I have some problems writing romance. I guess that is because I've never experienced it, and maybe I never will.

I tried practicing this genre, writing short love stories. But all my fictional couples feel forced and cliché - Guy meets girl, they start their quest, and fell in love before or after the first 2 chapters.

Do you have any suggestions on how to improve the backstory of the relationships of my characters, please?

  • I suggest you to edit your question or your title, because it appears that your problem is not about writing "emotional bonds", but rather about writing romance in general. It seems less specific that what the title suggests: did I get it right? My 2 cents advice is to 1) read romance if you want to write 2) don't write romance if you don't have experience of it.
    – FraEnrico
    Oct 12, 2017 at 12:47

5 Answers 5


I would suggest breaking down the peoblem (lack of first hand experience) into two parts.


First, let's tackle emotional bonds. Surely you have experienced this. So try to write short shortstories whose aim is to shine a light, so to say, on emotional bonds. Write about the bonds between siblings or parents-children. Write about one's emotional attachment to a beloved toy, pet, place and videogame.

Remember that the objective is to focus on the strength of the emotion, no matter what type. Feel the sadness of losing someone or something beloved, of meeting them again, the excitement that makes one not be able to focus on anything else.

Before you finish this step, write a few scenes that focus on addictions. Have you ever become addicted, say, to candy crush? Those feelings of pure pleasure when you get to play, the fidgetness of when tries to avoid and the guilty pleasure of managing to play it in a forbidden place (like work, the classroom or a boring family dinner). That's what you need to capture in your writing.

Now that you've focused on general emotional bonds, it's time for the next move.


Romantic attachments are bonds like any other, but the object of their attention is another human being. You'll need to add a good level of addiction (being in love is one of the strongest addictions I know, drugs aside) and base it on the strongest emotional bond you've ever felt for someone.

Next, you do some reasearch. Find descriptions of being in love, whether you get them from family members, friends, magazines or the internet. Try to base this research on real people!

Now you can write again. Do not write a full fledged tale but short shortstories. Focus on little things of the romance: the excitement of the first meeting, the routine of waking up every morning next to the person you love, etc.


Once you have managed to capture different shades of a romantic bond and you feel you understand its strength, then you can write a romantic novel.

More than plot, is the feeling that will make it feel true and original.


The basic romance formula is: boy gets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl back. But the path of true love rarely runs true. Often "she doth protest too much" is thrown into the mix.

Basically, the author needs to throw obstacles into lovers path. Misunderstandings are good too.

  • 2
    "Misunderstandings are good too." Well, you say that, but... keep in mind that drawn-out far-fetched misunderstandings just for the sake of drama are overused; and rightfully tend to have have a big "roll-eyes and groan" effect on the audience
    – xDaizu
    May 22, 2017 at 12:39

The paradox of writing romance is that it's usually primarily about keeping your lovers apart, not bringing them together. There's a reason most love songs are sad; it's because romance is something we tend to feel most strongly in its absence. Like nostalgia, it's defined by a sense of unfulfilled longing.

Even if you've never had a romance yourself, you've probably experienced the feeling of longing for something you can't have. Write that feeling, and save the moment your heroes get together for the very end of the book or story.

So: Something is keeping your lovers apart. Maybe they are too focused on their quest. Maybe they are on opposite sides. Maybe they hate each other. Maybe their families hate each other. But something is also drawing them together. They can't stop thinking about each other. They find the other person unexpectedly charming or attractive. They are finding excuses to spend more time together. They're fighting more than usual. It's that dynamic tension between the impossibility and the inevitability of coming together that will make this love live for your readers.


Write what you know. Maybe you've never “experienced ‘romance’” — what have you experienced? Its absence? Seemingly failed efforts to obtain it? Something else?
“Write it down; it might be read: nothing is better left unsaid.”

Let me quote something from one of my unpublished pieces of rubbish:

A full sky, dropping a few motes of snow down on me as i sat on a cold bench and stared across the empty street. Molds of salt blotched the hard pavements which stretched in their confinement, and i held it all in my thoughts. Tightly wrapped cars and people careered before me; like they to me, i also could not spare them much consideration as i sat, chin on my palm, watching for something. Something, something which i could feel with my mind — perhaps? — with senses that were never used or, if so, dreamt.

I don't read most ‘romance’ proper, but I do read things like that.

Anyways: Maybe you should be writing something other than ‘romance’.


I recommend the chick flick "Playing it Cool" because it is about a screenwriter writing a romance, and he has never been in love.

Here's what I am finding, and you may find it useful.

I am not trying to write romance into my climate fiction. But, the protagonist leaves his home because he has an unhealthy relationship with his mother.

Later, he meets the cousin of the female protagonist. I never intended for these two to have any sparks.

But, this cousin has one or two features, coincidentally, that she shares with his mother. She bugs him, because she reminds him of his mother who he doesn't have closure with yet.

He bugs her, because he represents the interests she believes to be bad in the world.

Because they each have a small piece of the thing that drives the other one, every conversation between them soon had sparks.

I kept telling these characters that this was not a love story, and they needed to get a room. They kept putting their sparks on the page. (I have some edits ahead of me).

I finally wrenched them apart geographically, and they weren't happy with me, but it's not a romance, dammit. I tod them maybe in book two.

My advice: Consider some backstory for your characters. Give them each some defined hangup, and then have your lovebirds fill that itch, just enough, that they are attracted to each other. They think they are talking to each other, but they are actually trying o work through their baggage.

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