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4 Tips for Writing Fantasy Romance

If you're struggling to incorporate romance into your fantasy story, let author Jennifer Estep guide you.
4 Tips for Writing Fantasy Romance

I’ve always loved stories with a little bit of everything in them—action, adventure, danger, magic, and romance. So for me, fantasy romance is the perfect genre because it lets me write books full of all the things that I love.

(5 Elements All Urban Fantasy Novels Must Have)

But it can be difficult to juggle all those elements in a book, especially when it comes to balancing the fantasy plot versus the romance plot. So here are some tips to help you tackle writing fantasy romance.

4 Tips for Writing Fantasy Romance

1. Create your world first, then focus on the romance later

Any book in any genre requires a lot of worldbuilding, but a fantasy (or science-fiction) book takes a little extra effort.

Just deciding what sort of magic system, powers, and creatures you want to write about can be daunting for an author. Adding a romance in on top of all that worldbuilding can quickly make the already daunting task of writing a book turn into an overwhelming one.

So, in the beginning of your story, focus on building your fantasy world. What kind of magic does your heroine have? How does her power work? What are her goals? Who are her allies? Who are her enemies? For me, the romance will often flow out of answering these sorts of questions.

2. Know how many books you’re writing

Think about how many books/stories you want to write in your fantasy world. Is it a standalone? A trilogy? A longer series? Having a rough idea of how many books you want to write in a certain world can help you plot out your overall fantasy arc (like saving the kingdom), as well as your romance arc (like two people falling in love).

In some ways, writing a standalone fantasy romance can be much harder than writing a series, because you need to bring both the fantasy and romance plots to a satisfying conclusion in just one book. So just keep in mind how long you want your story to be, and try to plot out your fantasy and romance arcs accordingly.

Capture the Crown: A Gargoyle Queen novel by Jennifer Estep

Capture the Crown: A Gargoyle Queen novel by Jennifer Estep

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3. Consider the tropes

Both the fantasy and romance genres are well-known for their tropes, like the chosen one with the great destiny (fantasy) or enemies-to-lovers (romance). Tropes can be a useful starting point for determining what type of story you want to tell. Do you want your heroine to save her kingdom? Take revenge on someone? Find a long-lost treasure?

Do you want your heroine to have a slow-burn romance? Be put into a marriage of convenience? Pretend to have a romantic relationship with someone?

Thinking about the types of stories that you want to tell can be another good way to help balance out the fantasy and romance plots in your book.

4. Similar goals, different squads

You don’t want your heroine to fall in love with someone who has nothing to do with the fantasy plot of your book. Otherwise, your story runs the risk of feeling disjointed. So how do you tie the fantasy and romance plots together? One way to do that is for your characters to have similar goals, but for varying reasons.

For example, in Capture the Crown, the first book in my Gargoyle Queen epic fantasy series, my heroine Gemma Ripley is trying to get to the bottom of a scheme against her kingdom when she runs into Leonidas Morricone, a dangerous prince.

Gemma and Leonidas are both trying to figure things out (similar goals), but they are working for different people/kingdoms (different squads). This helps tie the characters and their fantasy story arcs together, even as it creates some delicious tension in their personal, romantic relationship.

These are just some of the many ways that you can balance writing fantasy and romance in a book. Happy writing, everyone! 

Build Your Novel Scene by Scene

We'll walk through the entire novel-writing process together, from day one to a completed draft. To begin, we'll think about whether or not your novel concept can sustain 200+ pages. We’ll spend time doing the important work of outlining and assessing the narrative arc of your story. We’ll think more deeply about your characters, their desires, and their motivations. Then, the bulk of these next few weeks will be spent writing your novel scene by scene by scene.

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