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Writing with Romance in Mind
Transcript of Writing with Romance in Mind
What does each character want, and what
stands in the way of him/her getting it?
500 Days of Summer
Central Question of Romance:
Will they make it as a couple or won't they?
You need well-developed characters--what makes your people unique?
In order to make us FEEL, you need
to appeal to our SENSES.
This is especially important in romance.
Plenty of obstacles!--even more
than you think you need.
Then, let external conflict fling your people together (or apart).
The world you build is
potentially not as important
as the characters you render.
This might be a place to let tropes
do the heavy lifting. Romance
tends to focus on Character.
What are romance cliches?
(Let's make a list)
1. Pick something you like about your best friend.
4. What is something you are good at?
3. What was the name of your first friend you can remember?
2. Pick something you hate about your worst enemy.
5. Now take all of these things & flesh out a character--
we'll call this your protagonist.
Now look at your protagonist's main weakness.
What does your protagonist need to LEARN?
What is a concrete event your protagonist could
be involved in so as to learn this lesson?
2. Now look at your protagonist's main strength.
How can you use this strength to help them
learn the lesson?
1. Witty and smart.
2. Gossipy & jumps to conclusions
4. Walking places other people would drive.
Also being in charge of things.
5. Elizabeth is the second oldest of 5 sisters. Her
parents are on the irresponsible side, her older sister
is beautiful, her younger sisters are pretty self-centered
and silly. She gets up early to take long, solitary walks.
She is self-confident. She jumps to conclusions easily, however, and relishes a bit too much in gossip.
1. She needs to learn to talk to the actual people
when she hears a rumor or makes an assumption.
She could overhear someone say something against
her at a party.
2. She is smart & witty, so she is charming--even
to someone who she makes gossipy assumptions about.
What characteristics of your protagonist's love
match can help your protagonist learn the lesson?
3. Elizabeth needs someone who calls her on
the carpet--someone who is honest and straightforward
and sees through her charm to this flaw to help her fix it.
4. What could stand in the way of this person helping
your protagonist learn the lesson right away?
(We're thinking obstacles here).
4. At first, the love match is too straightforward &
honest and comes off as rude. The love match seems to
dislike many things about her family. The love match is
also much wealthier.
Some final pre-planning thoughts:
1. When you find yourself falling into cliche,
try swinging in the opposite direction. Flip
the gender roles. Switch out an expected career
for an unexpected one. Add more detail.
2. We will be totally happy for your people to get
together if there is enough they have to fight against.
Might you add a competitor? Distance? Unexpected
event? Be a sadist! Get in their way!
3. Your people can want to be together but
circumstances keep them apart. They can not like
each other at all, then they get thrown together. Or
one person can be interested while the other isn't at first.
That's pretty much the three scaffolds. It's your job to
fill it in with interesting characters, lots of struggle, and