What do you like about slowburn romances?

Great topic to be thrown into 2023. Just saying. What’s going on with the forum code right now?

Sorry, I’m not sure if I understand?

Oh, I liked this post. Let’s find out why,

Breath escapes all. Haven’t been this excited and influenced by an ocean narrative since SOMA. Future SOMA has nothing to do with past Night Market.

Kinda cool you Hannah can show up in a thread that no one has seen in months/years,

I have no idea what is happening. I’m just clicking on the next forum profile thing. The thing that beeps is me, bug I’m just trying to get back to that one thread from at least 4 days ago.

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It’s just because I started the thread - I got a notification about the post :slight_smile:

Sounds like you may be clicking on the Related Topics, maybe? Or the forum software might be doing something strange with notifications - I think I saw someone else mention that they were getting notifications that they didn’t expect. No worries!

Ah, okay. Nothing to do with the 200 notifications.

I’m only clicking on blue notification topics. I’m trying to get back to that one topic from at least 3 days ago. I can’t find it. I keep getting introduced to new topics I’ve never been to before.

You can go into your Preferences > Notifications to reduce your notifications if they’re annoying. If you scroll down to the bottom of a topic, there’s a button that looks like this:

And if you set that to “Normal”, it’ll get rid of blue reply numbers for topics that you don’t want to be tracking. That may help make things more manageable :slightly_smiling_face: I know it has for me!

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Okay, thank you. Not sure why I started getting notifications for a bunch of threads I’ve never visited before. I thought it meant they were threads I was supposed to post in. Cracked my brain even further.

The fact that they come with usually much larger rewards both physically and materially. (looks at lady welles)

This. I hate it when games immediately force me to fall in love or flirt with a character if I want to get with them, without any time to get to know them. Even if I already like the character based on what I’ve seen, being forced into a relationship with them or being forced to instantly have feelings for them without having gotten to know them better in-game feels stifling and restrictive to me.

I know for a lot of people here, slow burn = pining, and that friends to lovers is different from slow burn, but that’s not the case for me. Because imo if the characters immediately fall in love with each other, even if they take ages to actually get together, then that’s still fast burn: because their “flame” is already “burning” almost immediately.

In my view of things, pining isn’t a requirement for slow burn, and friends to lovers is a form of slow burn, though it’s not the only dynamic you can have.

For me, slow burn is all about getting to know the character: getting closer, sharing moments together, and gradually falling in love - letting that flame simmer instead of immediately making it burn, so to speak. Which, this getting to know part doesn’t have to be completely sexless: it can start as a sex-only thing and evolve into more, or it can start as just allies and evolve into more, or it can start as outright friends or rivals or enemies or whatever else and evolve into more. But all of this still falls under slow burn for me, because the romantic feelings aren’t instantly there.

Though all of this might also be because I myself am aspec. I’m seeing a trend here of aspec people having different definitions of slow burn/different wants in a slow burn relationship than other people, so this might be an interesting case of sexuality and romantic attraction directly affecting what one perceives ‘slow burn’ to be.


The problem with slowburn this slow is that it might require more than one book… of the slow being burned :thinking: if you want that prime ‘getting to know each other slowly’ experience (though I don’t think that should end after the romance has been established).
That kind of slowburn has its audience but you also see a lot of complaints (‘whole book of romance for a peck on the cheek?’ etc).


Yes and no. It’s true that a lot of the slow burns I enjoyed the most took or are taking more than one book, but I do also believe there’s a middle ground to be found that can satisfy everyone, even if your story is only a single book.

Like, being forced to flirt and have my character react romantically right from the get-go is what bothers me the most, so while it might not be my theoretical ideal romance or whatever, I’d still be fine with an author writing stuff in a way where I can romance a character without being forced to do that. And hey, who knows, I might even be pleasantly surprised in some cases.

For example: the relationship with Tesla in War of the Currents is still my favorite in all CoG so far, and I remember really enjoying the way the flirting mechanic was implemented in Body Count, and those two only span a single book (so far. I’m not 100% sure about Body Count, but I doubt it’ll take more than one book, considering what its plot is), so it’s definitely possible, it just takes extra work.


Slow burn (or is it better to say "slow build’ or “slow pace”?) is my favourite type of romance, when characters have time to get to know each other, respect and trust each other before anything romantic and sexual happens. And I prefer when characters don’t have previous history together, otherwise it can be slow romance for characters but fast for the player. Though I understand that it is impossible to implement in the single book (and that many players don’t like it). Also, often in games taking thing slower means that you miss interaction with RO: it is either some heated confessions or sex, or nothing at all.


With slow burn, there is almost always nothing but longing looks and flirting up until the very end, where you either get to kiss the LI, bang the LI, or start a relationship with the LI (that you never get to see because you spent the entire time either acting coquettish or stammering like a helicopter the whole damned game).

This is why I hate slow burn. I want to see the relationship, not spend an entire game (or even most of it) chasing some bastard down and begging him to get with my MC. Seriously, romance in these games has become like Batman movies–I’ve seen the origin story enough, so give me something interesting.


In a completed game I absolutely love em…in a wip it kills me!!

Have you tried Noblesse Oblige? one route is pretty much a demi romance from the beginning.

On the plus side, I learnt a new word!

(Also now I want to see a romance with Batman origin story.)

That’s the thing, I’ve seen a lot of people be excited about unresolved slow burns (like WIPs or unfinished series) but not so much where a slower-paced romance is playable from beginning to end, and I’ve also seen people wanting more time in the romance itself. I wonder if the thrill of anticipation and getting hyped waiting for future games keeps the slow burn… well, burning for those who enjoy it?

