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87

Imagine her point of view, as a typical nurse. She has already met hundreds of patients over the course of her career who had inappropriate feelings for her. 99% of them held no temptation for her at all, and by now she's sick of it. Some were old, some were unattractive, some were mean when they thought they were being nice, some made sexual suggestions at ...


36

There's another character in this equation: the MC. It's why this is called a love triangle rather than a love-decision or a love-fork. Relationships are not like ordering "chicken or fish". The MC is completed, or complemented, differently by each woman. Figure out the chemistry between the main character and each woman – that means there is something new ...


30

Easiest example where not all protagonists find "someone else" is The Lord of the Rings. Of the nine members of the Fellowship, Aragorn and Sam are the only ones who marry within the course of the novel. Merry and Pippin are mentioned in the appendixes to have found wives later, but that is not part of the plot per se. Legolas and Gimli remain bachelors for ...


30

You cannot prevent that suspicion altogether; especially because that is your plan. Which means your two characters are heterosexual; so you can't really use homosexuality as a show-stopper. I would suggest you make it clear that one of them is already in love, and the other one knows it. If your guy is a jerk, that may be because he is unhappy, the woman ...


30

The nurse is a nurturing character? Perhaps this reminds him of his mother or sister. This is a person with whom he can be physically and emotionally vulnerable, without any sexual connotations. Another layer to consider is that, with his life in constant peril, romance is really the very last thing on his mind. He needs friends and allies more than love.


24

You can't This is not a romance. This is a master having sex with his slave. Or wanting to have sex. But he's going to free the slave! Is he now? But the person is still a slave when this all begins. This is an unequal relationship of exploitation. Is it possible for someone in a subordinate relationship to genuinely love someone above her/him? ...


19

Young adult generally is written in first person for the strong voice and the closeness of the POV. It has almost become industry standard, likely because it sells well for the target market. You can read articles and blogs expounding on the virtues of the viewpoint for the age. My guess is that, for the precise reason that it is monopolistically popular, we'...


18

Everyone gets something, but it doesn’t have to be romantic. Perhaps one MC gets his/her dream job in London and must move. That person would be leaving friends behind, but a new chapter of his life has begun. Cause for celebration and off he/she goes to London. Another might discover a passion for something and choose to change the direction of his life - ...


16

Sexual tension occurs when two characters are attracted to each other, but where becoming a couple is impossible for one reason or another. For that reason, how you depict it depends on what the obstacle to their happiness is: Do they hate each other? Are they too dedicated to their cause to take time for love? Are they oblivious to their feelings? Are ...


15

It is possible that this reader is one of thse who likes to pair characters in relationships that need not even be telegraphed. There are several ways to do this. Introduce other potential love interests as red herrings. Man dates a couple of them, coming to realize that the first woman is really a better match for him. She has been checking out the cute ...


14

Obviously as an author, you are going to wind up with 1) No girls, 2) Girl 1, 3) Girl 2, 4) Both girls. You have to decide. Probably, no matter the outcome, you should have him try with both girls. Take the one he will not end up with, so he discovers in the course of that relationship why he can't be with her, then have him try with the other girl, and (A)...


13

If what people are primarily looking for in X is Y, then you had better make Y excellent. If you don't have great Y, then mediocre Y + a great story isn't going to cut it. But if everyone (including you) has great Y, then ALSO having a great story is what is going to make your work stand out from the pack. It's the attention to the optional details that ...


13

Imagine the Nurse is a lesbian. In WW2 and in the military she wouldn't be "out", but it isn't like lesbians did not exist back then. Her fiancé is a ruse; I know single lesbians that still wear a wedding ring, an easy way to shut down male inquiries. I will also note, not all lesbians are butch, there are many degrees of femininity in lesbians; gay terms ...


