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A common recommendation to writers is to read outside their genre. Why? Exposure to other techniques which can enhance writing. Last year I shared a Horror blog revealing the secrets of monsters which easily has application in any genre forms with antagonists like Urban Fantasy or Thriller.
Writer Unboxed guest columnist Donald Maass (of the Donald Maass Literary Agency) wrote how to add A Touch of Romance to any genre. This is not a how-to write romance, but how to add a breath of love to a science-fiction or mystery. Whether the love is unrequited or triangle, young or old, new or mature, main character or secondary, romantic relationships add a level of realism to a story. Writers can exploit the emotional tool to raise the stakes or reduce the tension.
The list of question are perfect. Here are a few:
“Who in your story is single? Who wants love? Who can begin to love that character?”
See the whole list here: http://writerunboxed.com/2017/02/01/a-touch-of-romance/#more-46578. Remember to read the comments – Vaughn Roycroft is especially illuminating.
WRITING EXERCISE: From your stable of characters (either your present work-in-progress or previous flashes and shorts), pick a character not in a relationship and not looking for one. Create a flash where s/he has an encounter where a romance could develop if they choose to pursue the matter. Keep the original genre’s feel unless it is romance then change it up to strongly be one of the story’s subgenres. The point of the exercise is adding a touch of romance to a non-romance.
If you normally write romance, add a touch of horror to your romance instead. For a character who has the world on a string, create a flash with an encounter which adds a bit of scare.