Bad Romance

December 21, 2009 at 11:46 AM | Posted in Uncategorized | 11 Comments

“You and I could write a bad romance.”

Lady Gaga knows the insecurities of writers, it seems. What makes a bad romance? Is my book a bad romance?

Pitfalls and booby traps are so VERY hard to avoid when I’m writing. Sometimes I get lost in the flow of my MC and her LI, that I basically keep re-writing the same scenes over and over again. But real-life relationships aren’t like that. They make progress. They have beginning, middle, and (sadly, it’s true) end points. And at each stage, the characters act differently around each other. They’re not static. And static characters make for a bad romance.

Other notorious screw-ups I catch myself making (and when I don’t, my betas catch–thank you betas!):

1. No more chemistry. The MC and her LI start out strong at the beginning, exchange witty witticism, tease each other, and their hearts pound when they catch a glimpse of each other. But once they’re together, it becomes dull, monotone. There are no more mysteries. There are no surprises left waiting for the LI in his locker. Yes. This does happen to crumbling relationships in real life. But are those interesting to read about?

2.  Lack of conversation. You know you’ve got a problem (and the relationship does) when your characters are talking about the weather. About other characters. About last night’s homework. Anything but the good stuff.

3. Cheesy one-liners. While on the other hand, the guy’s lines and the girl’s lines appear to be scripted. We have joke books and the internet for that.

4. A too-perfect couple? Creepy. Give me the cracks, the imperfections. Perfect people are depressing enough in real-life.

5. Super implausible pairings. Paris Hilton will not date a cashier at Subway.

What do you think I may have missed in my defining of a bad romance?

– linda



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  1. I don’t tend to write romance, but there’s usually a romantic subplot anyway. This will help make it a good romantic subplot. Thanks!

    BTW, how can I join this site as a twiftie?

    • We’re always happy to have guest bloggers and if you’d like to join permanently that can *probably* be arranged. I’m not an admin so I don’t really know what I’m talking about.
      You can send an email to Or you can ask on the TWFT thread. I’m sure one of our lovely TWFT admin will be able to help you. :)

      • Admin update: While we do welcome guest bloggers, there are 15 permanenty blogging twifties already, so we aren’t looking for more. However, you can email us for guest-blogging, article proposals, and if you want to join the mentor program we’re currently in the process of making.


  2. Somewhat addicted to that song.

    And yes, I totally agree with the cheesy one liners. I am guilty of this XD

  3. This is a fab, fab post! Me loves it!
    Those are some interesting points you, insightful and absolutely useful. When the romance fizzles out, chances are, the book will,too

  4. Great post, tilt! I’m in the midst of a romance subplot disaster. XD This really helped me pinpoint some problems!
    PS. Hope I wasn’t stepping on anyone’s toes answering Mae! Do correct me if I got something wrong!

  5. I have a romance subplot. It’s the first time I’ve ever really done one. *looks at #3* cheesy indeed.

  6. # 2 is called marriage. Just kidding. Kind of.

    Are you girls going to participate in the “Kissing” post? You post a kiss from your novel. Your commenters then leave you the link to their blog (which their kiss).

  7. (with their kiss).

    Sorry for the typo. I’ve been reading too many kissing scenes this morning. :D

  8. I love this song! And this post is totally true. I’m trying to write a romance, but haven’t even gotten to the romantic parts. *head-desk* But I’m still going to try. But my main problem is, I’ve never witnessed, nor been in love, so how do I write about something I know nothing about?

    • Trust me. It’s easier to write about romance when you haven’t experienced it. Especially if you’re a teen, and your boyfriend turns out to be NOT anything that you’ve dreamed about.
      When I went out with my ex, I didn’t write a word of romance for a month. It’s easier when you haven’t been exposed to reality. “/

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