Skip to main content

3 Tips for Writing an Effective Love Scene

Love scenes are common in romance writing. Here, romance author Bridget Morrissey shares her top 3 tips for writing an effective one.
3 Tips for Writing an Effective Love Scene

Readers pick up a romance novel expecting a happily ever after. It’s the cornerstone of the genre, after all. So the beauty of each story comes from the unfolding. How will these particular people find love?

(Bridget Morrissey: On Taking the Leap from YA to Adult Fiction)

In my upcoming entry into the genre, Love Scenes, we follow a down on her luck actress as she reunites with her least favorite former costar of all time. I knew instantly that my how, so to speak, was an enemies-to-lovers workplace romance. I wanted to make this book swoony, fun, and satisfying. Actors with a tumultuous past filming a romantic war movie together? That gave me plenty to work with while creating my story’s happily ever after.

Every reader will have different expectations, and authors can never please every person. With that in mind, there are countless ways to create an effective romance. These are the three tips that helped me as I crafted the love scenes within Love Scenes.

3 Tips for Writing an Effective Love Scene

1. Establish your boundaries

Much like a good love interest knows and honors their partner’s boundaries, you have to know your own! When it comes to actual love scenes, if you are uncomfortable writing physical descriptions, you do not have to include them! Just because there is freedom in the romance genre does not mean you are required to capitalize on it. Sex can happen off the page, or never even be mentioned. Or it can be very prominent. Spend some time considering what you think you can handle. If you’re hoping to be published, many people will be reading your words along the way. As you work on your romance, honor your own limits!

At the end of the day, you are trying to convey the connection between your main character and their love interest. In Love Scenes, my two main characters’ often discuss how all it takes between them is a look. To me, that is equally as romantic as their on the page exploits.

Love Scenes by Bridget Morrissey

Love Scenes by Bridget Morrissey

IndieBound | Bookshop | Amazon
[WD uses affiliate links.]

2. Commit to your decisions

If you decide you want to write something with heat but you’re embarrassed about it, the best way out is through. Get the words on the page and be proud of yourself. You are working in a genre that celebrates pleasure. It really is a beautifully safe space! It helps to know what kind of words you want to use. Euphemisms are fine. So is using direct anatomical terms. Readers will go along with whatever you decide, but they can sense a lack of conviction. Whatever you choose, commit to it all the way.

3. Embrace the emotions

No matter what kind of love scene you’re creating—be it a look, a handhold, a kiss, or a sex scene—focus on what makes the experience memorable for the people involved. This is the how coming to life. When in doubt, your characters’ feelings are your story’s guiding light. We want to know what makes this particular experience unique. Is it the location? The timing? The unexpected connection burning between these two people who never ever thought this would be happening to them? Whatever it is, lean into it as much as you can. Romance is a celebration. Don’t be afraid to party!

Writing the Romance Novel

This course explores some essential components of romance that are unique to the genre and others that are identical to those of any good fiction story. Neither Stephen King nor Tom Clancy could sit down and write a romance unless he first familiarized himself with the specific factors that create a successful romance.

Click to continue.

Vérant

Samantha Vérant: On Romance and Recipes

Author Samantha Vérant discusses how her writing process changed while writing her new contemporary romance novel, The Spice Master at Bistro Exotique.

Poetry Prompt

Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 633

Every Wednesday, Robert Lee Brewer shares a prompt and an example poem to get things started on the Poetic Asides blog. This week, write a warm up poem.

Do I Pitch Different to Agents vs. Editors?

Do I Pitch Different to Agents vs. Editors?

Every so often writers ask if they should pitch different to agents vs. editors. This post answers that question and provides some extra help on how to successfully pitch both.

Urban Legend

Urban Legend

Every writer needs a little inspiration once in a while. For today's prompt, feature an urban legend in your story.

Grose, 12:6

Jessica Grose: On the Unsustainability of Parenting

Opinion writer and author Jessica Grose discusses the complicated subject of modern motherhood in her new nonfiction book, Screaming on the Inside.

Elizabeth Shick: On Research Through Immersion

Elizabeth Shick: On Research Through Immersion

Award-winning novelist Elizabeth Shick discusses the complete rewrite she devoted to her debut novel, The Golden Land.

6 Habits Writers Can Learn From Athletes

6 Habits Writers Can Learn From Athletes

Author and athlete Henriette Lazaridis shares six tips and habits that writers can learn from athletes.

writer's digest wd presents

WD Presents: Last Chance to Nominate Your Favorite Writing Websites, Our Historical Fiction Virtual Conference, and More!

This week, we're excited to announce the deadline to nominate your favorite writing websites, our Historical Fiction Virtual Conference, and more!

4 Tips for Writing a Modern Retelling

4 Tips for Writing a Modern Retelling

From having reverence for the original to making it your own, author Nikki Payne shares four tips for writing a modern retelling.