That’s really interesting - I think when I hear “slow burn” I do think of pining/yearning or maybe something where the characters are oblivious or in denial but the player knows what’s going on. It’s very helpful to see other perspectives as it’s easy to fall into assuming what people are referring to!

I’ve been thinking a lot about romance path structures since first making this thread 10(?!) months ago and I don’t think I’ve come to any major conclusions, other than that I’ve gained some more experience in writing (slightly) slower-paced romances and don’t know how some writers have the patience to draw out the burning so long, I’m not sure that I do :sweat_smile: but it’s good to consider how different paces can work for different characters and situations, and hopefully help paths feel varied.


I really like slower romances, I find it rather awkward to have a character introduce themselves in one scene and ask if you want to have sex in the next one. I’d rather get to know someone first instead of jumping straight into the explicit stuff. In my opinion a slower romance tends to focus on the MC as a character rather than just a body to get a quick fix. If it’s only about sex it doesn’t matter whether it’s the MC or a random passerby. In a slowburn story there’s a stronger focus on the characters and their relationships. Comfort and (platonic) intimacy is just as important as the explicit stuff.

One of my favorite fantasy stories is a slowburning romance spanning 3 books. It’s roughly divided in 3 themes: book 1 character development of a sheltered MC and worldbuilding (also introduction of the love interest). Book 2: character development of the love interest. Book 3: climax and ending.

One of the things I liked most about this story is that the characters tend to do their own thing. There’s a lot of action, fighting and moving around in the story yet at the same time there’re several chapters dedicated to getting to know the characters and their interests. Over time they get more comfortable with each other, casual touching and simply enjoying each others company. I also liked that the main characters (MC and LI) intereact with lots of other characters and not just the two of them.

I dislike stories where the characters spend ages pining after one another while having these long internal monologues about the other liking them or not. They could just ask. Nothing wrong with that, right?:sweat_smile:


Personally, I’d say no. I love slow burns and understand that each character has their own pacing, but the way it’s being described here (with nothing but endless pining and flirting in the entire book) isn’t something that I would enjoy reading.

When I think about slow burn it’s more in the sense that the characters won’t be falling in love quickly and I won’t need to flirt with them at the first opportunity in order to romance them. It’s more about being able to spend time with them in a meaningful way and see the relationship develop organically (a healthy amount of pining is always welcomed, though)

I think a good example of it is Nash from Project Hadea. Their route is very slow but even then you can say they care about the MC: it’s in the small gestures, in the way they try to keep MC safe, and the fact that they’re at least making an effort to talk about their feelings. The problem it’s that their relationship is complicated so it’ll take some time.

(the friendly version of Nash’s route anyway, the rivalry one is another thing entirely)


Like so many things, I really like the concept of slowburns, but, more often than not, am disappointed by the execution. It’s especially egregious for this specific element, because i’m not only disappointed, I’m often frustrated and/or disgusted by a lot of writing choices. (this is not specific to IF’s, I’m talking in general.) It’s been so bad that I feel like I’ve shyed away from things that use the word itself, because most of the time they’re advertising a very long will-they-won’t-they that doesn’t interest me at all.

The appeal of slowburns to me is the slowly falling in love over the time of knowing eachother, building up trust and a good foundation of a relationship and spending quality time getting to know the other(s). It’s the natural flow of the romance, without any sudden infatuation, and one day having the realization of: “Hey. Am I in love with this person? I might be in love with this person.” So many slowburns start with a Love at First Sight kind of feel, with sweaty palms and stuttering everywhere, and then three books of dancing around getting together, when they both KNOW and REALIZE their feelings. I’m also not too much a fan of obliviousness, because it’s usually a case of naivete and/or only one party is oblivious and the other is living in Yearning and Misery as they feel but cannot actively be with the person. It doesn’t bother me when the reasons for not confessing are actually plausible for the character, it’s just not a dynamic that interests me, unless the characters themselves are particularly interesting. On its own it doesn’t really have much to offer me, and I really tend to hate sappy-sorrowful yearning without Actual Cause for sorrow.

However, there are dynamics where this works for me. Person going off to war yearning for someone they left behind that they never ended up confessing to, and the tension of knowing they may never GET to confess, regretting not living life to the fullest before going to war, and praying they survive if only to see the other again? and the other perspective, having someone go off to war and realizing that you miss them more than you knew you would, not knowing if you’ll ever see them again, if they’re dead? WONDERFUL! I love that! It’s so good! It’s sad, but it’s so good! On the flip side… the sappy romantic pining and yearning for someone because “Oooh she’s just so out of my league :sob::sob::sob: we’ll NEVER be together… I’m too shy and flustered we’ll just share Meaningful Glances from across the coffeeshop and stare at eachother in the grocery store… I’m just gonna sit here in bed and scroll through our texts even though I literally have nothing to lose from confessing because she’s proven again and again to be a kind and understanding person that is friends with me and enjoys my company and spends as much time as she can with me and is single and has shown an interest in romance… but we’ll NEVER BE TOGETHER…”

I’m okay with it in moderation! But more than one book of this is WAY too much for me. It becomes redundant, it becomes predictable, it becomes boring. The plus side of the first one, and why it can be drawn out for longer, is that there are other more important and immediate things for the PC to focus on. There are other dangers, other conflicts, other things to think about, but for the second one? The romance is often the main conflict, and it just… isn’t a very interesting one. There isn’t a lot of nuance to it there. I dunno. It can be done well, but a lot of the ones I’ve seen have me tearing my hair out in annoyance :sweat_smile:. I guess it’s just not for me.