How to Write a Romantic Story
As Told by an Enthusiastic, Unprofessional Romantic Story Writer
It all starts out with a good character. When I say that, I don’t mean a morally good character. Bad people tend to be crowdpleasers as long as there is a tragic story to why they went bad, without a backstory as such the character is just an mean person, which is alright as long as, in the end, their love interest changes that part of them. The bad character has to get morals and realize that they should be good because, suddenly, it all makes sense—the only thing in their life missing was LOVE.
Though, if you AREN’T someone who wants to write about a meanie and how they turn around, there are a lot of other hidden stories for YOU to write. Let’s start with the basic love stories.
FORBIDDEN—That’s a good one. A love for one another so strong that they can’t be separated by whatever or WHOever is keeping them from loving each other. A few of the most famous love stories are about a forbidden love; Romeo and Juliet, for example. A love between teenagers that was so strong that their families, who hated each other, couldn’t keep Romeo from going to love Juliet, and vice versa. But these forbidden stories don’t have to have a person or people in the way of love; it could be a job. Maybe someone can’t date their love interest because a job keeps them from being able to. They are in love but this ONCE IN A LIFETIME kind of job comes up IN CHINA. Will they move to China together? Will she give up the job?? How important is their love struggle? Anyway, going back to Romeo and Juliet, it COULD be a person getting in the way of love. Say a man is dating someone he doesn’t love, but he is arranged to marry her because of his parents. A new woman then comes into his life, and though they are in love, it is FORBIDDEN! No way possible, but maybe it has to be a secret. Maybe love IS POSSIBLE. Ahhh, love. Speaking of Romeo and Juliet, that leads us to our next basic love story.
TRAGEDY, oh, the agony! Tragedy, in some ways, can be like forbidden. For example, not being able to end up together! Like Romeo and Juliet, they would rather DIE than live without one another (Romeo and Juliet spoilers). Juliet goes along to make her father think she is dead so she can be with Romeo, BUT ROMEO DOESN’T KNOW THIS! Romeo kills himself with poison because he cannot live without his lost love, THEN, when Juliet comes to it to find Romeo dead, she stabs herself, also unable to live without HER lost love. It’s horrific. "But they were MEANT for each other!" I hear you scream. I know they were, but it does seem to have grasped your attention as a reader. Tragedy doesn’t mean they have to end up without one another, though you may or may not have thought otherwise. Tragedy doesn’t always have to be in the middle of the love, even if it does make it much more fierce. Tragedy can happen to a specific character. What if the darling main female love interest finds out her pet fish died and gets really bummed out? If her "sweetheart" main male character doesn’t sympathise to her TRAGIC pet fish death, she may realize that he isn’t sympathetic enough for her. Or maybe, to him, she is too fragile for him, pulling them apart from each other. TRAGIC! Though, when they do separate, she comes to find that she cannot LIVE without him by her side, it turns out that it is okay that he isn’t THAT sympathetic because she IS. It works! Wait! What is this? He has a new girlfriend? What is to happen to this darling main female love interest? Shall she never find a love as dear as his?? Or will he find he misses her more than he previously thought? Who’s to know? I am not here to write YOU a story, I’m here to help you write one, so why don’t you tell ME what happens? Moving on to another romantic story that I like.
FORGOTTEN OR NEVER EVEN SEEN—a terrible place to be, especially if you are in high school. A person you were once deeply in love with and they were just as in love with you, too, suddenly out of your life and you are now probably FORGOTTEN. This type of story reminds me of tragedy. What has happened to that forgotten love? Isn’t forgotten love still LOVE?? Whether the love ended because SOMEONE had to find their dream job in China or they were too young and dumb to make it work, their love might’ve been able to LIVE. THAT is what this romantic story is all about; REUNITING!
"Oh, I never thought I would see you again, my love!" he says.
"I thought you had forgotten about me." she cries.
"Not possible," he says right before KISSING her!
"How beautiful," I hear you say. And yes, yes it is. However, it isn’t that simple. In reuniting, they are awkward and maybe don’t even remember their love. HOW TRAGIC!!! Though, through time, they remember everything they’ve done together through thick and thin they remember the LOVE they felt and forget why they broke it off. Speaking of breaking it off...a few stories like these like to start off where they are in immense anger toward each other before finding that that part of their past didn’t matter, and being angry doesn’t even COMPARE TO BEING IN LOVE!! Moving on—as well as being forgotten, never even being seen is almost TWICE AS BAD; watching love from a distance when all you want is for that one guy to notice how perfect you would be as a couple. These stories have a variety of possible endings: the "he noticed me but I then found out love isn’t all about looks," the "I changed for him and it was definitely worth it," or even the "he never noticed me but I got over it," or to counter that, "he didn’t notice me AND I DIDN’T get over it." There are many more endings, but that is for you to choose. It is YOUR story, not mine. I just gave some of the more obvious endings, for example.
