How to Write Romance

Romance Writing by guest blogger Jan Marquart

Why is writing romance so challenging? Because you not only have to portray the hopes, wishes and desires of the heart, but also face the daunting task of resolving struggles between a couple that continually falls in and out of love – and by the way, don’t dread breaking hearts in the process. Romance readers enjoy being teased. They want to be involved in the hopes, conflicts and ‘love will conquer all’ theory.

How Explicit Should Sex Be?

Many authors rely on sex to pull their scenes together, but writing erotica with sexual and explicit details sucks the life out of the fantasy you’re creating. You want the reader to feel the emotion. Romance is seductive, enticing, playful, with an innocence of purity. It begs the heart to open with trust and willingness.

Give your characters a unique slant on what romance means to them. It will enhance the powerful relationship between your characters. Romance has different definitions for different people. Did you ever see a fountain with colorful lights lit against the night sky and hear someone say, “How romantic”?
Finding a red rose on a doorstep would be romantic for one person but for another it may take a busy husband buying tickets to a play and taking her out for a fancy dinner. True romance, no matter what the content, opens the heart and fills it.

Three Tips to Strengthen Romantic Scenes

* Create a mood: A good romantic scene melts the reader’s heart before anyone removes clothing. Make the reader pay attention to small but important things that inspire intimacy. Pry open the crack in their heart. Make a connection so the reader will feel the emotion.
* Stop the mind: When selecting words to describe romantic scenes, try stating romantic feelings through one or two similes. (Comparing one thing to the resemblance of another, usually using the word “like” or “as”. Example: Your eyes are like lipid pools of water splashing in the midday sun.) A simile takes the reader out of the literal and drops him/her into a world where the senses take over.
* Create a union: Readers want to know that love will change unhappiness to happiness and the ordinary to extraordinary. This is what drives us to romance again and again. Readers want to feel joined to something bigger than them. They want loving unions that offer hope.

Writers write best when they write what they know. What does romance mean to you? What makes your heart unlock? Write those feelings out in detail and then make them part of your character.

* Jan Marquart is the author of seven books, including Kate’s Way and The Basket Weaver, in addition to two booklets. Jan has been a licensed social worker for 30 years. She writes self-help and fiction books to advocate the strength of the human spirit and healing of the mind, body and spirit through the craft of writing. You can connect with her through or visit her blog at

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