Writing Love without Making Your Readers Feel Like Throwing Up

Romantic love writing comes naturally for some, harder for others. Let’s start by breaking down the barriers that separate the naturals from those who struggle.

Close your eyes and think about that one special person in your life. Maybe they were your first love. Maybe they’re your spouse.

Try to remember all those wonderful things that attracted you to them. Stir up those feelings inside. Now apply that emotion to your characters.

Be careful, though. Just because you’ve conjured up those wonderful memories doesn’t mean you’re ready to shower your readers in rose petals and chocolate hearts.

First off, we need to examine the wrong way to write about love:

You’ve probably read books where you didn’t fully understand how the character really felt about someone. Why didn’t you understand? Artificial writing. You were told how they felt. You didn’t feel it.

One of the very first items you should mark on your “not-to-do” list is using clich├ęs. You know the type:

She loved him more than life itself.
He loved her deeply.

Did you feel anything? Besides nausea.

Avoid shallow references to love like:

Her love filled his heart like the big blue sky,
only clouded when she wasn’t by his side.

Does this describe how you’ve ever felt about someone? There’s no depth in the statement. Similes don’t offer any real substance to a powerful emotion like love.

Of course, we all know love is complex. And there’s nothing like studying the masters to find out the right way to write about love.

Patricia Potter’s new romantic suspense novel The Perfect Family explores many emotions. In this particular scene, the main character sums up one kiss full of absolute meaning:

He leaned down, this rough cowboy of hers. His lips touched hers with a tenderness so sweet her heart swelled to near bursting. It was a promise, a melding of spirits.

Even Dean Koontz injects serious love into his latest novel From the Corner of His Eye:

They had been married fourteen months, yet daily his love grew stronger. He was only twenty-three, and sometimes it seemed that one day his heart would be too small to contain his feelings for her.

Pick out a love-related scene from your book collection. As the examples above prove, they don’t have to be from romance novels. You can find love writing in almost every novel.

Ready to give your newfound knowledge of love writing a try? Give this writing exercise a shot:

Remember our initial emotional roller coaster feature? We studied the art of anger writing.

Now combine the emotions of anger and love. Move your character from a heightened sense of anger to love or vice versa.

Perhaps your character senses betrayal and then realizes her emotions are on edge because she really loves him. Maybe your character is in love but finds out about a secret from her lover’s past.