Love’s Labour: Ludicrous?

I hate writing love scenes. No, I don’t mean sex scenes; I usually just avoid those altogether. I mean that moment in the story (which is about something else) when the romantic element comes into play and the two characters who have been dancing around each other for the first half of the novel finally stop being idiotic and avoiding the question, admit that they like each other, and confess their love/kiss/shack up/whatever (depending on the nature of the story and the characters involved). Everything comes out sounding silly.

There are probably more ways to write a love scene than there are actual couples in the world. You can build up the tension by drawing it out; you can just give into the inevitable quickly and get it over with. It can be dramatic, tender, passionate, funny, even painful or sad depending on the right circumstances. Some authors have even used so much subtlety that the Big Scene never happens at all, at least not on camera. Skipping the Big Scene is usually only used when the relationship is not a major focus of the story or the main character(s) isn’t/aren’t involved.

I’m a girl, I’m emotional, I write girly emotional characters for whom love is important, and the plots tend to involve important relationships, so I have to write at least one Big Love Scene. No skipping through subtlety for me.

So I have to write the scene. What kind, then? I have to look at how it fits into the story was a whole. What is the genre for the story? What is it rated? Who is the intended audience? What other types of stories is it similar to? Look at other examples for a general guideline.

I also have to consider the individual characters, the circumstances they’re in, their personalities and values, the backgrounds they come from. How do they act in general? How do they feel about relationships, for other people and for themselves?

So many things to think about! Why don’t I just write it and get through it all? I know what kind of scene I need to write — you always write the same kind of scene in coming-of-age stories where the characters are young and discovering their first love, don’t you?

But that scene has been done to death. Anything that you do like someone else did will just sound silly. How do you make it interesting, to make your scene stand out from everyone else’s?

And that’s where I’m stuck. I wrote a scene but it reads like it could be in half a dozen other novels. I know I need to let it lie for now and come back to it in editing, but right now I just feel really awkward about it and I don’t really want to move forward with the story right now. I’m reading every article that I can find on love scenes, romance novels, sex scenes, character emotions, character interactions, making your prose interesting . . . blah. I’m obsessing over this way too much.

So I declare that today, I will take the day off from writing and think about something else. Work on some world-building or something else before I move on to the next chapter. I need to stop thinking about this one silly love scene that I already wrote.


I'm an author, a blogger, and a nerd. I read and write fantasy.