Tips and Suggestions for Writing Romance in Audio Drama

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

TECHNIQUES AND STRUCTURES FOR WRITING ROMANCE

microphone by Miyukiko © 2013
microphone by Miyukiko © 2013

A TEMPLATE FOR ROMANCE?

More from the side project this week… but first, an admission. There are numerous kinds of scenes that I struggle with. I find romance hard to write. I find action scenes devilishly difficult. Comedy is not my strong suit… and neither is tragedy. That’s whole areas of dramatic expression that I know I’m weak at. It’s the reason my experimental project exists. On my PC I keep a folder full of writing where I am trying out scenes and techniques that I’m weak at, not because I want to pursue them in any particular work or project, but because I want to keep on learning and get better at writing.

Here for your consideration and comment is some advice I found helpful on writing scenes in one of my weak areas; romance. I’ve included a link to a scene from my experimental folder to illustrate its use (added to my website this week) and an analysis of how the scene implements the advice that follows.

I’ve long forgotten the source of this advice on building romance in a story. It certainly doesn’t originate with me. It is however an interesting structure for framing a typical romantic story and one I refer to when I have a romantic story-line or sub-plot in mind.

1. Introduce the characters

At the heart of a romance are two strong, appealing, sympathetic and three-dimensional characters.

Dialogue, rather than action, is the key tool to giving life, energy and pace to romance writing.

The protagonist (in a weakened state) meets the potential partner – but the relationship is uneven (not yet an equal partnership).

2. Introduce the conflict

There is a barrier to them being together (a conflict).

There are two types of conflict: internal and external:

Internal conflict is the romance writer’s main focus: defined by either character — the opposing forces within a personality, motivations and aspirations — or by an emotional situation within a relationship — for example, an unexpected pregnancy or an arranged marriage.

External conflict provides additional support to the developing romance and plot. External conflict is defined by misunderstandings, circumstances or a secondary character’s influence.

The conflict must be believable and must lend itself to being sustained over the course of a whole story — ideally two or three conflicts that unfold and are resolved in the course can be used. Conflict doesn’t mean endless arguments and should be layered in with emotional highs and lows.

3. Love unfolds despite the central conflict…

The attraction must be made obvious (even if being resisted by the characters themselves) and trust must be built and expressed.

4. But then the conflict forces them apart…

The characters must separate as a result of the conflict coming out into the open.

5. Introduce the reversal and the protagonist’s character growth…

The protagonist then loses everything and is forced to find new strength (overcoming the weakness revealed at the beginning of the story).

6. Rapprochment…

The potential partner is encountered anew and repents of the split – the conflict is finally overcome.

7. Denouement…

The protagonist is now strong enough to enter the relationship on equal footing and the relationship is formalised.

EXAMPLE (Amy and Maynard – A tale of young love)

http://weirdworldstudios.com/amy-maynard-old-fashioned-tal…/

ANALYSIS

Here’s how the above play attempts to hit all the beats of the Romantic plot.

1. Introduce the characters

We are introduced to Amy and Maynard, our protagonists.

We establish the unevenness of the relationship when Nikki points out that she knows Amy has been in love with the clueless Maynard forever.

2. Introduce the conflict

Pam, returning from her holiday, makes a play for Maynard threatening the relationship of all of them.

3. Love unfolds despite the central conflict…

Amy tags along like a jealous and lovesick puppydog.

4. But then the conflict forces them apart…

Pam monopolizes Maynard, keeping him to herself, while Amy’s sense of independence and fair play keeps her from stooping to the same tactics.

5. Introduce the reversal and the protagonist’s character growth…

Amy falls in the pond and punches the otherwise clueless Maynard in the nose.

6. Rapprochment…

Maynard seeks Amy out and apologises, asking her to the cricket.

7. Denouement…

Nicki helps Amy see the symbolic importance of the date.

Let me know what you think. Is this a good working model for presenting romance? Do you use a different one? What techniques do you use that aren’t mentioned here? I’d love to hear from you.

This article is © 2017 by Philip Craig Robotham – all rights reserved.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *