5 common mistakes while writing romantic subplots

Moi is an award-winning romance author – Her book “Insert Title Here” won the Nobell Prize for Literature. Twice. (Yes, that’s definitely possible) She majored in Romance Writing and Mentoring and graduated the prestigious university of Fakeford with honors. She has written more than 25 books and has edited an anthology of short stories. Moi has graciously accepted our request for a guest post in Bookish Blunders. Here, she will go through the 5 common mistakes every author makes. And yes, she knows what she’s talking about. Mostly.

Uh…Definitely Not Moi, 2022

Man, romantic subplots are literally EVERYWHERE. And I mean EVERYWHERE. Books, TV Shows, Movies, Comics, Real life(!!) It’s so prevalent that we automatically think that romance is necessary to tell a good story. Of course, I don’t mean to say that romantic subplots are bad or unwanted – they’ve just become the norm. It’s so spread out that two characters who have no chemistry together are mushed up together just so the author can say that yes, the two main characters are together.

Everyone seems to think people would drink up anything romantic in media. It bumps up the ratings of the aforementioned media, because c’mon, everyone LOVES a cute couple! To their defense, it does work when the characters complete each other and make each other better people, but badly written characters is a different story (heh)

I’m a really harsh critic when it comes to romance in any form. I stick my tongue out at all of them and am only challenged by the rare well-written relationships. (Extremely rare. Haven’t found one yet.) I’m already weird when it comes to any type of romance – even ones in real life – so if you consider yourself a romantic, take my opinions with a bucketful of salt.

Of course, we all know the ever-spiraling deep dark hole of insta-love or aggravating slow burn romances that can go jump off a cliff; but I’m not talking about those in here. I’m referring to flaws in the core of the relationships.

We all know I’m an expert with all things related to love and writing, so let’s jump right in!

Rookie Mistake #1 – Not developing both characters fully/ Developing the romance before the characters

Yeah, you know it. You’ve probably done it. One character is so alive that you talk to them on a daily basis while the other exists just so there’s a love interest. This is bad. I cannot stress this enough. This is the worst thing you can do to your precious characters. The characters should form the basis of the relationship, not the other way around!

Mistake #2 – Pushing two characters who have zero chemistry together

Just writing that sentence made me wince…This is something I see so often and I just have one question. Whyyyy? The relationship feels forced, awkward and I’m sorry, but us readers aren’t in love with this relationship as you are.

Mistake #3 – Failing to make the characters memorable

Okay, this one extends to more than just the romance genre. If you have a A in a relationship with B, figure out why it has to be A. I mean, why can’t it be anyone else? Why does B like A? Think about these for a moment before deciding to put them together.

Mistake #4 – Going full out nuclear war for the sake of “conflict”

Sure, yes. I hear you. Even the closest of couples fight occasionally, but don’t make them scream death threats at each other just because one of them forgot to buy a donut or something. (I’m hungry)

Mistake #5 – Not having enough conflict

On the flip side, a lack of sufficient conflict can detach readers from the plot. The couple becomes an ideal, unrealistic one that everyone loves...to hate. Pepper conflict in between – we’re all humans and we can’t possibly agree with someone with everything, after all – but be careful to not overdo it, as you probably already have a main conflict running throughout the story. (It’s easier than you think)

Yep, those are the 5 basic points I had in mind. Do you agree with me? Do you have any more points to add? Let’s talk!


13 thoughts on “5 common mistakes while writing romantic subplots

    1. ๐Ÿ˜ I know. I know. It’ll be your pleasure…
      Once, Darles Chickens told Moi that his “A Story of Two Metropolises” was inspired by Insert Title Here. I’m so proud of myself! ๐Ÿ™‚

      I can definitely relate to that!

      Liked by 1 person

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