Can You Write Romance If You Haven't Experienced Romance?

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inkdreams

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I am a beginner to writing. I want to write romance original fiction and fanfiction because I love reading it. What is making me hesistant to write it is because I've never experienced romance in my life. I have crushes on girls. ( I am a lesbian)
But thats as far as my experience goes. >_<
Can You Write Romance If You Haven't Experienced Romance?
 

Kat M

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Well, it might be trickier. I know I've experienced massive blocks when my characters lead me outside of my own experiences (trying to write a middle-aged married couple fighting, for example . . . yikes!). But that's part of writing IMHO, using your imagination, research, and observation to write outside of your lived experience.

The best advice I can give (as a fellow romantically challenged noob) is, read a lot (sounds like you do), observe a lot, and find knowledgeable people to look over your work.
 

Layla Nahar

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Best thing to do is try it - because if you don't try it - for reasons* - you'll go around in circles never dealing with the problem

*insert any reason here. For a lot of us, we get a great idea and there's some reason why we can't do it but we still want to do it so we use a lot of cycles on that thing that's stalled... Hope that makes sense, it applies to just about everything, it can be really obvious when we want to use our creativity.

(Another way to put it is 'the only way out is through')
 

Ralph Rotten

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I am a beginner to writing. I want to write romance original fiction and fanfiction because I love reading it. What is making me hesistant to write it is because I've never experienced romance in my life. I have crushes on girls. ( I am a lesbian)
But thats as far as my experience goes. >_<
Can You Write Romance If You Haven't Experienced Romance?


Honestly, there is a case to be made for your lone status being MORE conducive to romance.
You are on the outside looking in right now, likely you want in, want in bad, want someone to hold, that person you feel safe cuddling with.
So you use your own desires as the basis for your lovers.

On the flipside, people who have been in relationships for a while often lose touch with romance. Just because you are in a relationship doesn't mean you know a damned thing about romance.
A starving man has a different perspective than the full man.
You are the starving woman. Write what you know.
 

inkdreams

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Best thing to do is try it - because if you don't try it - for reasons* - you'll go around in circles never dealing with the problem

*insert any reason here. For a lot of us, we get a great idea and there's some reason why we can't do it but we still want to do it so we use a lot of cycles on that thing that's stalled... Hope that makes sense, it applies to just about everything, it can be really obvious when we want to use our creativity.

(Another way to put it is 'the only way out is through')

Thank you :)
 

inkdreams

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Honestly, there is a case to be made for your lone status being MORE conducive to romance.
You are on the outside looking in right now, likely you want in, want in bad, want someone to hold, that person you feel safe cuddling with.
So you use your own desires as the basis for your lovers.

On the flipside, people who have been in relationships for a while often lose touch with romance. Just because you are in a relationship doesn't mean you know a damned thing about romance.
A starving man has a different perspective than the full man.
You are the starving woman. Write what you know.

Do you mean I should write about characters experiencing unrequited love?
 

MaeZe

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Can You Write Romance If You Haven't Experienced Romance?

Of course you can as long as you've read romance and can imagine the story you want to write.
 

SAWeiner

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I have to disagree with others here. One can always write something, but writing what one knows is a key phrase bandied around by teachers and coaches. If you never have had a serious relationship, you can end up using a lot of clichés and stereotypes in your story, because all you can do is copy from others. Hands-on life experience does help for creating something fresh and authentic sounding. My advice would be to write something else now, and then when you're older and have had significant romantic experience, try your hand at the genre.
 
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Ellis Clover

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I mean, research is an excellent substitute for experience. And (*controversial opinion incoming maybe probably*) romance isn't really this magical, untouchable thing. If you've had any type of real-life relationship before - with friends, family etc - I have no doubt that with some care and imagination you can create an authentic romance on paper.
 

Marian Perera

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My advice would be to write something else now, and then when you're older and have had significant romantic experience, try your hand at the genre.

There's no guarantee that the OP (or anyone, for that matter) will gain significant romantic experience with age. Also, I sold romances to Samhain and Loose Id without having had any serious relationships, though I wasn't completely inexperienced when it came to romance or attraction.

IMO, what's really important is reading lots of romance. Actually experiencing it in reality is a bonus, not a requirement, and writers write about places, events and people they didn't personally experience all the time.
 
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MaeZe

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I have to disagree with others here. One can always write something, but writing what one knows is a key phrase bandied around by teachers and coaches. If you never have had a serious relationship, you can end up using a lot of clichés and stereotypes in your story, because all you can do is copy from others. Hands-on life experience does help for creating something fresh and authentic sounding. My advice would be to write something else now, and then when you're older and have had significant romantic experience, try your hand at the genre.
You've left out the experience of reading romances like they don't count but if you've been in love that counts.

