Romance writing is one of the great creative arts. Not just anyone does it and does it well. But, raw talent will only get you so far. There is still a lot to learn throughout a writer’s life that will help their work to be better still. One is that you know which bad romance writing habits to avoid.
Actually, that’s not exactly true. All bad writing habits are to be avoided. Some, you can probably pick out readily but some you have been taught to do for years throughout grade school and high school. We don’t want your English teacher to jump out of the shadows and rap your knuckles so we’ll tread lightly but truthfully.
Bad habit #1: Using boring language
We all know what we don’t like when we read. Boring language consists of using simple nouns and verbs like you did when you first learned to write. Need an example? Instead of using words like dog, cat, house and book, try to create prose fiction that is a bit more descriptive like mongrel, stray feline, split-level and tome. Okay, so some people may not know what “tome” means but if it sounds interesting they will take the time to look it up so that they can keep reading.
Bad habit #2: Handcuffing your characters
One of the most important parts of a romance is the dialogue. It is okay to show the reader where you are through descriptive settings and so forth but the characters make the reader think. The best part of any book is trying to anticipate the character’s next move based on what you already know about them through their speaking roles. Romance readers want to be able to immerse themselves in your story and relate to your characters.
This is not the easiest concept to grasp. People don’t exist in one plane only but many at one time. We are complicated, simple, loving and vengeful. Your characters need to display that same depth if you want the reader to believe that they could actually be the person down the street or the neighbor next door. Stilted characters say one thing but do another, not because they are having a crisis of personality but because the writer didn’t bother to give them any substance to begin with.
Bad habit #3: The poor supporting cast of words
A supporting cast in anything – a movie, play or sport – is there to strengthen the main character. The same goes for your words. You want to tell the story in such a way that your reader can see each and every scene and person in their mind’s eye.
The quickest way to ruin this is with poor choices for amplifying words, meaning adjectives and the misunderstood adverbs. Adjectives can enhance but only if they are used in the right places, and not overused. Each noun doesn’t need an adjective to stand out. If it does, you need new nouns. The same goes for adverbs.
Do you do any of these things? No sweat; you recognize your weakness. It’s the first step to recovery. And, if romance story is to be written, getting help is good.