Le Romance!

Close your eyes and imagine the following scenario:

You have all your favorite YA books lined up on a shelf in front of you. Each story is different, unique and follows fascinating plotlines. Maybe these books have made you feel all the feels. You may visualize individual books if you like.

Now I may be wrong about this, but I don't think so. I can practically guarantee you that there is something the same with all of these books, despite the possible variety of genres and storylines/. Something that maybe made you laugh, swoon, curse, or feel any sort of emotion. Probably a good emotion though, because you love these books.

What is that? Romance.

Romance has become a popular trend within the YA genre that it's almost unthinkable to have a YA novel without a romance lead. In fact, tt's often one of the first things that comes to me when I get a new novel idea or begin to plan my next project.

There's nothing wrong with romance either! Who doesn't love books with a good romace on the side of a fast-moving plot? Or a a sweet swoony chick-flick? It's fabulous! But in some cases a romance can make or break the book. So let's talk about this trend and how to create a working romance via The Blender Method.

YA Romance
The Blender Method

So you’ve decided to have a romance in your book! Good for you. Now let me guess, in your head it sounds fantastic. The Hero’s hot, and the attraction is instant. They work well together and you can’t help but swoon when they kiss in your head.

There’s just one little catch, YOU might love them, but unless you add some crucial ingredients, your readers aren’t going to love them. Enter what I like to call, The Blender Method. Close your eyes again and imagine your romance as a tall glass filled to the brim with a mouthwatering smoothie of your choice. It could be berry, citrus, or even chocolate. Doesn’t matter.  It’s delicious and compliments your meal (*cough* your plot *cough*) perfectly.

But it didn’t start out that way. No-siree, it began when you gathered up the ingredients and tossed them into a blender. Then after letting the blender chop and spin and whine, it became what it is now. And I’ve got the recipe for you: 


THE RECIPE FOR MOUTH-WATERING ROMANCE:
Start off with 1 Hero and 1 Heroine. These are the main ingredients. They can be any flavor, or proportion of your choosing. But make sure they are compatible and different, if only by a little bit.

Next, portion a heavy dose of Character Flaws. This is to change up and add some unique flavor to the mix.

Dice up some Conflict, be it actions, opinions or interests. But don’t forget some Similarities which will be used to soften the differences between them.

Consider sweetening the Conflict with one or more of the following ingredients; Respect, Consideration, Sacrifice and Caring. This will increase our love in the face of difficulty.

Once you’ve gathered up these ingredients, throw then into the blender of Difficult Circumstances. If you are feeling especially naughty you might consider flavoring this romance with Lies, Betrayal, Arguments, Stubbornness or anything spicy of that nature.

Don’t forget to top it off with a cup of creamy Swoon Factor.  Rough times might make it more believable, but a romance just isn’t a romance without that delicious taste.

Now you’re ready to mix it all together. Cover the top of the blender with a lid, allowing nothing to escape as it mixes together. Turn the machine on to the lowest setting  and slowly all the power to grow until the highest setting is blending away at full blast. If you are unsure whether the smoothie is just right, you may turn it off and take a taste. All the smoothie to settle before jacking up to speed again. This will allow the shake up to be all the more effective. Once your smoothie has reached perfection you are ready to serve and enjoy.  Bon appetite!

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PS. Don’t Forget to check the list of Romantic Smoothie No-Nos before you serve. Add any of these into the mix and it will almost always mess up your drink.

  Insta love/lust – this will cancel the differences you have thrown in and enhance the Swoon Factor to a horrendous amount.
  
  Perfection – Characters without a flaw will upset the balance immensely. Remember that conflict is a crucial ingredient to your drink.

  Unnecessary Conflict – This can come in the form of stupid inconsequential arguments, or other characters that pull apart characters.

DISCLAIMER: You may feel inclined to dabble with this ingredient. They are appealing and very easy to use in your smoothie. This is a lie. The use of these tempting beverages will only make it easier the next time you need a quick drink. We don’t want easy and quick. In the event of any of these ingredients making it into the blender, scrap it all and start again. There’s always a fresh start.

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With all that laid before you, it might look like an impossible task, trying to write the perfect romance. And I hate to break it too you, it is kinda impossible. It's not going to come all at once either. Sometimes ingrediants will be overlooked the first batch, and added in later. Sometimes this will be left our or changed to fit each new flavor. It's all up to you to make it the best smoothie ever, but here are a few baking tips before I go

Get A Taste Tester. Unsure if the smoothie is just right? Friends and "beta readers" are perfect to let you know if it's not just you totally in love with the romance you've created.

Focus On Love-Showing Actions. I once read a post by author Kasie West, in which she shared a tip on how to write good romance that I've never forgotten. She said that it's more important to SHOW the "I Love You" through actions than to be saying the words "I Love You" all the time. Oftentimes, it's the sacrifice and the way the characters interact that means more than kissy-sentimal scene covered in cheese. Actions speak louder than words right?

With those in mind, I'm off to revise my cheesily fun chick-flick and make the horrendous first draft of a romance into something swoon worthy. Still worried that your romance skills are lacking? GO WRITE! The more you implemant what you learn the better it will be. So go get that romance! I believe in you.

---Hawkeye

PS. Thanks to the minions of Tumblr for helping demonstrate these points.

2 comments:

  1. This post is great! (The minions are epic, too.) This is actually very useful for me, because I've got two flightless birds who like each other, tease each other, call each other names, are great friends, and neither of them has a schmick that the other character feels the same way. So I can tell these two are definitely NOT going to have too much Swoon Factor. In fact, they'll probably get about a teaspoon, and I'll have to work on it later. Anyway! I really liked your metaphor!

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  2. I like stories without romance. I think it's so overdone these days, and for teens who aren't interested in that, it can increase the feeling that they're abnormal. But somehow it always creeps in...

    My favourite way of mixing it up some is refusing to assume that anybody is straight. It's far more interesting to throw a group of four girls and four guys together and know that literally any of them could get together, rather than the limited permutations you've got for love triangles when they're all heterosexual.

    I also find even those I THINK are straight tend not to be...

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