Romantic relationships are so fun to write, but also very difficult. How do you find that perfect balance of fairy tale romance and believability?
I'm trying to make sure the romance between my characters is perfect- charming, sweet, heartwarming, funny, endearing, and most importantly BELIEVABLE. I read through my WIP obsessively to make sure the relationship between my characters seems real. And I totally believe that they're falling in love-- but does it translate through to the reader? Of course I can see them in love, in my mind they've always been in love.
Anyhoo, here's another rough draft excerpt from Untouched. I like posting these little romantic scenes (like Gwen and James' almost-kiss). They're fun to write and read, and they don't give too much of the story away. :P
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He sped toward me, and I braced myself. I let out a squeal when he picked me up, throwing me over his shoulder this time, his arms wrapped around my legs to hold me up.
“Why do you do that?” I asked, my hair tangling around me as all the blood rushed to my head.
“Because it's fun,” he replied, and I couldn't argue.
“I feel like you're a caveman, dragging me back to your cave.”
He laughed as he leaned over and guided my feet to the ground. “No cave,” he insisted. “Just swings.”
I smiled at James before jumping onto a swing. He walked behind me and started to gently push me back and forth. The sun was disappearing behind the horizon, and the shadows swallowed up any leftover warmth. James' hands were hot against my back as he pushed me higher and higher. I found myself holding my breath each time I swung forward and waited, suspended in air, to swing back, where James' hands would be on me once again.
When I was swinging high James stopped pushing me and sat on the swing beside me. He pumped his legs, and within moments he was going much higher than I was. I slowed as I watched him, and my feet dragged across the wood chips, bringing me to a stand still. James was still going higher, and every time he swung backwards the whole swing set jumped under his weight.
“Be careful!” I said, no longer able to contain my silent worry.
He laughed. “I am being careful. See this-” he grasped the metal chains and pulled himself upright, standing straight on the swing “-would be dangerous.”
“You're going to kill yourself up there!”
He waited until he was at the highest point before pushing himself away from the swing in midair. My heart skipped a beat. He flew for just a second, then plummeted to the ground and landed by sliding across the wood chips. He jumped to his feet and walked back to me, grinning like the fool he was.
“Now why would I do that when I could simply kiss your lips and die a much sweeter death?” His tone was light, but his eyes sparkled. He grabbed the chains of my swing and started twisting me around.
I rolled my eyes, though I couldn't stop my heart from quickening. “Don't say things like that,” I scolded. “Besides, when did you become such a romantic?”
For just a moment his eyes clouded over with sadness. But then he smiled. “When I was naïve enough to believe I could still save you.”
“I'm not savable James.”
“Then I guess I'm still naïve.” He twisted my swing around one last time so I was facing him, then he stopped winding me up.
“I get it,” I told him. “You want to be the hero- save the day, save the girl.”
“Maybe,” he shrugged. “But you gave up your life to save mine, so who really has a hero complex?”
I stuck out my tongue at him. “Sounds more like I'm a martyr than a hero, which is why I don't think I'm savable. You can't rescue me from myself.”
He held my gaze for a moment before letting go of the chains and stepping back. I spun in tight, quick circles, screaming as James and the park whirled around me. When I stopped spinning I looked up at James. His expression was serious as he stepped closer to me and tilted his head down. My heartbeat turned into a hum as I stared back, hanging onto the silence of his look.
“Gwen, I...” he started, but for some reason he couldn't finish. We stared at each other quietly. Something about that moment seemed so fragile, and I was afraid to move or speak or breathe and disrupt whatever was happening between us.