Saturday, February 2, 2019

From the Heart: How to Write a Clean Romance While Avoiding Stereotypes

I tell everyone that I don’t like romances. When someone asks what my favorite genre is I will usually say mystery, classics, historical fiction, etc., anything other than romance. When characters kiss in movies I am the person who closes my eyes, sticks my tongue out, or covers my face. I have even been known to groan.

But anyone who really knows me will tell you otherwise. I even believed this lie until one day I was telling my mom my five favorite movies; she pointed out to me that four out of five of them were romances.

Since then I have come to the realization that I am actually a huge fan of romances, (and have even written one myself,) but I am very picky. Today I am going to be sharing with you three tips on how to write sweet, wholesome romances, and how to avoid writing stereotypical ones.

(Note: I have seen exceptions to all of these that are truly wonderful, I have just noticed that most books or movies are more enjoyable without them.)

1. Remove the “Love at first sight” trope.

This one is my biggest pet-peeve. Remember when I mentioned groaning earlier? This is usually the cause. As I said, I have seen exceptions that work really well, but in general: just no. Love is a really powerful word. Love is a really powerful action. I can definitely understand that people are attracted to “good looks”, but that is what I would call infatuation, not genuine love. When you genuinely love someone it is for their personality, because of who they are. It doesn’t matter what they are wearing, or look like, because spending time with them, and being near them is a joy to you.

Just do whatever you can to avoid this.

2. Become the characters.

In a really good book you become the characters, so the writer must do the same thing. If you are uncomfortable, your readers are going to be uncomfortable, and that is not good, that is not what you want.

3. Give them faults.

This is the one that I really struggle with, I want all of my characters to be perfect! But what is the point of a story without the characters becoming better? If no one improves then the story doesn’t go anywhere. Just remember to keep it clean and show that they are faults, that no one is perfect.

Remember to always write rebelliously!

Yours &c.

Clare A.

P.S. We're trying out a new blog banner theme as our old one has been discontinued on Canva. How do you readers like it? Tell us in the comments! 


  1. oh, this is so me! I used to say I didn't like romances. But now I say I like realistic romance. And I do have a bit of romance in most of my books. But the love at first sight REALLY annoys me. Or kissing or saying "I Love you" after just a couple days. I've even had arguments with friends about how this isn't real love but lust haha! Great post, Clare!

    1. Yes, realistic romance! Exactly, when it is possible it is very sweet and I really appreciate and enjoy it. YES!!! If don't even know them, you don't love them! Thanks, Keturah!

  2. The love at first sight stuff.....*groans* I really love it when people doesn't necessarily want to marry each other instantly, but through a series of events spend more time together and realize they really enjoy being with each other...I love it!!

    1. Ah, yes! I love it when characters just spend time with each other, enjoying the other person's company without being completely and over the top romantic. I wish it was used more often!

  3. I tend to dislike romance, unless Brandon Sanderson writes it. I finally realized what the reason is though. To be interested in romance, I have to love both the characters. If I don't care about one of them, I won't care about the romance. For example, in Elantris, the female character is basically marrying because she feels she's too old, too tall, and she wrote letters to the guy she's never met. I could relate well to her. The guy in question is self-sacrificing and tries to help others, plus he always looks on the bright side, so I liked him too. In Mistborn, it's similar. Vin's an interesting kick butt character, and Eland's a guy who is always trying to do the right thing.

    1. I've never read a Brandon Sanderson book, but from what you said it sounds like I'd enjoy it! Liking the characters is very important! I recently read a book where I like the girl, but not the guy! It made it hard read. Thanks for your comment!