Writing a love scene is just the same as any other scene involving two people, however, it’s usually the most important scene in the story. Most commonly the tension in the book is caused by some love interest and the final love scene is what the whole thing hangs on. It’s the money scene.
I’m not talking about some kind of Fifty Shades romp, or a gratuitous sex scene which details the inches, but an actual genuine display of affection from one human being to another. I’m talking about the scene where Nigel tells Gladys that he’s always loved her since the days in the prison canteen. Apparently, it makes the world go round, so let’s get better at it.
I don’t want to read some mush which has women swooning over furniture and men with ripped torsos standing by fireplaces. It just doesn’t work like that. So, here are my tips for better love scenes.
1. Keep it real – Don’t get carried away with the love part and lose sight of the reality part. Day to day love scenes are much more understated than the cartoon romance of Mills and Boon. No one swoons anymore and most men have their shirts on when declaring an unrequited passion.
The scenes will become much more memorable if you can ground them in real life, by including some of the aspects of real life which make it real rather than fantasy. I.e. The sound of the bus whooshing past or the shoes that are hurting her toes just as he declares his love.
2. Authentic characters – these characters have taken us through a whole host of trials and tribulations as the story unfolds, our reward is to see them get together at the end. Make sure that when they get there they aren’t some exaggerated version of themselves because you’re trying to squeeze out every last drop of sentiment.
3. The hook line – you know what I mean. The classic line which you see in the movies, ‘you had me at hello’ or; ‘in the words of David Cassidy, when I believe he had left The Partridge Family, I Think I Love You’ or; ‘I’m just a girl looking at a boy and asking him to love her.’ You know what I mean. One of these beauties will tug those heart strings and bring forth the tears from the most arid of ducts.
4. The senses – when two people are in love but they don’t know it yet, the most important thing in the whole world at that moment is finding out how the other feels. Everything around them is heightened and so they may notice the strangest of things and, to them, it would be magnified in that moment.
5. Weather – following on from the senses, the weather is usually a key lever to pull. It seems a bit clichéd now to turn on the rain but weather is still very important in these moments. It says, ‘people in love are just crazy and they’ll even stand out in the rain because they just don’t care.’ Wow.
6. It has to conclude at its peak – the kiss, or whatever it leads to, should be the end of the scene. Don’t mention the fact that they then had to get out of the rain because Jim’s new shirt was chafing under the armpits, or Doris’s make up had started to run into her mouth.
So, there we go, these are some pointers which I believe make up the perfect love scene. If you’ve made the characters likeable and explained their misery in being apart, then bringing them together will be what everyone wants. Like a best man’s speech at a wedding, everyone wants to see them do well so don’t over do it.
Until next time…