless, antagonistic or unreachable.  Outside of a police story, when was the last time the police actually solved a case on their own?


5.  Cellphones fail surprisingly often, especially when it would short-circuit the plot.  Count on the batteries to run out, the phone to get misplaced or stolen or damaged, the reception to fail, and/or something exotic like electronic jamming or magical interference.  Alternately, perhaps the character never had a cellphone for financial or criminal reasons or the character has a working phone but does not call the police because he/she would also be implicated in illegal activity.


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16 responses so far

Jul 05 2011

Which love interests have been most effective/memorable? Discuss!

Feel free to discuss anything related to love interests.  For example, which love interests have you found most interesting?  What do you think distinguishes interesting love interests from forgettable ones?  If you’re familiar with a few superhero stories, how do you think their romantic love interests stack up against love interests in other types of stories? 

26 responses so far

Oct 31 2009

November 1 Links

3 responses so far

Jul 18 2009

Six Tips on How to Write Romance

Many books and comics have at least one official pairing in them, either as a main plot element or as a sidestory.


It can be very difficult to write a believable relationship, and it is something that can very easily become cliché and annoying. I have a handful of tips for avoiding the pitfalls of romance writing.

1. Try to be original when you describe how they meet. We’ve seen the Crash Into Hello so many times that it is more fodder for eye-rolling than anything else. Try combining different stereotypical meetings to get something fresh. Perhaps Alice accidentally knocks Bob through an open window, and Catherine runs to help him, spraining her ankle and needing help from Daniel, the creepy guy who never talks. Two words: love quadrangle.

2. On that note, be careful with love triangles, quadrangles and other polygons. If 2+ characters are fawning over the same love interest, there had better be a good reason. Otherwise it makes the object of their affection appear to be a Mary Sue and the other corners of the triangle look pathetic.

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28 responses so far

Jul 16 2009

How to Make Your Love Interest a Real Character

“Love interest” is a degrading term. It brings to mind the shiny-eyed chick, with nothing better to do than swoon over the hero and get kidnapped. But they don’t have to be like that! It only takes five steps to save the mandatory trophy girlfriend.

1. Make her her own character. Ask yourself what she’s like. Was your answer “she loves the hero very much”, or worse, something about her looks? Hard as it is to believe, she probably has a life beyond loving the hero. Find out what she’s like apart from him. Don’t think of her as a love interest. Think of her as a girl, who loves the hero. Develop her the same way you developed the heroes. Why does she act how she does? What makes her stand out?

2. Know why they fall in love. This is vital if they haven’t met in the beginning. Now, pick a movie with a romantic subplot. Any movie. Watch the scene where they meet. Chances are, there’s no meaningful interaction. They talk about nothing important…but he keeps eyeing her like he’s never seen a girl before.  It doesn’t work that way.

I’ll admit it’s doable in movies, but it stands out like a sore thumb in written form. Look at it realistically. Ask yourself this: what originally drew them to each other? Was it a personality trait that attracted her to the hero? Why does he love her?

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55 responses so far

Aug 22 2008

An observation about Lois Lane and Clark Kent

In Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, Clark Kent is written to be an idealized Red-Stater and Lois Lane is an idealized Blue-Stater. What I love about her, compared to the average damsel in distress, is that she adds something.  She completes him. Usually, fictional stories write love interests as cardboard characters designed to show that the protagonist has “arrived.”  These characters typically seem more like trophies than people.  If they are developed at all, it will be to show how desirable a trophy they are: really beautiful and super high-class! Enter Eragon, stage right.

One response so far