Your character enters the room, beautifully attired. They walk down the stairs, almost in slow-motion. The room becomes blurry, only focusing on them. They might hold their worst enemy’s eye, they might feel the weight of a dagger strapped to their leg. And so the ballroom scene begins.
An intriguing scene, it will keep your readers invested in the details and the feelings of your characters. But what would be a ballroom scene without dancing? Dancing is one of the most personal, tender, and beautiful forms of expression for human beings. I would love to read more ballroom scenes, so I have put together a guide to describing and choosing dance styles.
Romance in literature often features a “will they/won’t they” dynamic, and for good reason. It’s entertaining and engaging, keeping the reader invested in the characters. We want the best for our “ships”, and the will they/won’t they dynamic — as frustrating as it can be sometimes — plays into our investment in the character.
Of course, at the end of the story, there must come an answer: will they, or won’t they? As rewarding as it is to see the protagonist win over their love, sometimes it’s better for the characters to stay separate.
N.b. For the purposes of this article, I will be mainly referring to female characters in the action/adventure genre, rather than in romance
We often see figures of female empowerment in the media. Characters who are meant to be badass independent women, who are well beyond functioning and thriving without the help of a man, sometimes even being the ones to save their male counterparts. Gone are the days of the static damsel in distress, waiting in the castle for Prince Charming. Now, we have Fiona, Captain Marvel, Vi, and more, but despite all this, we still have a big problem with the way strong female/feminine characters are portrayed in the media. This is, unfortunately, the way they are portrayed in relationships.
For some reason, love is usually shown as a burden to female characters. Falling in love or caring about another person in a romantic sense slows them down. They can only focus on fighting, defeating the bad guy or whatever the main plot calls for. Finding a romantic partner is seen as automatically removing their agency, and reducing them to weak female stereotypes. This obvious double standard, that has surprisingly been left unchecked for so long, claims that once a woman is paired with a man, she is automatically giving herself away. It is impossible for a woman to retain the same strength, resilience and power she once possessed if she is paired with a man. Writing it all down is quite frankly ridiculous.
Contains spoilers from Pride and Prejudice.
Let me start with the fact that I don’t like Jane Austen, in fact, I refused to read any of her work until I was forced to read Sense and Sensibility in my freshman year of college. Avoiding Austen at all costs probably had something to do with internalized misogyny(re: my article about YA Romance), but I also have/had legitimate qualms with her writing style.
I found and still find Austen’s sentence structure to be annoying and grammar overworked. But there’s no getting around that because Pride and Prejudice was written over 200 years ago! Don’t you think it would be weird if her writing didn’t sound weird to modern tastes? Now that I’ve read more than one Jane Austen book, I now believe that Jane Austen doesn’t entirely suck. We love character growth.
The YA author wakes up in a cold sweat. They have dreamt up their worst nightmare.
A single character. A character not in an ever-lasting monogamous relationship, who doesn't have their ‘after the book’ arc mapped out, with 2 kids and eternal happiness.
Truly the stuff of nightmares.
In YA, every side character needs to be paired off, needs to at least have a hinted romantic interest. God forbid there’s nothing to write fanfiction about.
This is the slightest bit of a problem because… a good chunk of teens don’t date. And an even larger chunk of teens don’t date with the promise of forever. Add concerns such as saving the world onto the plates of many YA protagonists, and dating seems like it should be the last thing on a character’s mind.
How often do we use the word “love” in a day? We use it to show affection, enthusiasm, and joy for the people and things in our lives. While the word may be the same, the way we use it differentiates: one doesn’t necessarily love their favorite book like they love their partner.
Love exists in different forms. The Greeks actually used about six different words for the various kinds of love. Identifying love in it’s multiple forms can help us write realistic relationships, romantic or otherwise.
Fingers brushing, gazes holding, or inside joking… however it starts, it’s the moment when a romance takes a turn, when the reader feels a little jolt of excitement, like they know exactly where this is going. The reader is able to spot the beginning of a romance even before your characters do. And it’s this feeling, this shift and shared knowledge between writer and reader, that I live for in Romance stories. Because no gaze, hand hold, or joke is ever accidental when a writer is behind it. In this article, I’ll teach you some ways to create that spark and keep readers invested.
In honor of making V-Day as queer as possible, I’m bringing you some of my favorite recent YA reads featuring queer romance! I decided to branch out of the romance genre for this, so you’ll find my favorite queer romances within graphic novels, science fiction, and fantasy.
1. City of Shattered Light by Claire Winn
The heiress and the outlaw is always a great trope but turns out it’s even better when it’s gay. Unfortunately, the romance takes a slight backseat here as the main characters stay focused on a) not getting their organs harvested and b) saving a family member, but I suppose those reasons take fair precedence over a love story. Winn’s debut is a fast-paced, plot-driven book with a stunning world, fantastic characters, and plot twists all around. The romance is beautifully built, and Winn is amazing at getting readers to really root for the main characters.
As writers, our craft revolves around words. The ones we choose, the ways we place them, and what do they reflect. Communication shapes our perspective and language offer us the opportunity to build the world around us. And, throughout the globe, there are hundreds if not thousands of words that are unique to one language. I believe that it is useful to know new concepts and cultures through words, so here are two of my favorite words in Spanish that do not have a precise English translation.
The 14th of February is coming in just a few hours and as people go to flowers & chocolate shops (or order them online ‘cause you know) to celebrate love, here I am single and listening to podcasts, not as alone as the celebration might make me look.
On Valentine's day we get too focused in celebrating just 1 kind of love: heteromantic / sexual that we sort of forget about the others. That’s why you should listen to Love and Luck: