re: Tips for Non-Corny Romance Scenes?

posted 4/20/12

Dear Editor…

I am having trouble writing the romantic parts of my YA novel.  They sound kinda corny and feel cliché. Any advice?

Struggling with the Smoochie Stuff


Dear Struggling…

You want your characters to get physical? Then get physical with them! First, move them to a new location. Chose an uncommon setting for the kids to get mushy, one that affects how they express their emotions. Think sneaky smooching behind a noisy car wash instead of a dreamy kiss at the school dance. Then, make their bodies do the talking. Hammy, overwrought, or melodramatic scenes happen when the dialogue does all the emoting. Because teens lack the words and experience to express themselves well in romantic situations, they try to read each other’s body language and become hyperconscious of their own bodies. Mine that! The characters can reveal their emotions through interactions with setting elements (like fussing with a skateboard wheel to avoid terrifying direct eye contact, or wiping stray car wash suds from their hair) and, yes, with their love interest’s body. It’s time to get physical, after all.

Happy writing!
The Editor

P.S. For more on this topic, read Romance Novels, Teen/Middle Grade Fiction
posted by: The Editor
under: Romance Novels, Teen/Middle Grade Fiction
Comments to "re: Tips for Non-Corny Romance Scenes?" | Add a Comment
    1. Edith wrote (on 04/20/12 at 9:22 am) :

      D–You are so spot-on with your smoochie stuff advice here. As always, your answer is clear, succinct. Love “mine that.”

    2. Haley Whitehall wrote (on 04/20/12 at 9:27 am) :

      How far should you take a YA romance? Do you stop before the bedroom? Mention some stuff behind closed doors? Every time I try to write YA it turns into adult. What is the romance line that I shouldn’t cross?

    3. Sue Ford wrote (on 04/20/12 at 11:39 am) :

      I’ve read many YAs that don’t stop at the bedroom door. It’s not usually totally explicit. It depends on who you want your audience to be. Have you read Jumping Off Swings by Jo Knowles?

      If your editor thinks you are too explicit, or not explicit enough, he/she will tell you. But to get there make the story as good as you can. 😉

    4. Laura C. wrote (on 04/20/12 at 10:04 am) :

      Super topic and advice. Unlike Haley, I have no trouble stopping at first base in my YA novels. Writing the “Smoochie Stuff” is hard enough and I have no faith I can pull off anything erotic.

    5. Kate Lacy wrote (on 04/21/12 at 6:08 am) :

      I think it’s harder to write the love scenes and more probing into our own fantasies than it is for any of the teens to read those scenes…..if I recall, going into the fantasy was always easy!

    6. Writing YA Romance: how NOT to suck | a Portia Adams adventure wrote (on 02/24/14 at 10:00 am) :

      […] Re: Tips for Non-Corny Romantic Scenes? (Deborah Halverson) […]