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DO YOU NEED ROMANCE IN YOUR STORY?

October 20, 2021

            The other day, a question came up on one of the fantasy forums about whether it’s required to have a romance thread in every fantasy forum.

            That brings up the bigger question.

            Do you, as an author, need to bring up a romance thread in any story you write?

            Before I give my personal answer, let’s look at romance and its ins and outs.

ROMANCE

            Romance is the affectionate and emotional attraction between two people. It can lead to mental or physical interplay. Sounds like a mouthful, but that’s basically what it is.

            It’s especially attractive to the female gender, but only especially, because it’s not exclusive to female readers. Some of all sexes and persuasions expect it in whatever they read.

            There are those that do not.

THE TROPE

            Romance can be a trope, well-overused by some. I think that’s what the poster was talking about in the fantasy forum.

            There’s nothing mandatory about having romance in any story except the romance genre. In any other genre, it’s almost obligatory, but can also be considered cliché and a trope. In some genres, it’s an inconvenience and an annoyance. In some genres it has no place at all.

            Yet, that never stops writers from including it if they so desire.

ATTRACTION BETWEEN PEOPLE

            When you’re displaying emotional connections between people in a story, there can’t help but be attractions, both emotional and sometimes physical. It’s how far you want to take it. In some cases, depending on how intense the story goes, this attraction may never get beyond the mildest flirting or inner unspoken feelings. In other cases, it may go beyond into real, spoken and even the physical.

            It all depends on what the story calls for or where you, as the writer, want it to go.

            Romance has its place, but are you prepared for it?

ROMANCE CAN BE AWKWARD

            If you don’t know what you’re doing, or are not feeling it, even if you draw your story into a corner where a romantic entanglement becomes inevitable, maybe you just don’t have the chops to pull it off. Then, it either becomes porn, flat, or decidedly unromantic. Or it may come off as blatantly cliché in which case it’ll be awkward and insincere to your audience.

            This is where romance is likely to not have any place in your story and you’re probably better off steering clear of it and better to go for your forte, whatever that may be.

            Or, you can seek out a forum or a training session on writing it effectively, if it’s something you really need to include in your story.

            The thing is, does it really need to be there?

MY STORY

            I’m not a huge fan of romance.

            The thing for me is that when I read a book and there are romantic scenes, I tend to skip them, or scan them just to see if there’s some key plot element I need for future reference.

            Not my thing.

            So, with that in mind, why would I write it?

            A few of my stories have a mild bit of romance, dancing around it a bit, but only one has anything specific in it. That manuscript isn’t published yet.

            I want to leave the heavy stuff for the authors that have the expertise.

            If I wanted to get into some heavy romantic scenes, I know just the person and the sessions where I could learn to do it effectively. The thing is that I have no interest in it.

            I repeat, not my thing.

SUMMARY

            Romance is a biological and emotional part of life. Yet, there’s not a rule or law that says you have to write it into every story. It’s entirely up to you whether you want to include it into yours.

            If you do, make sure you know what you’re doing, Grasshopper.

            Happy writing!

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