Romance writing is one of the most famous literary genres of the 21st century. Certainly, if you’re going to look at most bookstores, it would be very easy to find a section dedicated to different sub-genres under the umbrella of romance writing. However, even with the added profits, it can be argued that the excessive demand of these novels actually has a negative effect on its quality.
Since more and more people are looking for new dimensions in romance writing, a lot of writers has attempted to try their hand at this genre. Unfortunately, the spectrum of the story arcs and the descriptions used by the authors have little to no differentiation. Due to this, the market on romance writing has been over-saturated with books with unimpressive plots, over the top twists, and trite resolutions. My goal in writing this is to help authors learn more about blending imagery with a character’s profile and evolution in order to improve the genre of romance writing.
Romance writing and its development through the introduction of imagery
Does the image of a seething volcano fit your character’s personality? Or does describing him or her as a skittish bird sound more convincing than the other? Whichever one you choose, utilizing effective imagery gives your characters a unified theme and a more consistent set of interactions.
Last time, I have outlined a strategy in improving romance writing through the use of imagery that are much easier to grasp like earth, fire, air, and water. Today, let’s take this another step further. Try to add metal to your list of elements. Better yet, add all of the elements of the periodic table on your list.
Let’s try to make the imagery in romance writing more specific. Imagine that your lead character is a tinman wandering around the world in search of a heart. Surround him with metallic colors. Make him bendable, but make it so that when he adjusts to your heroine, it shows an aspect of his sharp words and actions.
Now, start to add words that combine the senses with romance writing. Carefully pick words that make your character multi-dimensional—combine the good with the bad. At the end, your goal is to show an evolution to your character’s arc. For instance, when talking about sight, think about the words metallic and reflective. When describing your character, make it seem like when people look at him, they see their reflections looking back at them instead of him.
Make him look childlike by giving him a tin car toy collection. Show your heroine that he can be cold like steel, but he can also be vulnerable. As your tinman and your heroine interacts, start to give him colors instead of his constant chrome. Show through your romance writing the individual development of your characters.
For the sense of sound, you can make him seem tinny and brittle. Although it is best if your story’s hero has a voice that could match his bravado, you can still describe him as someone who can speak with a brittle edge. When he’s feeling down, he can have a hollow echo to his tone.
You can also add taste and scent as another aspect to your romance writing. Stick with cold feel, metallic taste, and a sterile scent. As his arc starts to evolve, let the cold descriptions melt away and be replaced with a sweet taste.
For the sense of touch, make him seem cold and as sharp as shards of metal. Then, as his cold touch starts to warm with the heroine’s help, they start to hear his heart beat again. His heart has been inside him all along.
Be creative and integrate elements together to improve your romance writing
Romance writing is a very complex genre. Though it may seem like it is just about two characters meeting and changing each other, it is definitely so much more than that. It is about grounding your characters into reality, and portraying them naturally in a unique and impressive way. Romance writing is a genre that thrives on seeing the unfamiliar in the familiar. Finding ways to improve upon what’s currently the best is the characteristic that would set your writing apart from other ones.
Now you have an idea that may improve your romance writing, don’t just stop at stringing those together. Derive your character’s personality and arc from other aspects of nature and life. Make your images and words very specific.
In Tempted Tigress, a story that I wrote, my hero is a Chinese ink and brush set. He’s a scholar, and when he feels drained, I say that his words were like ink mixed too thin. His body is skinny and pointed, and during the love scene, his touch paints words on her. My heroine in Cornered Tigress is a cat. Every time she enters a room, she experiences it first through taste and scent. She tends to hide into tiny and enclosed spaces when she’s afraid.
As you can see, you can use not just elements, but other things living and still. Do not be afraid to experiment and be creative. This will help immensely when trying to look for ways to make your romance writing something that hasn’t been read before.