In honor of Valentine’s Day tomorrow, here are 8 tips on writing love stories that I have gathered over the years:
- Avoid as many cliches as possible. When impossible, present the cliche in an unexpected way. Don’t necessarily do the opposite of the cliche, but put a spin on it. For example, change the feuding families cliche to the two kids only think their families are feuding, when in reality, they just want the two to get together so they pretend to be mortal enemies to create an appeal.
- Do not explicitly point out a cliche as a cliche.
- Character tropes are frienemies. Sometimes they work in your favor, other times they are utterly cliche and predictable. It depends on what kind of story you are working with and how you present the tropes, so just be careful and don’t be afraid to alter and mess with the character to make them rounder.
- Avoid going into unnecessary details. Subtlety goes a long way.
- Play with point of view. Who do you want to tell the story? One of the members of the couple? An outsider? A narrator?
- In my opinion, love triangles are over-rated, at least in their traditional sense. They do create an interesting conflict, but they are predictable. Play with the way your love triangle is presented.
- Strict happily-ever-after’s are predictable. I’m not saying all romances should end terribly, but adding a twist on your typical ride-into-the-sunset can pleasantly surprise a reader.
- Sometimes the most realistic love stories don’t make great stories. Feel free to exaggerate, but to a moderate scale.