Today, I received a request to write a bit about romantic tendencies in fantasy stories. So, I am going to go over the basics of incorporating romance into your fantasy story. I feel that is what I am the most equipped to talk about. I hope that this is helpful!
Where does romance fit in?
Adding romance to your fantasy story is a fantastic concept. It is an element that is widely used in many of today’s most popular fantasy novels. Romance blends in with other genres more easily than others because it is all about character relationships, which every story should have anyway. However, it is important to take note that romance must play as a secondary element to your story. You cannot let it take over the main plotline, or you have created a different subgenre entirely. You begin to switch over into fantastical romance. Of course, if that’s the direction you want to go, by all means ignore the above note. But if you’re looking to have romance be a subplot, make sure it doesn’t encroach on the main plot.
When writing romance, you have to understand that no matter how fast a relationship may develop, relationships all build. You can notice clear steps in how the relationship developed no matter what pace. From the meeting point to the first date or the first hookup to future dates and conversations, all points should be clearly defined and moving towards your eventual outcome. These events don’t all have to be physical events; they can be mental stages as well. For example, when a character first realizes they are in love or when they decide to tell their partner one of their darkest secrets. When writing romance, make sure you can see a clear progression of the relationship.
Relationships are not smooth.
If you have ever been in a relationship before, any relationship at all in any stage, you should know that they are not smooth. They are not easy. Things don’t always go to plan. Relationships shift and break and grow back together. People fight and cry and say things they don’t mean and then apologize profusely. DO NOT and I repeat, DO NOT let your characters off easy. No matter how compatible they are, your characters will have relationship problems. Give them something to fight over. Expose their character flaws through interactions with each other. It will help them grow as characters and as romantic partners.
Don’t be afraid to write something unexpected.
Love is an interesting thing. Everyone has different experiences with it. With all of the romantic clichés out there, it can be very easy to slip into writing something very simple and straightforward. Even with all of the problems and conflict, a romantic subplot can read very fake and disingenuous. Don’t be afraid to throw something out of the box at your characters. Don’t be afraid to confront something that is normally untouched in relationships. Don’t be afraid to explore the mental relationships between romantic partners as well as the physical ones. People fall in love in mysterious ways. Let yourself write that.