Romance is a well-loved and timeless genre. It has it all — intrigue, intimacy, drama, and an opportunity for us to get swept up in a whirlwind romance (in the safety of fiction, of course!)

silhouette of person's hands forming heart

Photo by Mayur Gala on Unsplash

And with Valentine's Day coming up, what better way to get into the romantic mood than by writing your own romance story?

Whether you're planning to pen your first romance novel or looking to write some fanfiction of your favorite fictional ships, here are some romance-writing tips to help you through the journey!

1. Choose your sub-genre

The romance genre encompasses a wide variety of sub-genres, and it can helpful to find your niche by finding your sub-genre.

Each romance sub-genre has their own tropes as well as specific tips and tricks! Furthermore, it allows you to come up with more interesting and original story ideas to wow your readers with.

As for how to choose your sub-genre, the answer lies in your own interests. Take a stroll (or a scroll) through a romance novel catalogue — what kinds of romance stories are you interested in?

Here are some sub-genres that you can consider:

  • Paranormal
  • Historical
  • Contemporary
  • Young Adult
  • Fantasy

2. Create a vivid setting

white and black castle on top of mountain

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Even in a romance story, worldbuilding and setting is just as important as in another other kind of story.

Not only does your setting contribute to the atmosphere of the romance story, but it also influences your character's actions, shape their backgrounds and by extension, change the dynamics of their relationship!

Even better: your setting should produce external conflicts that drive character and relationship development in your romance story.

Plus, a vivid setting lends immersion and realism to your story. A well-developed setting is what gets your readers immersed in not just the romance but also the world in general!

3. Don't be afraid to use romance tropes

silhouette of man raising his hands

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Romance tropes exist for a reason. They're tried and tested to appeal to romance readers, so you shouldn't be afraid to use them in your romance story!

That said, it is when you overuse them that romance tropes become a problem. They become tired, predictable, and will lose your readers' interests.

Instead of using romance tropes wholesale, you should find ways to subvert these romance tropes, add new elements or take a new perspective on them! These are small ways to make these tropes fresh and fun again.

4. Flesh out your main characters

Well-developed characters are part of what makes a compelling romance. After all, readers want to see two interesting and relatable individuals come together to form a perfectly imperfect romance!

It's important to understand and establish important details of your characters. And the best way to do this is by filling out character sheets for your main characters! If you're writing or planning your next romance story, why not fill out our character sheet template on JotterPad.

JotterPad allows you to edit your character profile from various devices, from the JotterPad web app, iPad, iOS and Android
JotterPad allows you to edit your character profile from various devices, from the JotterPad web app, iPad, iOS and Android

From their backgrounds and childhoods to their likes and dislikes, every aspect of your character can shape the romance and how they interact with other characters! Your characters should also have flaws that will influence their relationship and the romance as well.

5. Don't neglect your secondary characters

row of four men sitting on mountain trail

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Even though your main characters and their relationship are in the spotlight of your romance story, you shouldn't forget your side characters.

From the best friend that plays wingman for your main character to the love rival that makes your main love interest jealous, side characters can help develop or obstruct the romance. Aside from that, they also fill out the world of your romance story, complement your main characters and drive the plot!

However, you should still ensure that the focus is on your main couple. Side characters that are too pervasive and take over the spotlight can be frustrating for your readers and distracts them from the main attraction.

6. Let love wait & build tension

woman on bike reaching for man's hand behind her also on bike

Photo by Everton Vila on Unsplash

Romance novels are all about the journey. Readers are looking to follow their main couple through a rollercoaster of emotions and watch as they overcome all adversity to reach their happy ending!

It's important to let the romance and tension build through your story! Lingering glances, witty and flirtatious banter, baring their vulnerable sides to each other, going through life-threatening situations together... these are all ways to build romantic tension throughout your story.

We hope that this article has helped you feel more prepared to tackle your romance novel, short story or fanfiction! Happy Valentine's Day!