Romance brings all the readers to the yard—and has ever since Adam first crushed on Eve, with Lilith waiting in the weeds. But far more interesting than a match made in heaven is an affair borne of hotter stuff. Star-crossed lovers, treacherous love triangles, and bewitched boys. An affair filled with as much blood as beauty. A bad romance.
Because a good romance is too easy. Love’s power can only be seen when it’s forced to fight—either against some other affection, some magic spell, or even the world itself. And the tension in such strained relationship is palpable. The danger adds a dose of adrenaline to the already electric affair, and the feeling of impending tragedy adds a fragility, preciousness, and urgency to each moment spent in a forbidden embrace. After all, what price would you put on a loved one’s kiss if you knew it was your last?
But besides all that, bad romances are fun! You should try them! They create endless story opportunities and put your characters through an emotional—and fascinating—hell. So, in the hopes of spurring more ill-gotten affairs, here are a few tips for how to stir up a little bad romance of your own.
Star-crossed lovers—two characters desperately in love whose romance will end in tragedy no matter how they strive to avoid it. Romeo and Juliet it is the classic example of star-crossed love, but it remains a popular theme to this day, from the angel who dared love a demon, to the two students magically bound and pit against each other in mortal combat. The tension is centered on the conflict character vs. destiny, as the characters strive against the relentless forces that drive them to their inescapable and unhappy end. However, “destiny” is often just a fancy word for “everybody hates a rebel,” as the cause of the lovers’ troubles can often be laid at an unbending society’s feet.