Writing Romance Part One
By Kathy Lipscomb
I love romances. I love them in both Adult and Young Adult books (huge YA fan right here). But romances are trickier to do than you’d think. You have to match the actions to create the right feeling for your specific target audience.
For example, I’ve noticed a growing trend in books of both ages where the guy does something during a romantic scene that’s supposed to up the romance, but instead it makes me cringe. I’m talking about “wiggling” or “waggling eyebrows.”
Pretend you’re on a date with the love of your life. You have a nice dinner where you get him (I’m going with the female perspective here) to open up, which we all know is a difficult task. He’s told you something about himself that he doesn’t confide to most. He smiles then asks you to dance. He takes your hand and pulls you to the dance floor where you and him are the only couple dancing. If you’re nervous about anyone watching, he tells you to focus on him, and you stare into his gorgeous eyes. His hands slide around your waist then press you close. He looks deeply into your eyes and then…
He waggles his eyebrows.
I’m sorry, but every time something like this happens, I bust up laughing. And then when the girl shivers with longing or something along those lines, all I can think is, ew.
I think wiggling or waggling eyebrows can be used in books, for something unexpected, for comedic value, for easing tension in a scene, etc. It’s not that I’m against anyone doing this. It’s all about how realistic it is.
This is my opinion, although I happen to know quite a few people, especially teens (so watch out YA writers) that think the same as I do. So when you’re writing romance, make sure you are adding in actions that take the scene in the direction you want. Keep in mind your target audience. What do they think is romantic? What do they think is not?
This is where critique groups and beta readers come in handy. If people point out something that doesn’t work for them, listen. It doesn’t mean you have to change the scene or even take out the guy waggling his eyebrows, but listen. See if there is a way to fix the problem that satisfies your target audience and yourself. It may not be about waggling eyebrows. It may be about one character watching another one sleep. It may be about the guy being too forceful. It may be the girl being too timid. There are differing opinions on many actions of what is considered romantic or gross. So be in tune with your readers.