Speaking of endings, when writing a romantic story such as what I’ve given great examples to above, and soon to come below—when you are ending a story, you want to make it clear that something has happened. NO ONE likes it when you read a full story just to find out that nothing interesting or important happened. Remember, it doesn’t have to be a big thing that happened, it just has to be SOMETHING! Let’s say that you were writing that story about a meanie and in the end that meanie learns nothing. Now I’m not saying that meanie has to end up with their love interest or that they have to stop being mean, BUT if they don’t end up with the love interest, there must be a reason that happened, right? Now what did happen, exactly? Did the meanie act too mean and the love interest decided to leave? Maybe the love interest told off the meanie and made the meanie angry, OR maybe the love interest just up and left, leaving the meanie to blame the leaving on someone else, turning that meanie meaner. Whether that happens or if the meanie becomes nice, it must mean something happened. Stories are called stories for a reason. Someone does SOMETHING. It can be super important or it could be of unimportance. Either way, if it is interesting, someone will read it. Now that that’s pretty clear, back to types of stories.
FRIENDSHIP—The WORST kind of relationship when all you want to do is fall in love. "But I like friendship," I hear you yell. Kudos for you, but when you are writing a romantic story, you remember that one time your crush asked you that one question and you realized all you wanted to do was be their friend so you could be closer BEFORE realizing that you REALLY just want to be THEIR love interest because that’s how life is. Don’t even deny it! Essentially no one likes that situation, THEREFORE people would relate to the position you would be writing about. It usually is called the friend-zone, so feel free to write that somewhere in your story. These stories almost always have a main, oblivious friend with a close friend that wants to admit their UNDYING love for the main friend, or the main and close friend roles are switched depending on which person you want to be feeling love emotions for. There is also a third party of basic friend-zone story where the characters love each other but can’t say anything because they are afraid the other just won’t understand. Sometimes, in that situation, they believe the other will stop even being their friend if they say even one word. BOTH LONG FOR EACH OTHER, BUT THEY CAN’T SAY ANYTHING FOR THE SAKE OF THEIR FRIENDSHIP! This story is easiest written with teenagers to show how immature both of them still are, or young adults, if that’s the way you want to show their immaturity. BUT even so, in stories like such, love cannot be stopped by a simple lack of honesty between friends. There are a lot of ways for the main character to learn about the other’s long love for the main, and vice versa. I find it fun when the character gets drunk and confesses their love without thought., but maybe you are the type of person who wants to hear the person speak for themselves without the influence of alcohol? Maybe the main character heard through the door that their friend was in love with them, or maybe neither of them ever admit it. This IS still a story YOU are writing, not me. There are a lot more options for finding out. There is always another option when you are talking about LOVE! In stories of the friend-zone a lot of people like to show how close the main characters are and how their friendship can defeat any bully, or whatever obstacle you decide to use in the story. It shows that whether that ‘bully’ is bullying both or just one, your choice, they are still together because they can make it with the power of FRIENDSHIP. As well as having a strong friendship sometimes they have known each other their whole lives MAKING THE BOND EXTRA STRONG AND THE FEAR OF BREAKING IT EXTRA SCARY! Speaking of scary, it reminds me of another story.
THE HERO—Though we are getting out of the basic selection of romantic stories and into more detailed ideas for the beginning of a story. The hero is used quite a lot, but it makes sense. Who doesn’t just love getting saved? It makes you feel protected, right? Usually the one who gets saved is the woman, just because I think women dig getting saved by someone more than men do, maybe? If you’re gonna write a story of two women or two men in the hero format, you will have to choose who will save who. In the hero format, usually the main character is about to get hurt and the love interest saves her. She then finds her LIFELONG LOVE! Of course there is time that has to be taken to eventually find out that it IS love, but before that, there is either a "thank you" or a heart-racing, crying, I-could’ve-died-please-hug-me thankfulness, all depending on how big that save just was. The save doesn’t have to be life threatening or even close to it. They could be at a grocery store and the main character's bag is about to fall to the ground and the love interest grabs it and gives it back before it breaks, or her cart started moving with things still in it because of the wind and the love interest gets it for her before it hits a car. OR it doesn’t even have to be the MAIN character’s fault—the love interest could have let go of his OWN cart and caught it before it ran into the main character. There are a lot of different choices when it comes to this part of the story. There are so many ways they can meet and then fall in LOVE. After they do meet, in whatever perceivable way you choose, they do have to keep in contact somehow. It could be that he asks for her number right after he saves his cart from hitting her, or maybe he asks to hang out with her and talk before doing so. They could even accidentally meet some random time while shopping for christmas gifts,I don’t know. Again, it isn’t MY story. These are choices you have to make for yourself. Maybe you should stop riding my coattails and make up your own story with your own idea. Just don’t use the neighbour, because that’s up next.
