Sunday, August 10, 2014

Writing My Own Real-Life Romance

by Becky Porter

This past Thursday, my husband and I celebrated fifteen years of marriage!  I know that not everyone has found their Prince Charming.  I know also that some find their knight in shining armor is really the evil villain of their fairy tale.  For those who are still searching and for those who have already found their love, here are some thoughts on how I am writing my personal real-life romance:

1.  Editors/Publishing.  My Savior, Jesus Christ, is literally "the Word" (John 1:1).  The scriptures tell us to "publish peace" and "publish good tidings of good" (Mosiah 27:37).  My Heavenly Father is all-knowing.  Why would I not take his advice on how to write the story of my life?  When I accept His personal advice and edits, my simple story will be turned into a masterpiece.

2.  Outlines/Character Sketches.  When I was in college, I had already seen a bit of the ugly side of life.  And my major was Family Studies, so I knew all the statistics on marriage in the modern world, and they aren't that great.  I was determined to find the right hero for my story.  All great stories begin with an outline and some character sketches.  Early on, I made my own character sketch for my real-life Prince Charming.  I wasn't looking for perfection, but I did want someone who shared my values, someone who had the strength to handle my past, someone who was gentle and patient.  I made my list and then prayerfully compared the many great guys I met to my sketch until I found one who met my criteria (and my Editor's).  Jeff had a list, too, and I'm grateful that we were both prayerfully looking for an eternal companion.

{A group of us in our college days; I'm in the red stripes and Jeff is in the blue plaid}

3.  Dialogue.  When you're writing fiction, the characters in your head don't always behave the way you want them to on paper.  In real life, of course, we can't control the other characters.  However, I have found that the words I say, how I say them, and my inner dialogue, have a powerful influence on my hero's dialogue and actions.  This is not manipulation.  Manipulation is based on selfishness and a desire to control another person, to take away their agency.  Rather, recognizing the power of our words, especially in relationships, can create an atmosphere of persuasion, long-suffering, gentleness, and love (see D&C 121:41).  Adding spice to a marriage does not require adding drama (and trust me, having a spicy marriage makes for a better romance. wink, wink).

4.  Character Building.  No one wants to read about flat characters.  A good story fleshes them out and gives them life.  In my real-life romance, I work hard to bring out Jeff's good qualities while making sure the heroine--myself--isn't turning into a flat, two-dimensional character.  I have to allow my character to evolve, develop, and grow, or my romance will stagnate.  Just like any writing project, I have to set aside time regularly to build my character.

5.  Research.  OK, so it might not be the most enjoyable part of writing, but research has to be done.  If you're writing a historical novel, you have to study your setting.  If you are writing a mystery, you may need to learn more about police procedures and forensics.  This romance is my most important work, so I definitely try to do my research.  What do the scriptures say?  What do modern prophets have to say?  What do secular books, that reflect my values, have to say about romance?  The Family Proclamation tells me that "marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children." Doing my research improves my romance immensely! 

6.  Artistic License.  I fought hard for my agency, and I value it above almost all else.  I am the author of this life, this beautiful romantic fairy tale, and I refuse to let any other person or situation determine how I am going to feel, speak, or act.  I truly believe that each of us has the ability to use artistic license on our life, to change each situation to suit our eternal goals.  I know that each day I have to make artistic choices about where my romance will lead and what will happen in the next exciting chapter.

Every day, I am beyond grateful for my knight in shining armor and for my chance to write my own real-life romance.  With my Editor and Publisher on my side, I am working to make it the greatest book I ever write.  And I have faith that I am, right now, living my "happily ever after."


  1. I love this so much, Becky! Perfect post for a perfectly lovely couple.

  2. I loved reading this! Thank you for sharing!

  3. This is perfectly written. I love the idea of writing my own real life romance! Thanks for sharing!

  4. Brilliant post, Becky. Nicely done, and congratulations on your delightful fairytale! :-)

  5. Thank you so much everyone for your kind comments! :-)

  6. Very cute! - love the pictures.

  7. Absolutely the best romance I have ever known! This article on writing your own romance is beyond brilliant! I love all the works you've ever written & I thank you for sharing them. ♥



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