How To Write About Love

By on January 24, 2017
How To Write About Love - Writer's

Writing about love is a tricky business, and often it depends on the kind of novel you are writing as to how you should go about it. The most important part of writing about love is making sure that you connect to your reader in some way. They need to feel something when they read your words.

Generally, we root for characters to fall in love (if we like them) and for love to conquer against all the odds. However, writing about it in a way that readers identify with, is key.

So how do you write about love? Here are some things to think about.

Who is your target audience?

Different readers will have different views about love, and of course while you can’t generalise it is important to try and see the difference. If your target readership is a YA audience, their idea of love will be more hopeful, anxious, and dreamy. Middle-aged readers who have more experience of love might have a more negative disposition; there may be boredom, frustration, discomfort. The older generation may be more wistful when it comes to love, being grateful, comfortable, appreciative of the love that they have had in their lives.

Make the meeting count

One of the first questions asked to a new couple is ‘how did you two meet?’ A good meeting story will make for good reading. It is also an opportunity for the writer to highlight the importance of the relationship between two characters. Readers need to notice that something is going on there. Even something as subtle as a handshake that lasts a little too long will let them know that there is a potential relationship afoot.

Be careful with your gender

When writing about love, it is important to make sure that the way your character speaks, behaves and thinks is true to their gender. Of course, you can break gender stereotypes if your character is that way inclined, but it needs to be believable. This applies in particular if you are a woman writer writing a man’s perspective on love, or vice versa/ For example, if they have fallen deeply in love, or have been heartbroken men don’t necessarily think and act the same way a woman would in that situation. Women are more likely to discuss relationships with friends, to use humour (particularly in heartbreak situations) and to say how they feel. Men may tend to isolate themselves more, and feel hopeless.

Let it have its ups and downs

Even the best relationships are a rollercoaster ride. Think about all the different things you can feel when in a relationship. Happy, giddy, nervous, excited, fearful, angry, afraid, curious, defensive and so on. Try to explore all these dimensions of love to make it come alive.

Think about your language

The language of love is a complicated one. Try not to fall into cliched language too early. Often when we feel emotions in love, they are hard to describe because we feel them so intensely. Using clever and original descriptions will make readers sit up and take notice rather than falling into the same old tired descriptions ‘ heart pounding, butterflies, electrifying’ and so on.

Writing about love can be lots of fun and is a powerful device to include in your novel to engage your readers and draw them in. Using these tips, you can find ways to write about love that are unique, clever, and exciting and will make your readers feel even more connected to your story.

Bethany Cadman -author of 'Doctor Vanilla's Sunflowers'

Bethany Cadman -author of 'Doctor Vanilla's Sunflowers'

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