12

Off the top of my head-- If the romance is indeed a *sub*plot, keep it that way. Don't let it take over and become a central plot thread, which is easy to do. It should complement the story, not distract from it. I think romantic dialogue is the easiest place to accidentally cliche yourself up a wall by getting too serious. "Never let go!" Don't do it. As I ...


12

If your genre or subgenre is "Romance", then it's ALMOST impossible to do so. What you're presenting is a request for something that romance authors are always trying to do. The only ways to really skirt around people suspecting Alice and Bob will wind up together is as follows: Don't genre your story as a romance. People are privy to romance genre tropes ...


10

Keep in mind basic sexual psychology differences between men and women. It depends on the era, and culture. With the caveat that nothing applies to everybody and you can find some 15% of just about any population that is non-typical, I will speak in generalities for a broad question. Across all eras and cultures, including my own American culture, the one ...


10

There are plenty of genres that exist solely for a particular purpose or to deliver a type of scene. Pornography (no comment). Slasher (mostly films, all about gory ends to stupid or unfortunate people). Romance (two people get together, often against all odds. Characterization matters in this genre, but not plot). Action (fight! fight! fight!) Some ...


9

The bast way to deal with this issue is to explicitly acknowledge it, show that it isn't an issue, and move on. A superb example of this is found in the Dr. Who story, Partners in Crime. The Doctor has just asked Donna if she will accompany him on a journey in his time machine, the Tardis: Donna: I don't need injections, do I? You know, like when you go ...


9

Whether your novel is in the Romance genre or just a book where romance is the central topic, it's all about how you define your characters and their goals. We the readers need to know what would make them happy. At least what the characters believe will make them happy. If the reader assumes what they want is love (in the mainstream sense of settling ...


9

A story about someone ostensibly looking for love can resolve without them finding a romantic partner if it turns out that they were actually being driven by a motive other than to find love. There are lots of reasons people look for or invest in relationships besides the desire for a romantic partner. Some examples: To feel validated. People naturally have ...


8

Let's broaden the question. You have two paths down which the plot can proceed. You find both equally appealing. How do you choose? Consider, then, this: Which option offers more character growth, for the MC, and also possibly for other characters? Which option offers more conflict? Conflict is the soul of a story, so more conflict is good. In effect, which ...


8

Pride and Prejudice – After a very brief encounter that goes badly, the MC Elizabeth spends the entire novel explaining why she won't get married, thinks all her sisters and friends are simps or sellouts for chasing men, and how she can't stand Mr Darcy specifically for being such a prejudiced snob. The first 3/4ths of the novel only compound and affirm ...


8

Do it for the sake of storytelling If you're asking yourself "should I bother", then you're not thinking of it as a passion project, like an artist would, but you're thinking of it as a way to make a quick buck, like a CEO would. It's not a bad thing, fine art seldom pays the bills, while cookie-cutter media is quite profitable. Just look at how many ...


7

Do you want to piss your readers off? No? Then call a tragedy a tragedy, a drama a drama and a romance a romance. This question is all about customers' expectations. You can call your story a romance and end it in disaster. But be prepared to disappoint a lot of readers (also be prepared for their reviews). Of course not all readers expect a romance to end ...


7

Here's a great article by Mette Ivie Harrison: How To Write Romance (in Fantasy), published in OSC's Intergalactic Medicine Show. I think it's particularly appropriate to your question because it focuses on romances as subplots, romance combined with other elements. Harrison starts out by rejecting "category romance" and obiquitous mishandlings of fictional ...


7

Close male-female relationships that aren't romantic are challenging even in real life, let alone fiction, but they do exist. Assuming the pair isn't related, neither of them is gay or otherwise attached, and they're relatively the same age, your readers will begin to long to see them together, just like their friends in real life would be likely to do. One ...


7

In our real world, couples almost always have sexual tension right before they are both certain that the other one wants to get physical. It's also a struggle when it's inappropriate for the two to have a sexual relationship so each person tries to deny the attraction. I remember being a teenager and this guy kept "accidentally" bumping his hand next to ...


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