Giving Scale to a Love Story: Wrapping Your Book’s Real Theme in Love
by Steven Manchester
If you’re writing a love story, then you’ve read stacks of love stories or you haven’t really done your homework, have you? Most writers pen the stories they enjoy reading or—or more precisely, the stories they wish they’d read.
Before I even tried my hand at writing a love story, I asked myself: How many love stories have been written throughout history? Hundreds of thousands? Millions? So is there anything new for me to tell? I finally decided, Of course there is! The world has never read a love story from my perspective, a tale from my original and unique voice. And the same holds true for you.
Here’s my advice:
- Plot: Great romance novels are about much bigger themes “wrapped” within sweet love stories that help to carry their bigger messages along.
- Example: I really need to write a book about the servicemen and women returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan; how some have been physically injured, while most have been broken—both emotionally and spiritually. Suddenly, I had my message: Now I can write a story about America’s war heroes returning home in unimaginable pain—wrapped within a romance.
- Character Development: Spend as much time as it takes to fully develop your characters. Although it’s become cliché, it’s still true: the better developed your characters are, the more they’ll be able to tell your story for you. If your characters are real and relatable, then your readers will either love them or hate them—and that’s the key to success.
- Dialogue: Some writers cheat when it comes to dialogue; this is not the space to cut corners. Do your research. Study how people really talk to each other and write your dialogue that way.
- For example: People interrupt each other, rarely completing a full sentence. There are sighs and internal dialogue… You get the message.
A good writer can make a reader think, while a great writer makes his or her reader feel. Writing a love story is one of the best opportunities to attain greatness as a writer. However, to make your story a truly memorable one, you’d better aspire to a bigger plot line than the simple, “Boy meets girl, they fall in love…and live happily ever after.” You’d better create challenges; opportunities for growth—a complex plotline worth reading.
When writing your love story, be as true to life as possible; it’s the only way your readers will relate to you. In reality, true love stories are beautiful, but they’re hardly perfect—or even neat and tidy. When aiming for the heart with your pen, be sure to take a believable path. Essentially, write a novel wrapped within a love story; a sweet or lustful romance that will act as your vehicle to move the real story along—hopefully at a page-turning pace.