Everyone loves a good romance, and even novels which wouldn’t necessarily fall under the romance genre often have subplots or side stories which sees some of the main characters forming romantic relationships.
But unless you are going for a full-blown kick back with a cocktail by the pool kind of romance, where it’s OK for it to be a little cheesy, it’s vital to try to make sure that you write a love story that doesn’t make your reader cringe.
On the flip-side, concentrating too hard on trying to avoid the cheese can end up meaning that your romance comes across as a little dull.
So how do you do it well? Here are some useful tips to get the balance right.
Steer clear of clichés
A love story littered with clichés can’t help but be cheesy. Eyes across a crowded room, love at first sight, both characters being impeccably good looking, one character who is super shy or unpopular and the other who isn’t and the budding romance between them – these are all clichés that are often used in romance stories. The more original you are, the more you’ll capture your reader’s attention and ensure that you stop your story from being too cheesy.
Give your characters time to get to know one another before they fall in love. If you let the romance slowly unravel over time, this can help to make your story more believable and relatable and this is important if you want your readers to buy into your romance. If they go through important shared experiences, this can help. Characters who have been through something frightening, upsetting, hilarious and so on together will have more of a foundation for their relationship and love to grow from, thus giving proper reasons why they might be in love which your reader can believe.
Don’t make it painfully slow
At the same time, don’t make the romance between the two characters develop so slowly or undramatically that the reader loses interest. Avoiding cheese and the whole ‘love at first sight’ cliché is one thing, but don’t sacrifice the pacing of your story otherwise your readers won’t even care whether the relationship happens and that will make the romance pointless.
Don’t make the romance the only thing going on
Even in a full-blown romance novel, the plot has to be more than just how two characters come to fall in love. There needs to be other things going on to keep the reader’s interested in the book. Take a break from the romance often, don’t make it so all the characters are doing is thinking or talking about each other otherwise you run the risk of boring your reader and bombarding them with the romance so much that they end up entirely disinterested in it.
Minimize the lovey-dovey
The best way to avoid cheese is to turn the dial down on the public displays of affection, and the soppy, romantic thoughts, conversations, and romantic gestures. It’s fine to include this every now and again, but too much will have your readers rolling their eyes and will detract from what else is going on in your book.
Using the above tips can help you write an intriguing, unique romance without the cheese. Do you have any suggestions for writing romance in a novel? Share them with us here!