I can easily live in a book vicariously. That's a real experience to me.
 

Helix

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I have to disagree with others here. One can always write something, but writing what one knows is a key phrase bandied around by teachers and coaches. If you never have had a serious relationship, you can end up using a lot of clichés and stereotypes in your story, because all you can do is copy from others. Hands-on life experience does help for creating something fresh and authentic sounding. My advice would be to write something else now, and then when you're older and have had significant romantic experience, try your hand at the genre.

I'm assuming that most crime writers have never killed anyone, so I wouldn't take that 'only write what you know' advice too narrowly.
 

Marian Perera

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I'm assuming that most crime writers have never killed anyone, so I wouldn't take that 'only write what you know' advice too narrowly.

Oh, next you'll be telling me George R. R. Martin didn't have an incestuous relationship with his sister. I'm so disillusioned!
 

MaeZe

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:roll:


I do think, 'write what you know' has its place. Sometimes when people ask for information in the Research forum I want to say, if they don't know anything about police work, or 1800s medicine or whatever, they might want to reconsider their topic.

But one can certainly do more research than asking questions in a forum,
 
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BenPanced

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I'm assuming that most crime writers have never killed anyone, so I wouldn't take that 'only write what you know' advice too narrowly.

Honey. You must hang out with the wrong sort of crime writers.

Unless I'm the one misinterpreting Facebook posts...
 
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LJD

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And (*controversial opinion incoming maybe probably*) romance isn't really this magical, untouchable thing. If you've had any type of real-life relationship before - with friends,
family etc - I have no doubt that with some care and imagination you can create an authentic romance on paper.

Yeah, this is how I see it, too. If you've never experienced romance, that doesn't mean you have nothing to draw from in your life.

Combine that with reading lots of romance novels, and I think you're good.
 

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I have to disagree with others here. One can always write something, but writing what one knows is a key phrase bandied around by teachers and coaches.

Write what you know doesn't specify how one obtained that knowledge.

Research counts. Research includes reading and observing and interviewing people.
 

Marissa D

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You can write anything that makes you happy or that you feel the need to express. The rub comes when you want to publish what you've written. Make sure you've read a ton of romances if you are interested in pursuing publication for what you write, because there are definite genre and sub-genre reader expectations.
 

Sonya Heaney

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So many people assign "rules" to the romance genre that they don't to other genres. It seems to go hand in hand with the favourite assumption that any bedroom scene in a romance is a factual report of the author's own experience. :rolleyes:

As others pointed out above, nobody calls out writers in other genres for having no experience with murdering people/fighting aliens/slaying dragons... Whether a person is in a relationship or not, they see relationships in real life and in the media every day. I detest the assumption that romance is just about a couple of people having sex. It's first and foremost about strong characterisation, and any good writer can do that.

I have a romance set in the 1880s coming out in September. I've never lived in the Victorian era, but I did my research.

"Write what you know" is a term I half agree with and half disagree with. For example, I'm a former ballet dancer, and almost every book I've read with a character who is a dancer has been a head-desk read for me. On the other hand, I read a fantastic series set in Australia, by an author who had never been here, but who had taken her research seriously. (Just please never make the mistake of using g'day as an alternative to goodbye; it means hello!)

- - - Updated - - -

You can write anything that makes you happy or that you feel the need to express. The rub comes when you want to publish what you've written. Make sure you've read a ton of romances if you are interested in pursuing publication for what you write, because there are definite genre and sub-genre reader expectations.

On the other hand, that ^^^^!!
 

Putputt

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*looks at dead body in living room*

*looks at bloody knife*

Now you tell me?

*Backs away from murderous alien zebra very, very slowly*

OP, like many have pointed out, you don't have to have personally experienced the thing you're writing about. I can't count the number of people I've murderized in my books. :D And I doubt that GRRM has ever experienced twincest, or hatching dragons, or losing a child, or whatever other crazy shit there is in GoT. Research, observing and talking to people, reading books in your genre, and a healthy sprinkling of imagination will get you there.
 

frimble3

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Do you mean I should write about characters experiencing unrequited love?
Ah, but you can do better than that: you can start out with unrequited love, and then have it requited!
Don't wait to see if theoretical relationships you may or may not have happen. What if they are totally depressing downers that leave you embittered and hating people?
What you want isn't 'True Life Adventures' what you want to write is 'ROMANCE'!
:snoopy::hooray::partyguy::e2flowers:thankyou::yessmiley
 
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The Second Moon

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I just want to thank the OP for making this thread. I myself have never even had the smallest of crushes, and I want to wrote a YA SF Romance. So your're totally not alone.
 

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