Romancing the Reader: How to Write Swoonworthy Love Scenes

kiss

Whether writing about sweet first kisses or passionate embraces, here are five tips and tricks to make your love scenes sizzle…

1. Turn up the tension from the get-go

Just like any real-life love affair, it’s not all about the destination – half the fun is getting there. When developing a romantic relationship in your novel, remember to build tension over time, from the first encounter all the way through to the fireworks. That way, when hearts finally collide, the reader is just as invested in the romance as the characters.

kaboom

A good love scene should explode off the page…

Which brings me to point number 2…

2. Let the relationship progress naturally, whatever pace that may be

Every relationship is different. Every Antony has his own baggage, every Cleopatra her own insecurities, every Bonnie and Clyde, their own romantic pace. Some characters fall in love instantly, while others burn hotter over time. Some are inhibited by fear, others jump in feet first.

Don’t force a love scene. Let the story guide you.

Wedding dance lovers man and woman pop art retro style. Feelings emotions romance. Art music ringtones. Girl and marriage. Couple dancing

A good love scene should leave the reader wanting more…

If the characters aren’t feeling it, you can bet your reader won’t be either.

3. Reveal character – no sauce for the sake of being saucy

You might have an Ice Queen who’s cold and distant on the outside, but when you get her alone with her flame she melts like a marshmallow (Frozen 2, perhaps?). Alternatively, Mr Prim and Proper who always plays nice in the boardroom might break all the rules behind closed doors (yes, I mean you, Mr Grey).

Love scenes are an amazing opportunity to reveal character and show an alternative side to your Juliets and your Romeos. It’s also a good way to expose the underlying motivations of characters – motivations they otherwise work hard to conceal.

A good love scene should reveal more than just skin…

Spies have been utilising the age-old art of pillow talk for centuries to acquire classified information. You should use it too.

4. Don’t get caught up in play-by-play action

There’s nothing worse than a love scene that reads like a how-to manual – “She touched him here, he caressed her there, and then they kissed…” and so on and so on.

Show the reader what’s going on inside Rhett’s head. Describe what Scarlett is feeling. Examine the way Tristan and Isolde’s encounter changes everything between them.

Teleport your reader into the story by describing sounds, smells, tastes.

A good love scene should ...

A good love scene should explore the physical and the emotional…

Remember, a really good romantic interlude evokes the senses and explores emotions.

5. Read novels by authors who do it well

Everything you need to know about writing love scenes you can find on the pages of your favourite books. So dig up that romance novel you adored as a teen and that steamy suspense that kept you up all night, and study the art of composing love scenes.

A good love scene should leave a reader satisfied...

A good love scene should leave a reader satisfied…

Your bookshelves are a treasure trove of writerly wisdom.

Some of my favourites for sweet kisses are the works of Maggie Stiefvater and GJ Stroud (you read her extract last week, right? PURE love scene magic right there!). For steamier scenes, I definitely recommend Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series. I have to admit, I also have a soft spot for anything penned by Johanna Lindsey (the first romance novel I ever read was Silver Angel). Although, be sure to keep in mind, the kind of writing readers enjoy changes over time. Techniques that may have been popular back in the 80s and 90s, may no longer hold the same appeal.

Do you have a favourite author who composes loves scenes as potent as Cupid’s arrows? Be sure to share them with us below…

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Categories: Writing | Tags: | 2 Comments

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2 thoughts on “Romancing the Reader: How to Write Swoonworthy Love Scenes

  1. Pingback: Romancing the Reader: How to Write Swoonworthy Love Scenes – pjbyerwriterblog

  2. Great post for writers! It has been very fun juggling romance in my books without having them turn into romance novels. The Neverland Wars series is firmly in the adventure/fantasy genre, but I don’t think it would be true to the teenage experience without a little love! I’ve been really trying to hone my sense of pacing, especially since I have three books over which to unfold this B Plot love story 🙂 I’ll have to remember this post the next time I know someone’s struggling to figure out their love scenes!

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