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Romance Taking Over the Story

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Anonymous asked: “I feel like I’ve been focusing on all the wrong parts of my story, namely the romance. But my story is by no means a romance novel. I don’t know how to get the plot rolling without focusing on what the plot points do to the couple.”

If you’re new to writing romance in a story, it can be really exciting to have a romantic subplot. You might find yourself writing a lot of romance, just because it’s fun and and you’re learning a lot about these characters in a way you hadn’t been in other scenes, but sometimes too, we get carried away…

I’ve done it before too. In fact, I know I’m writing something I actually like when I’m not getting carried away with the romantic subplot, when I find I’m actually way more interested in the central plot of the story. I want to say though, if your story – even if it’s certainly not bodice-ripper – is interested in the romance it’s not shameful to make that a bigger part of the main plot. You see that in instances like Beauty and the Beast. (I guess you can argue that’s more of a romance than a fantasy story, but looking at retellings of the same tale, that’s not universally true.) 

If you’re feeling uninspired by the central plot, I recommend taking a hard look at the story you’re writing. What’s cool about it? What parts of it are you really looking forward to write about? Sometimes it’s a matter of refocusing and looking back on what made you excited about this story when you first started writing it. Sometimes you need to write some sword fights to remember just how much you loved those sword fights. 

Also, sometimes you need to set limits on your romance. What are the boundaries? What scenes are necessary? Which scenes are cute and fun for you to write that really add nothing to the plot? If you’re writing a lot of romantic scenes that do nothing to further the plot, you may have a problem. In those instances, I suggest trying to find ways to combine the scenes you don’t want to cut with scenes of that move the plot forward. While your characters were busy with that hot and heavy make-out session, what was everyone else doing? Let them get interrupted by cannonballs and battleships. Let the plot keep going. 

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