THE NEIGHBOUR—An interesting way to meet someone and a hard way to get rid of them. The neighbour—like the hero—is an easy way to introduce the main character and the love interest together to make them fall in LOVE, but unlike the hero, the neighbour is easier to continue to reference how they first met. You know, because they live right next to each other. "It's adorable when they live right next to each other," you say. "FALSE!" I yell. Well, kind of, though it could be what you describe as "adorable," it can also be very annoying. Haven’t you ever just had that neighbour that was super loud, and if you haven’t, I know you’ve heard SOMEONE complain about THEIR loud neighbour. Lucky for annoying neighbours, that might be how they meet! And then fall in LOVE!! But wait, that takes more time. Maybe the main male character is annoyed that the new apartment building neighbour is very loud while the main character is trying to sleep one night, but can’t because of them! That would be when the FURIOUS main character marches over to that neighbour to give 'em a piece of his MIND! He knocks loudly on the door, finger out, ready to give 'em a talking to, when the door opens to reveal a pretty, innocent face that doesn’t know how to control her TV yet. She asks what he wants in a kind manner before the main character’s anger melts away. No need to be furious—it is only seven o'clock. "Please keep it down," he says before she apologises profusely, telling him that she didn’t mean it, her new TV just wouldn’t turn off. That’s when he realizes that she didn’t mean any harm and was actually worried about him, so he offers to help fix that TV problem and then they FALL IN LOVE. It’s quite simple, really. That is, if you choose the route I just laid out for you. Though there are many other ways to go about this, as I have said a few hundred times already. Maybe they don’t live in an apartment. Maybe they are actual houses and noise is not the issue. In that case, think of another reason they would meet; he goes over to welcome her into the neighbourhood. Hey, he could've been playing frisbee with friends and it landed in her backyard, and in that idea, either he could tell her so she could get it for him, or just jump her fence to find her in her backyard already. Maybe she even thought he was trying to break in. Maybe they don’t like each other for a while because she called the cops on him for trying to break in, even though it wasn’t the case. Moving on to when they are dating, if you so choose, them being neighbours is a good setup for jokes like "So, your place or mine?" HAHAHA, because they live right next to each other. Also, think about living situations—not all people live alone. Some have roommates and could make things awkward or funny depending on what kind of romantic story. Lastly, think of the places they live. It could be an apartment complex, condos, suburbs, maybe a farm. A few of those could have a pool. I don’t know what exactly you’d want to do with a pool, but you CAN have a pool. Going back to the farm, they both might have acres of land and rarely see each other. They could meet because one of their cows escaped and they were returning it. In a farm, there could be workers and family, one of them could only be working at the farm for one and only one year, and near the end of that year they meet and fall in LOVE—but WAIT, he has to leave?! What is going to happen to their obviously true love? How will they deal with it? Who knows? Certainly not me. This is YOUR story. That is, if you choose a neighbour set up.
Maybe this isn’t the kind of story you are looking for either. If that is the case, I’ll have to give you yet another beautiful setup for a romance story about true LOVE. Though I’m not sure what other kind of stories there could be for you, we’ve gone by all the basics that I can think of. Maybe you are the type of person that doesn’t want a basic romance story. Is that correct?
"Yes, that’s what I’ve been trying to tell you this whole time!" I hear you shout. Well calm down, I get it now. You want to be different, interesting, eye catching, and mostly, different! I see, you have found me boring, telling you about stories that you have already read and the basics that make them up, so let me just tell YOU something: I don’t CARE. I so very kindly took the time to tell you all of these possible stories for you to write and THIS is the thanks I GET? None. No thanks at all. I suddenly can’t hear you anymore. I can’t believe this, especially from YOU. Yeah, I KNOW the grammar is off throughout this whole thing, and I KNOW the title isn’t "How to Write a BASIC Romantic Story," but there is a reason for that. It wouldn’t be an as good title as it already is. So now that you have read through ME trying to help YOU write something about LOVE and have not taken any of my beautiful advice, you can just GO. Leave now! If this didn’t help you with any part of your soon-to-be "number one romance novel," then I won’t help you here! What are you doing? Why are you still reading? This seems like a real waste of your time. Shouldn’t you be writing something original? I feel sincerely disappointed in you right now. It should be very obvious by now that I DON’T CARE about YOUR story. I’m not going to just suddenly give you an idea for a brand new, never before written story. That’s for you to figure out on your own, because I don’t CARE. You’re on your own now. No more help from ME…
Good luck with your story.