(I published this on a writing website called Fictionpress. Penname The Jokers Card)
Writing tips for Romance By Destiny Kishpaugh
Now for this essay, I'd like to discuss writing tips. For this though I'd like to focus on romance and developing relationships.
Personality traits and Backstory
Personality is what makes a character and it's also what explains their actions. If your characters personality is to be a coward, than its natural they'd run away at the sight of danger. But your characters personality is also wanting to protect and care for the people they love, than its not completely out of nature for them to try and help save them, even if it puts themselves in a dangerous position.
But since we're discussing your character romancing someone, you may have to consider adding traits you didn't think of beforehand. Let me explain, a person's personality and how they act, can change based on who they are with, and what they think of that person. You may notice in cases where two people who dislike each other are in a room together, they may try to ignore each other, make passive aggressive comments ext. Regardless if that's not who they are but they want to impress them or if it's just another side of their personality and that person is the only one they trust enough to let them see that side of them.
There's multiple ways this can go, and actually make for an interesting story. As an example I'm going to use my OC Leia now what are some traits I can say about her. Now one reason I say OC and not character for her is because well, I made to be part of a fandom I like though I wrote her back-story well enough that she could stand on her own. She's the type of character who'd fit well within a supernatural universe or even a universe that has powers. Which is exactly what she's meant for.
-fragile, mentally and emotionally. Will have some emotional/mental breakdowns.
-Cowardly though she tries pushing herself to try and be braver.
-Caring, compassionate about others
-Timid/paranoid at times
- And Naivety/wants to see the good in others.
-Has self-doubt and is self-conscious/low self-esteem
Looking at these traits alone can make you think of ways a relationship she has with someone can go wrong or right. If she's paired with the right person, perhaps they could help make her stronger mentally and emotionally, help make her braver since she wants to be. A relationship can bring out good things of people by it can also bring out the bad. Which, if you're pairing your OC with anyone, it should have the same effect.
Another thing that shapes a character and can explain their personality traits, is their back-story. I'm not going to go through all my characters back-story just the key points and information.
-Grew up in a religious cult.
-Gained the power to come back to life and see how people will die and when by touching them.
-Saw the deaths of close friends of hers, but couldn't or didn't do anything to stop it.
-Wants to use her power to save others.
Now from this, we can get why she's naive, paranoid, why she has low self esteem, and why she wants to push herself to be braver. Now before looking at points of her backstory a person who's expert in criticizing OCS may have said. "Paranoia and Naivety contradict each other! If you're paranoid your suspicious of others, if your naive you trust others easily." While there's some truth it's easy to see shed be paranoid of losing someone she cared about, and because she has the ability to see how others would die, she'd probably see lots of things as a death-trap.
If she had a vision of someone she cared about dying, chances are she'd try taken extreme measures to prevent that. But there's also her self-doubt that weighs her down, the fear of failing to save someone she loved plus her cowardly side, may cause her to force herself to try and distance herself from that person, so she won't get hurt. Humans are very complex, and stressful situations may cause us to do things we normally wouldn't do. Now why is she cowardly though, it does have mostly to do with her power as well as being mentally and emotionally fragile, dying over and over only to come back can be traumatizing especially if the way she died was traumatizing.
How The relationship can go/writing the relationship.
It's easy to write a loving and happy relationship, with no conflict but truth is. Conflict in a relationship is what tests them, and can either break it or make it stronger. Which is why I say. Put your character and lover through hard times. Weather it's another love interest,a surprise pregnancy, a disagreement over a choice one of them made or hell even a case where your character is in a abusive or toxic relationship. Cause it may force them to grow. Make them more interesting,relatble, and more human.
For my OC Leia, it's easy for me to see how she can have a healthy relationship with someone whose caring, but it's also easy for me to see her refusing to be in a relationship with anyone due to her paranoia of having someone close one minute and gone the next. It's also easy for me to see, how she could end up in a toxic or abusive relationship because of her Naivety, being she grew up in a religious cult still not fully sure how the outside world functions. All this due to her personality and back-story.
And in each of those cases, that can be used as a conflict you should ask yourself how would your character(s) act in that situation. Is the answers you come up with believable to their personality and back-story you wrote for them? Sorry for making this so long, but it's frustrating when I see young authors wanting to write stories involving romance yet they don't have anything in the story, really happen to keep it interesting. It's also part the reason I stopped reading romance stories all together.