Writing: Romance


#1

I have been trying to come up with a story and I always like to put romance it whatever the genre I might come up with. Like it would be fantasy and romance or historical fiction and romance. The thing is I don’t really mind world building or researching about a certain era to get an idea about that time. It’s much easier, in a way, for me to write a paragraph about it but when I actually try to come up and write romantic scenes. It always feels wrong either it is too cheesy or odd to my liking. Or I just completely abandon the main plot and get distracted.

I tried writing a fantasy/history plot alone but then I always find my mind drifting to romantic scenarios and prompts.

How do you balance writing a story with romance as a subplot?
Or how do you even write romance without destroying it?


#2

I always assume as a reader (and possible future writer) of COG that there are three possible situations when it comes to romance in COG…

  1. Romance is the dominant genre, so clearly it needs to have a lot of variation and flexibility in there. I notice we have a greater range of Romance focused games coming out over this year than before, which is nice.
  2. Then as you mentioned we have LOADS of games which are ‘and romance’ experiences. Honestly I think these can be done in lots of way since romance is not the focus. Maybe you want romance to be important, maybe it’s just a nice extra which won’t affect the outcome too much. Every writer who creates a normal game which happens to include romance probably has different opinions on how important (and stressful) romance should be in the game design, exactly because romance is easily the most popular subplot, and can indeed even overshadow much of everything else (see most decent Bioware games). So the good news is these games probably don’t have any one set way to write romance in. It’s up to you.
  3. Lastly there’s games without romance at all. I actually find it admirable if any goes for this since it’s likely a tough choice given how as I said romance is such a popular subplot, but if you honestly want to do a game without romance or just focus on something like family ties or platonic friendships, that’s totally fine.

Hope that makes sense! I’ll leave the actual writing to people far greater than I am. :stuck_out_tongue:


#3

I recommend conceiving of the romance as essential to the plot, to the main narrative. It will feel odd if it is just adjunct to the main storyline. This may require reworking your plot or ditching some characters you originally thought of as romantic characters.

Like any story, romance needs room to breathe, and to have a beginning, middle, and end(s). Good romance needs a lot of time and scenes devoted to it. I know that I get very, very deeply emotionally enmeshed with my perceived audience when I am writing romance. I have to find ways to attract, seduce, intrigue, and befriend thousands of strangers with just my words, and I need a lot of time to do that.

But here’s a writing trick. I forget where I learned it.

When you have a scene meant to arouse emotion, always have the conversation be about two things at the same time. If you are talking about how the flowers are wilting, we are also talking about how time is running short for us to connect. If I’m complaining about how you haven’t refilled the pitcher, the reader understands that this conversation is not really about the pitcher. Real conversations often have these levels of said and unsaid running through them, and you can use this technique to a) help the player feel like they get what’s going on, unsaid, in a character’s mind, which b) helps make a character feel more three-dimensional, which c) allows them to feel more like someone to love.


#4

As someone who’s writing a 4-part romance series, THANK YOU.


#5

@derekmetaltron [quote=“derekmetaltron, post:2, topic:35135”]
Every writer who creates a normal game which happens to include romance probably has different opinions on how important (and stressful) romance should be in the game design, exactly because romance is easily the most popular subplot, and can indeed even overshadow much of everything else (see most decent Bioware games). So the good news is these games probably don’t have any one set way to write romance in. It’s up to you.
[/quote]

I think this is one of the main causes I get stuck a lot when writing romance. Since there had been a lot of writers out there that had their own take on romance, it is somehwhat hard not to use those as a some sort of guide. But I think I need to start embracing the idea of not following it anymore and be more flexible.

This is very insightful! A romance where the characters involved that feels more three dimensional like actual people you can picture in real life is something I’ve been trying to write. Since as a reader, I think a good story is when the author has successfully attached the readers to their stories or worlds through their characters.


#6

I might suggest (since I would likely do it this way if I actually finally get round to start writing one of these things sometime maybe, lol) is to both think about how many romance options you want and the importance to the main game narrative romance will actually be, whilst you then think about the characters you want to have. But make them be CHARACTERS first, romance options second. Remember that you would probably want readers to come to like these characters regardless of whether they elect to try romancing them or not. And later think about how that character might view romance - do they flirt like crazy or get awkward about it? Are they searching for a traditional or less conventional romance or partner? That’s how I might approach it. :slight_smile:


#7

Romance is kinda the reason I got into these games actually. Having a really strong romance makes a game so much better for me, but I kinda want a reason for the romance to happen. Having the story there gives vast opportunities for bonding and learning about the RO.

I’m somewhat in the same spot actually, I plan on making a game with a lot of characters available to romance. But I really found other things that also interested me such as cyberpunk dystopias, modern fantasy settings. Find other things that interest you, do a little bit of world building and branch out from conflict.

Conflict is how you get the bread and butter romance parts.


#8

Oh no, my mind goes back into that library of cheesy flirting line.
:laughing: